We first reported on the opportunities grandparents offer location-based entertainment facilities (LBEs) in the July 2002 issue of our eNewsletter. New research shows that this is a growing market opportunity.
A 2003 survey by YPB&R, a travel-marketing firm, found that one in three grandparents have traveled with grandkids in the past 12 months. According to the Travel Industry Association of America, 15% of all trips taken with children in 2002 were with grandparents, an increase from 9% in 2001.
Many hotel chains, travel agencies and even summer camps are wooing the grandparent/grandchild market. Children 18 and under stay free in their grandparent's rooms at Hilton and Hilton brand hotels. Grandparents checking into Loews hotels with their grandchildren get discounts, goodie bags and special activities. There's a Grandtravel agency that organizes escorted tours for grandparents and grandchildren. There is even a special Grandparent/Grandchild summer camp program at Great Camp Sagamore on New York's Raguette Lake.
There could be several explanations for this trend. Working moms and dads don't have time like they once did to take their children out or on vacations, so grandparents step in. Jeffrey Flagg, camp program director at the Grandparent/Grandchild summer camp, says, "Maybe it a Baby Boomer thing. Boomers went for their careers. Then, their kids (grew up and) moved away. They didn't see their grandkids as often as they'd like. They want quality time so they can bond."
Many grandparents also have the financial resources and time to spend leisure time with their grandkids. This market niche offers LBEs a great opportunity if they develop programs that specifically target the grandparent/grandchild market.