Know Thy Customer: Meet the Family-First Flyers

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Illustration: Marcelo Cáceres

APEX Insight: While it’s undeniably best to know thy customer as intimately as possible, buyer personas are a good place to start. In this multipart feature, meet the budget setters, family-first flyers, high lifers, business travelers and big spenders.

One thing that most travelers at an airport have in common is that shopping is secondary to their prime reason for being there. “The primary objective is always to fly,” Roseler says. But for those traveling with children, or to visit friends or relatives, shopping tends to fall even further down on the priority list.

In the past three years, the VFR segment at Melbourne Airport grew by 15%.

“Bonding with family and loved ones” was cited by 47 percent of respondents as the number one motivator for traveling in Visa’s 2018 “Global Travel Intentions Report,” while only 23 percent traveled to “treat themselves.” And while splurging on a day at the spa or fine dining is less likely to be in the cards for those traveling with kids, children are good at helping parents find other ways to spend money.

Value is key for traveling families, who are often enticed by group deals or special pricing for children. As a US Family Travel survey from New York University finds, 77 percent cite “best value” as a deciding factor when booking a family vacation. But importantly, 70 percent of parents cite “amenities for children” as a close competing factor, suggesting parents may be willing to pay more for kid-friendly services or offers.

77% cite “best value” as a deciding factor when booking a family vacation.

Airports with nurseries, feeding stations, children’s play areas, and related facilities will likely be given preference over those without. Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport’s Hello Kitty play area gives parents and children a place to decamp, and corresponds conveniently with the adjacent Hello Kitty Sweets café and gift shop. Meanwhile, Emirates’ Fly With Me monster toys from Buzz Products encourages brand loyalty at a young age by creating a collectible set.

Underserved markets include single parents and VFRs – visiting friends and/or relatives travelers, a segment that continues to grow. At Melbourne Airport, strong VFR demand in the Sri Lanka-Melbourne market led SriLankan Airlines to launch a direct route.

“Know Thy Customer” was originally published in the 8.3 June/July issue of APEX Experience magazine.

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