There’s a cute little building in the town where I live. It’s one of the few remaining structures from when the village was founded; it’s round with a peaked ceiling and the interior space is probably about 9-by-12 feet. I stopped in there the other day to visit the painting company that now inhabits it. Seated at the desk there was the proprietor of the paint company, as content as could be in this tiny space.

I was dropping off a check for some work his team had done on my house. When I casually told him I was about to embark on a trip to Cancun for a business trip, he grinned and pulled two framed photos off the wall behind him. He showed me two pictures of his gorgeous sons — one of them in a pool, the other on the beach. He also turned around a frame on his desk for me to see. The photo showed his entire family on vacation in Cancun (think lots of smiles and hugging, some sand and lots of sunshine).

Ruthanne Terrero
Ruthanne Terrero, VP, Questex Travel + Meetings Group

“These are all at Hyatt Ziva,” he told me. “We love it. We go as often as possible.” This was his happy place and, clearly, his family’s, too. It got me thinking of how I’ve seen this man’s posts on our town’s Facebook page. He’d stated his vision was always to own a painting company that could service the town he grew up in. Family values are important to him and so is helping the local community. He’s achieved those goals, and how is he nurturing his family and celebrating his entrepreneurial success? By taking his family to Mexico twice a year for some quality time that will live on forever in photos and memories. These visits to Cancun are all part of the thread that will forever bind his entire clan together.

The Family Travel Association has just released a survey that shows that 84 percent of parents believe that family travel helps make their children more adaptable and open to new experiences; 62 percent add that it gives them a more positive outlook on life and 61 percent say it helps them with their social skills.

The survey, produced in partnership with the NYU School of Professional Studies Jonathan M. Tisch Center of Hospitality and Edinburgh Napier University, polled over 3,300 parents and grandparents about their travel plans. The findings? Eighty-one percent of those surveyed said they are likely to travel with their children next year and many intend to increase their spending. The best news is that interest in travel advisors for trip-planning is steadily increasing; 38 percent of parents have used a travel advisor to book at least one family trip in the past three years and 71 percent indicate that they are willing to use a travel advisor in the coming years.

If you consider what makes a good family vacation, it’s about paying attention to the details that can make or break the experience. In the survey, parents reported that their challenges when traveling include accessibility and the cost of being seated together on flights; the scarcity of family rooms or connected rooms in hotels; the high cost of family travel; the desire for lower-cost options and discounts; the need to improve the quality and level of service across the industry; and the dislike of hidden fees and charges that make pricing lack transparency.

Having someone safeguard against these foils falls completely into the realm of what a good travel advisor does. Advisors are the guardian angels of their clients embarking on adventures together. How satisfying would it be to create an experience that’s framed on the wall of a tiny office in the middle of a small town that evokes genuine pride and joy from the parent who paid for the trip with the money they earned from launching a business that was originally only a pipe dream? The magic of being a luxury travel advisor lives on, no matter what happens in this chaotic world.

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