‘Industry failing to provide flexible family options’, says Mumsnet

‘Industry failing to provide flexible family options’, says Mumsnet

Families are increasingly turning away from traditional holidays in favour of camping and home swaps, according to community website Mumsnet.com.

Mothers visiting the influential site, which attracts nearly five million visits a month, say expense and lack of flexible accommodation options for large or single-parent families are driving them to seek alternatives.

Katie O’Donovan, head of communications for the site, said: "When you have children, everything changes. Whereas once you were happy to go trekking through the Peruvian jungle, now you just want something that will keep the kids happy and busy.

"As the family grows it’s harder to find affordable accommodation. Camping is massive now; you can still go abroad and it’s far less expensive.

"Home swaps are also really popular – you have the space and all the facilities you need, such as high chairs."

O’Donovan said there was an opportunity for agents to become experts in holidays for single-parent and larger families.

"Travelling as a single parent can be really tough. Travel companies operate on the assumption that you’re not a single parent, which is very frustrating.

"Any agent who can see past the 2.4-child family would have a real advantage. Families want to know how they can enjoy their holiday without it being more hassle than staying at home."

Agents agreed that sourcing accommodation for larger families can be challenging.

Holidays Please director Sonia Dixon said: "The larger the family the harder it becomes, as not many hotels have things like portioned rooms."

Travel Counsellors’ Claire Bottone, who specialises in selling family holidays, said many hotels were failing to address the gap in their product offering.

She said: "There is still a lot to be done in the hotel industry. Worldwide it seems to be that families should exist of two adults and two children."

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