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no longer will consumers, of any generation, put up with one-size-fits-all holiday solutions

• 1 in 4 parents choose their hols entirely around their children, says new Thomas Cook winter sun research report.
• Remarkably, 1 in 5 twelve to sixteen-year-olds has already booked a holiday themselves, and another 18% have helped mum or dad book one.
• Parents want to escape the cold with a break on the beach: more than a third want to soak up the sun this festive season.
• Meanwhile, a third of children want snowy sports action: 33% of 12 to 16-year-olds would like to hit the slopes.
• Surprisingly, it’s the parents who are the adventure seekers, saying they'd love to visit amazing sights, such as the Northern Lights [38%]; while their kids would prefer to hit a theme park [34%].

1 October 2014, London: Britain's Generation Z are travelling farther, sooner and to more exotic destinations than their parents ever did but, when it comes to winter holidays, it's their parents who are more likely to seek out adventure – if they can drag themselves off the beach. To mark one year of the Sunny Heart brand unification, Thomas Cook has worked with parents and their children to better understand the needs of the modern family.

While 36% of parents would be happy holidaying on a beach or somewhere equally relaxing this winter break, a quarter would seek out more adventure among the local sights, and almost as many would want to catch a glimpse of the Northern Lights, according to research carried out for Britain's favourite family holiday company, Thomas Cook.

Of course, what parents want is not always the same as what their children want, and so it seems to be with winter holidays. Asked what sort of trip they'd book if they were put in charge of the perfect winter holiday: although beach holidays remain popular with families, 33% of children say they'd book a visit to the slopes for a spot of winter sports action. 34% of 12 to 16-year-olds say a theme park would be their perfect winter break. Thankfully for mum and dad, there is also a bit of love for more sedate holidays among 12 to 16-year-olds, with 24% admitting a bit of down time on the beach would be a great break and 25% happy to do a bit of sightseeing.

One of the reasons for the differences between the generations' choices may be that today's children travel abroad much more than their parents could ever have dreamed of. Almost 90 per cent of the youngsters surveyed have already been abroad – among their parents, only around three-quarters had been abroad by the age of 16.

The research, conducted among 2,000 Britons*, also shows parents remain surprisingly selfless when it comes to booking family holidays. About 25% say that, when they take a holiday, it is completely centred on their kids' needs; a further 49% give their children equal weighting when it comes to holidays.

What activities do you love to do
on a perfect winter holiday?

------------------------------------------------Children aged 12-16------------Parents aged 18+
Visiting theme parks-----------------------------------------34%-------------------------17%
Winter sports e.g. skiing or snowboarding--------------33%-------------------------18%
Seeing amazing sights--------------------------------------25%-------------------------38%
Shopping in Christmas Markets--------------------------19%-------------------------29%
Scuba diving------------------------------------------------18%--------------------------13%
Water sports excl scuba diving-------------------------18%--------------------------13%
Tasting new foods----------------------------------------17%--------------------------33%
Health related activities e.g. a spa---------------------12%-------------------------15%
Going off the beaten track-------------------------------10%-------------------------18%
Trying to learn the language------------------------------6%--------------------------9%

Dr Paul Redmond, who worked on the research with Thomas Cook, said: “This new research offers a fascinating and tantalising glimpse into the extent that changing social demographics will revolutionise the travel and tourism sector and that no longer will consumers, of any generation, put up with one-size-fits-all holiday solutions. Instead, different generations are seeking generational-specific, customised holiday experiences.

“Even with families, these generational differences are particularly apparent. Time-poor, work stressed, financially pressured Generation X parents seek quiet, relaxation-orientated holidays.

“In comparison, Generation Y rarely uses the word ‘holiday’. In my research I have found that Generation Y would much rather use the term, ‘going travelling’ – presumably because this implies greater levels of freedom and authenticity (even though, invariably, the destinations to which Gen Y travels are often traditional holiday destinations).

“What is particularly fascinating about this new study by Thomas Cook is the light it shines on Generation Z – the new Millennials – who are already exerting influence on the travel and tourism industry. For many members of Westernised Generation Z the world is currently more accessible than at any time in history. This openness is reflected in the data: more than 7 out of 10 have already travelled to and holidayed in Europe and a third has visited the USA.”

Thomas Cook’s study has found that Generation Z, with their confidence in travel and digital expertise, are certainly influencing the destinations and activities that their families choose: 74% of parents say that ‘all’ or ‘some’ of the holiday they choose is influenced by their children. Only 16% of parents admit to being ‘selfish’ about breaks, and booking the holidays they want and making their children fit around those plans, and just 5% saying they prefer to go away without the kids.

But plenty of today's children are getting a huge say in holidays – 20% have booked a holiday themselves and a further 18% have helped book one.

Salman Syed, Managing Director of Thomas Cook UK & Ireland, said: “The concept of the ‘winter holiday’ is something we have seen change dramatically over the years. In the past the demand was very much for European culture and snow based breaks but today it really is about escaping it all and travelling further for warmer climes than ever before.

“However, we know that particularly when it comes to a family getaway it can be really difficult to find a destination that suits everyone. That’s why we’ve tailored our 2014/15 winter holidays to offer more than the traditional ‘fly and flop’ options with a range of activities from mountain biking and scuba diving to camel riding or jeep safaris, to ensure that if you are planning to getaway this year that the memories can really last forever.”


Notes to editors

*Research carried out by OnePoll amongst 2,000 participants in the United Kingdom between 11/09/2014 and 15/09/2014

Definitions of the generations:
- Baby Boomers: Born 1945-1961
- Generation X: Born 1962-1977
- Generation Y: 1978-1999
- Generation Z: Millenials born from 2000 onwards

About Dr Paul Redmond:

Dr. Paul Redmond is Director of Student Life at the University of Manchester and one of the country’s leading experts on generations and the graduate labour market. An experienced writer and speaker, Paul has presented at numerous events and conferences in the UK, US and Continental Europe. His research has featured in most leading UK newspapers and he has been a guest on programmes including BBC Breakfast, BBC London, ITN News, and BBC Radio 2 Jeremy Vine Show.

Paul’s work brings him into contact with a range of national and international organisations. His research into the future of work, ‘Generation Y’ and the rise of ‘helicopter parents’ is attracting considerable attention among both graduate recruiters and the media.

For more information, including INFOGRAPHICS, A HISTORY OF THE THOMAS COOK WINTER BREAK, STATISTICS and INTERVIEWS please contact Helen at Campbell Brown PR:
or Ian at Thomas Cook:

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