Sorry, Clark Griswold.
The traditional family vacation, the one in which Mom and Dad and two kids pile into a station wagon and head to a summer retreat all by themselves, is going away.
At least, that's according to Brian Sharples, the CEO of HomeAway, the rental service for vacation homes.
HomeAway just turned 10 years old, and to mark the occasion (and/or to fight off competition from younger companies such as AirBnB) the company is launching a big marketing campaign later this quarter.
The campaign will be the product of a newly hired CMO and research done with the fancy marketing firm Chiat.
Through this research, Sharples discovered that for many Americans, the concept of vacations is totally different than it was for those taking them a generation ago.
The reason: the traditional family construction itself is now rare.
"The modern family is now becoming the norm, not the exception," Sharples says. "Only 19% of families today are considered traditional in the essence of two parents and a couple of kids. Half the people in our country are divorced."
Meanwhile, Sharples says, grown-up families don't live in close proximity anymore.
"I grew up in Boston," Sharples says. "It used to be that if you grew up in Boston and fast-forwarded 30 years, all your brothers and sisters would still live in Boston and all your aunts and uncles still lived in Boston.
"That's really not the case anymore.
"I look at my family. Yeah, my parents still have a place in the Boston area, but I have one brother who lives in Seattle, and one lives in Santa Fe, and one lives in Austin. All of us have worked internationally in different countries."
With traditional families going away and family members spread around the globe, people are now going on vacations with people they have connected to in ways having nothing to do with blood. People travel with their family friends now, not just their families.
"We see more and more that family vacations that people are taking include people outside of that core, nuclear family," Sharples says. "Almost more often than not these days."
To that end, Sharples says, HomeAway's new marketing message will be that "you don't need to leave anyone behind."
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