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Brief Published: 7 Nov 2013

Rise of the ‘Panks’: World Travel Market 2013


Panks – Professional Aunts with No Kids – represent a new consumer group that hit the spotlight at the annual World Travel Market, held in London this week. Panks are women who have a close relationship with the children of friends or relatives and are happy to holiday with them.

US-based community website Savvy Auntie – which coined the term late last year – estimates that there are currently around 23 million Panks in the US, spending around $9bn annually on children. According to London-based market research firm Euromonitor, brands should tailor their marketing to this group, taking care to avoid addressing them as wives or mothers.

Nadejda Popova, senior travel and tourism analyst at Euromonitor, said: “There is quite a lot of potential to develop particular marketing strategies in order to lure more travellers within that segment.”

The World Travel Market is a leading trade show for the travel and tourism industry, attracting more than 20,000 visitors each year. Reporting from the event, Euromonitor identified several other key trends, including:

  • Peer-to-Peer Travel: The rise of the sharing society is impacting on the travel market, with house swaps and car sharing growing in popularity. Websites such as Vayable, which enlists local “insiders” to help create custom experiences for tourists, are profiting from this trend. Hospitality brands should respond by offering greater flexibility and more opportunities to customise experiences.
  • Happiness Matters: The success of websites such as RouteHappy, which sells airfares based on cost, destination and “happiness factor”, suggests consumers are tiring of cheap, uncomfortable travel experiences. Even Irish ultra-low-cost airline RyanAir has announced it is relaxing its strict hand-luggage allowance and introducing allocated seating from February 2014. Take a look at Food in Transit to discover other ways in which airlines are improving the onboard experience.