How Does Your “Family” Handle Teens?  

By family, I mean company.  The turn of the 20th century saw an organized trend to send our 16 and 17 year old boys (and girls) to war. Yes, they were putting themselves in a direct line on fire, possibly losing their lives.  That didn’t stop many from lying about their age and enlisting.  The adult pressures put on teenagers didn’t stop with the end of WWI.  For over a century, the trend has been targeting this age group to make decisions that should probably be left up to adults.  Let’s take a look at how this demographic can influence and effect, your bottom line.

We’ve posted at least 2 articles in the last month dealing directly with the teen market ranging from 18th or 21st birthday celebrations at your restaurant to accommodating teens in your hotel.  Credit card companies have increased its reach (or should we say grasps) on the teen market.  Study after study indicates teens are having a greater influence on family eating and vacation choices. A report from 2007 conducted by Teen Research stated, "Teens are becoming increasingly powerful consumers and are trusted more and more by their parents to make family purchase decisions.”  This study went on the conclude that, “Teens know what they want and are savvy when it comes to efforts to market to them."   The consumer research firm, Technomic, is reporting in 2012 that, “tweens and teens influence the decision making of their friends and families, playing a large role in their dining choices.” 58 percent of teens and 54 percent of tweens report that their family decides together which full-service restaurant to visit.

Now the difference between going to die for your country and deciding where the family dines couldn’t be greater.  I’m not trying to say the two are even in the same ball park.  The point remains though, that teens have always had a huge decision making influence in this country.  I’ll go back to my title … How does your “family” handle teens?  In a study put out by the Family Travel Forum 69% of the 5500 teens in the study, reported that they traveled with family members.    Do you cringe when you first see the teen walk through the lobby doors or do you smile?  Are you prepared for the family teen?  What amenities do you have in place?  Do you offer special training for your staff to deal with issues that may arise?   It seems the research is showing that after 100 years of influence, the teen demographic shouldn’t be ignored.  Let us know.  Give us your feedback.   I’m pretty sure there’s lots of experience out there.