ust when it seemed that family travel
couldn't stretch any more to accommodate yet another configuration,
Enter "the familymoon."
This is either a great example of an imaginative travel industry
coming up with product to combat woeful economic times or, as some
experts say, it's a bona fide travel trend indicative of just how
elastic (and strong) the family travel market is.
A familymoon is, as the name implies, a honeymoon for newlyweds
that includes his kids and her kids, sort of a "Brady Bunch"
Samantha Oehl of New York-based public relations firm Quinn and
Co. believes her company coined the term familymoon for its client,
the Westin Resort in St. John, U.S. Virgin Islands, a year or so
"Lots of people are finding love later in life," Oehl said.
"They've done the big, formal wedding once, and now they want
something different. They want to include their children in the
beginning of their new lives as a family. So, familymoons are a
And it was only natural that Oehl and the Westin create a
package for this market. Seems like a smart move.
According to Dr. Margorie Engel, board member at the Stepfamily
Association of America, there now are as many stepfamilies as
The association said 65% of remarriages bring children into the
relationship, which, from a travel marketing perspective, has to
make bells ring -- and destinations take notice.
But how many newlyweds actually bring their kids on a trip long
regarded as the height of intimacy and the symbol of a new
Apparently quite a few.
Andee Oleno, director of public relations for the two Pointe
Hilton Resorts in Phoenix -- Tapatio Cliffs and Squaw Peak -- said
they've had at least 25 familymoons at their properties since
September, and she expects many more in 2004.
"Really, it's quite adorable," Oleno said. "You've got the kids
taking part in the ceremony. You have, say, a daughter discussing
with her mom or step-mom-to-be how they should walk down the aisle.
Things like that. The familymoon definitely eases the transition
into a new family.
"And, from a marketing point of view, we are seeing these
families combine the wedding with a family reunion or vacation, so
it's really very good for business," she added.
Julie Mendonca wed Thomas Ross at the Pointe Hilton Tapatio
Cliffs last September and stayed to enjoy a familymoon, a three-day
celebration of their new beginning as a family.
Ross' three sons were on hand to experience the event, and
Mendonca's son was a groomsman.
"I also had my parents with us, and Thomas had his brothers,"
Mendonca said. "We spent a lot time together and it was
Mendonca said she chose the Hilton first and foremost because it
was an "exceptional vacation" place.
"You have to find a place that's elegant because it is your
wedding, and it has to be romantic," she said. "But it also has to
have the kinds of activities all of the family can enjoy."
Her advice for would-be familymooners?
"Have plenty of patience, good humor and find a great vacation
To contact reporter Kaleel Sakakeeny, send e-mail to [email protected] .
Family packages for familymooners
The Westin Resort St. John
Address: Box 8310, Great Cruz Bay, St. John, U.S.
Virgin Islands 00831
Phone: (888) 627-7206
Accommodations for three nights cost $4,077, a savings of $1,000
over rack rates, and include:
• Two gardenview rooms. Rate covers the bridal room and up to
three adults in the second room (two double beds), with a
$45-per-person charge per night for an additional adult. If the
room is designated as a kids' room, up to four children age 17 and
under can stay at no extra charge. Cots are available.
• Participation for two children in Westin's Kids Klub for one
Pointe Hilton Resorts
Address: 7600 N. 16th St., Phoenix, Ariz.
Phone: (800) 876-4683
Accommodations for three nights cost $3,500 and include:
• Two connecting suites with one bedroom and one living room in
each, with either a king- or two queen-size beds. A pullout sofa
can be requested. Standard suite occupancy is four people (any
family configuration) per suite.
• Wedding ceremony with choice of courtyard or ballroom
• Daylong stay for two children at the Coyote Kids Camp, a $120
Both packages include the ceremony and official's fee; a wedding
cake, the bride's bouquet and groom's boutonniere; a bottle of
champagne and two flutes; and music, photographer and videographer.
Commission is 10% on each.
For more details on this article, see Planning tips for retailers.