While the country is becoming increasingly aware of the restrictions traditional gender roles place on individuals and families—and how harmful those restrictions can be—more businesses are deliberately seeking non-traditional demographics. Traditionally, for example, women have been tasked with planning travel for their families, or even for a romantic escape with a spouse. In an effort to encourage men to take a more active role in organizing trips with their families, Hilton’s Homewood Suites and Home2 Suites have launched the "Travel MANager" program.
Focused on helping men have a participatory role, the program provides tools and resources for men to help organize an extended family vacation or a couple’s getaway. The Travel MANager program brings professional advice, original research and trip itinerary suggestions all together on a new website: www.mencanplantravel.com.
“About 60 percent of the travel planning that’s done is done by females,” Adrian Kurre, global head of Homewood Suites by Hilton and Home2 Suites by Hilton, told HOTEL MANAGEMENT. “So what we wanted to do was launch a site that would make it easy for men to step up and be a part of the travel process. It would take the pressure off the wives or girlfriends and help them really plan that travel in a way that connects them to the family and connects them with their significant others.”
A survey conducted by Wakefield Research polled men about travel with their children. A full 89 percent of respondents felt that traveling alone with their kids was one of the best ways to bond, and 89 percent also were interested in recreating a trip they took with their own fathers.
To provide travel planning tips, the Hilton team gathered several “dad bloggers” and notable dads led by U.S. Army veteran, Dancing with the Stars alum and current American Grit mentor Noah Galloway. Galloway, a father of three, will be one of six Dad Time Travel MANagers providing advice, planning tips and photos/videos from personal trips on the site. “I have three children and I went through some struggles, some dark times, after I was injured,” Galloway, who lost an arm and a leg in Iraq, said. “I wanted to be a better father, and that’s what got me motivated.” A decade after his injury, he said, he has a very close relationship with his children. “I want them to travel with me, and we plans vacation together. It’s been great for me and my kids to have that time together when we’re on the road, whatever we're doing. We’re traveling to connect. This program is to get more fathers involved with that dad-time to spend with their children.”
And if the name of the site—or even the concept of making travel-planning easier for men—sounds like a backhanded compliment, Galloway has a different opinion. “I’ve gone to combat,” he said. “I can do a lot of different things and be very competent in doing them, but I’ve never—before now—been the one who planned a trip. Here it is, 2016, and we’ve improved gender equality, but we still fall into those roles as to who does what. There’s nothing wrong with switching roles.” Encouraging men to take a more active role in planning a trip from the beginning is a good way to show children that their father is listening to them and aware of what they want, he added.
Kurre agreed. “For me, the difficulty is, what am I going to do with them?” he said of planning a trip with his four-year-old twins. “Where am I going to go? I need ideas. I need guidance from other people.” Even as the SVP of the Homewood and Home2 brands, he said, he feels like a “clueless” travel planner. “My wife has done all of the travel planning. I’ve put that pressure on her. It’s nice that I’ll have a space I can go to to start to generating ideas and be a better person for the family. Part of what kept me from doing this before was that my wife had all of the details, and now i have them available to me and I can take her list and make it a part of my travel-planning. It makes it so much easier.”