Travel firms and hotels are being urged to target the ‘pank’ demographic – professional aunts, no kids – after research found the market was large and under-exploited.

The WTM Global Trends Report carried out by Euromonitor identified the pank as a woman with disposable income who does not have children but has a close relationship with friends or relatives’ children.

The report found that there were 23 million such women in the US who spend $9 billion on children. They are interested in domestic travel within in the US and visiting Europe.

Caroline Bremner (pictured), head of travel at Euromonitor, said: “The average pank is an average age of 36. They tend to be professional women and they are very savvy on social media and tend to be looking for a bargain.”

She said companies could communicate with this market through social media, but needed to be flexible in their offering.

“Hotels are already moving away from traditional family accommodation. It’s about ensuring they are flexible and providing options. This is why we are seeing the rise of self catering and villas. It’s about using your resources to your best ability to meet the needs of this market.

“A staggering 42% of women aged 15-44 (in the US) are childless and interested in the children in their lives – they want to travel and share the experience with these children.”