2016 FTA Summit Recap: Introduction + Day 1

2016 FTA Summit Recap: Introduction + Day 1

From October 23-26, 2016, the Westin La Paloma Resort & Spa of Tucson, Arizona, played host to the second annual, trade-only, conference-style Family Travel Association Summit.

Like its predecessor — the 2015 FTA Summit held at the Mountain Sky Guest Ranch in Emigrant, Montana — this year’s gathering brought together family travel experts, industry leaders and media for inspiring presentations, interactive workshops, enlightening research, and a diverse array of networking opportunities.

For the record, and as a great way to live (or relive) the 2016 FTA Summit, this recap presents session summaries, a photo gallery, most of the presentation slides used by the speakers and, eventually, some edited video footage.

Feeling renewed, refreshed and inspired about family travel? We’re keen to read your thoughts via social media (hashtag #FTAsummit) or email. And, of course, please share this with a friend!

“I loved the conversations we had through the Summit breakout sessions, and the thought-provoking and inspiring keynote speakers. The Summit provides us with a broader view and deeper conversation about ‘family travel’. It was fabulous!”

— Moo Bishop, Thomson Family Adventures


JUMP AHEAD: DAY 1 | DAY 2 | DAY 3


2016 FTA Summit Recap: Day 1

Prior to the official opening of the Summit, the FTA Board, FTA staff and several key partners assembled at the White Stallion Ranch for lunch and an energetic discussion about the past, present and, especially, future of the Family Travel Association.

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It isn’t often that so much family travel wisdom is gathered under one roof, and the vibrant exchange of ideas brought to the fore an amazing clutch of ideas, many of which will serve as guideposts on the FTA’s road ahead.

After lunch, back at the Westin La Paloma, the morning meeting participants joined more than 100 Summit attendees for the launch of the Summit program.

Rainer Jenss, Founder and President of the Family Travel Association, was first to the podium to welcome the assembly with an introduction to the FTA and to the guiding theme of the Summit: an exploration of how to inspire (more) families to travel and to make it more accessible.

Rainer Jenss launches the 2016 FTA Summit in Tucson, Arizona

* Click here to download Rainer’s presentation (Keynote file).

In sequence after him, other members of the FTA team and key partners introduced information about the current and coming state of the FTA.

Ethan Gelber and Chris Tomeo present at the 2016 FTA Summit in Tucson, Arizona

Ethan Gelber, FTA Director of Editorial (above left), and Chris Tomeo, Creative Director of Fruition (above right) together announced the relaunch of the FTA website, a process overseen by Fruition, as well as the ramping up of FTA editorial activities.

* Click here to download their presentation slides (Keynote file).

Peter Bopp presents at the 2016 FTA Summit in Tucson, Arizona

Peter Bopp, FTA Director of Strategy (pictured above), was joined by Lynn Minnaert, Academic Co-Chair and Clinical Assistant Professor of New York University’s Tisch Center for Hospitality and Tourism, to unveil brand new industry and consumer research data about family travel. Spoiler: Family travel is a growing segment of the market that is expected to continue to grow!

* Click here to download the presentation slides (Keynote file).

Chez Chesak and Kit Bernardi present at the 2016 FTA Summit in Tucson, Arizona

Chris ‘Chez’ Chesak, FTA Executive Director (above right), and Kit Bernardi, FTA Media Center Director (above left), shared news about the growth and enormous ongoing potential of the FTA membership, both its trade members and Media Center members.

* Click here to download the presentation slides (Keynote file).

Interspersed with these presentations were four highly impactful keynotes. These keynotes are covered in a bit more detail in our Day 1 Summary, but in order of appearance, they were:

Maureen Miller of Disney presents at the 2016 FTA Summit in Tucson, Arizona

Maureen Miller (pictured above), a marketing strategist at Disney, took the stage to celebrate the importance of storytelling in family travel. She presented a handful of videos crafted (by Disney) to showcase the perspectives of different family travelers about what travel means to them. It’s all about creating family memories!

“I think families want to hear from families that are like them and tell the stories that stick with them.”

— Maureen Miller, Disney

* Click here to view a short Facebook Live interview with Maureen Miller at the FTA Summit.

Estee Rivera Murdock presents at the 2016 FTA Summit in Tucson, Arizona

Estee Rivera Murdock (pictured above) coordinates the Every Kid in a Park program for the National Park Service. Her talk laid out all the different types of family-oriented opportunities in national parks today – everything from education to recreation and voluntourism.

“What makes [Every Kid in a Park] special is that it is an invitation for many kids to visit parks for the first time.”

— Estee Rivera Murdock, National Park Service

* Click here to view a short Facebook Live interview with Estee Rivera Murdock at the FTA Summit.
* Click here to download the presentation slides (Powerpoint file).

Ashish Snaghrajka presents at the 2016 FTA Summit in Tucson, Arizona

Ashish Sanghrajka, President of Big Five Tours & Expeditions (pictured above), focused on the best time to expose kids to family travel (ages 5 to 15) and outlined the importance of providing kids with real-world context for why travel is important.

“Kids are sponges between these ages. They hear everything, and even if we think they aren’t listening, they’re listening and they are curious and engaged because they want to make an impact.”

— Ashish Sanghrajka, Big Five Tours & Expeditions

* Click here to view a short Facebook Live interview with Ashish Sanghrajka at the FTA Summit.
* Click here to download the presentation slides (Powerpoint file).

Lauren Michod presents at the 2016 FTA Summit in Tucson, Arizona

Lauren Michod also took the stage on behalf of TravTrade, to explain FTALinks, FTA’s online networking tool, powered by her company.

* Click here to download the presentation slides (Powerpoint file).

Last but not least, at the end of this busy day were the Summit’s first breakout sessions — small-group theme-specific workshops designed to allow attendees to dive deeper on topics of particular interest to them. Each session had featured participants who offered their perspectives as a means of guiding and firing up discussion.

* The Influence of the Grandparent Effect looked at how baby boomers, now the largest demographic segment in the U.S. (75 million strong), are leading the growth in multigenerational travel. In fact, 27% of all leisure travel in the U.S. is multigenerational! Why? Because healthier, wealthier and now retired baby boomers have more time and disposable income for travel. And they want to spend it on experiences, not “things” and inheritance. No wonder Virtuoso reported multigen travel as the #1 travel trend in 2016.

The Influence of the Grandparent Effect breakout session at the 2016 FTA Summit in Tucson, Arizona

Breakout featured participants (pictured above):
Laura Davidson, LDPR – click here to download her presentation (Keynote file)
Nancy Schretter, Family Travel Network – click here to download her presentation (PDF file)
Amy Harrigan, Lindblad Expeditions – click here to download her presentation (Powerpoint file)

* How to INSPIRE – Marketing to Family Travelers focused on how organizations have repositioned themselves to attract and tap into the growing family travel market. Featured participants discussed how they have changed their marketing strategies and product offerings to successfully appeal to a market that they were largely missing out on. This session was presented by Vacatia.

How to INSPIRE - Marketing to Family Travelers breakout session at the 2016 FTA Summit in Tucson, Arizona

Breakout featured participants (pictured above):
Laurie Bohn , Royal Caribbean – click here to download her presentation (Powerpoint file)
Katie Thompson, PADI
Jara Haas, Visit Anchorage – click here to download her presentation (Powerpoint file)
LiLing Pang, Trekaroo

* The Rise of Volunteer & Purpose/Impact Family Travel examined the many (sometimes confusing) ways in which different forms of volunteer travel can appeal to different people, including families. Will your efforts be more about how you change or how you effect change? Both are possible — a rewarding — but travelers shouldn’t get them confused.

The Rise of Volunteer & Purpose/Impact Family Travel breakout session at the 2016 FTA Summit in Tucson, Arizona

Breakout featured participants (pictured above):
Jennifer Spatz, Global Family Travel – click here to download her presentation (Powerpoint file)
Dave Parfitt, Adventures by Daddy
Leslie Overton, Absolute Travel

With thoughts of family travel swirling in our heads, everyone retired to a fiesta area for a welcome reception, complete with a mariachi band and palate-bending Tucson food, all presented by The Westin La Paloma Resort & Spa and Visit Tucson.

Welcome reception of the 2016 FTA Summit at the Westin La Paloma in Tucson, Arizona Welcome reception of the 2016 FTA Summit at the Westin La Paloma in Tucson, Arizona

Special thanks to the storytelling team — Andy Austin and Cameron Martindale — for chronicling the full proceedings.

TO READ MORE ABOUT DAYS 2 AND 3 of the 2016 FTA SUMMIT, CLICK HERE!

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