Throughout the Family Travel Association’s (FTA) five-year history, the FTA and the Dude Ranchers’ Association (DRA) have been long-time supporters of each other’s members and mission.
The DRA’s more than 100 member ranches offer one of the best value, high-quality family vacations in North America, and cross-promoting and assisting each other’s organization has empowered our mutual membership. (About a third of the DRA’s members are FTA members as well.)
This year, the FTA was well represented at the 93rd Annual DRA Convention, which hosted more than 200 attendees in January at the iconic Tanque Verde Ranch in Tucson, Arizona. Some four generations of ranchers attended the event.
FTA Media member Nancy Schretter, founder and managing editor of Family Travel Network, presented “Modern Family: Today’s Family Travel Trends.” Schretter shared current market trends from the FTA Annual Family Travel Survey and a wide variety of other sources, and led discussions on how ranchers can harness these trends for profitable growth.
Ranchers took part in detailed discussions about a number of topics including multi-gen and skip-gen travel trends. “They’re finding more grandparents are paying for the whole trip,” and ranches are actively adapting their operations to accommodate the mixing of age groups, Schretter said.
“They’re developing new ways for everyone to share in these special vacation moments, if say a grandparent cannot ride a horse,” she said.
Strengthening Bonds & Family Travel Offerings
For example, ranchers discussed providing them a Jeep ride out to where the riders are going, so grandparents can watch their children and grandchildren ride in with those big smiles on their faces, Schretter said.
“Ranchers also are interested in understanding family vacations with young adults, single parent bonding vacations, and how Gen Z is influencing vacation decisions, because more and more, these are the family members doing the research on where the family should go,” Schretter said.
Meanwhile, FTA Travel Agency Initiative Director Sally Black, owner of Vacationkids, led a dynamic discussion about “Getting to Know Your Travel Agent Partners.” As part of her presentation, she helped educate the attendees about the different business models of today’s agents and how ranchers can welcome and encourage more travel agent bookings.
Both Schretter and Black experienced how ranchers are actively interested in marketing solutions that appeal to new generations of guests and ways of increasing reservations through agent partnerships.
During her presentation, Black also announced the publication of the FTA’s new Dude Ranch Guide, which received “extremely positive” feedback, Black said. “I definitely see an interest from ranchers to work with agents to help them maximize their occupancy and revenue, especially in the shoulder seasons,” Black said.
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