Family Travel Association Newsletter

Our Inaugural Newsletter!

Week of January 12, 2015

Welcome to the Family Travel Association, a new coalition of the leading family travel experts, media properties and companies, coming together to create an industry voice that will transform the way families travel — charting a path for the future generations of travelers the industry needs to cultivate.

Family Travel Association News

The weeks and months ahead will see lots of growth in the Family Travel Association. Responding to it, but also driving it, is an exciting ensemble of projects and programs. Here's what to look for.

A Very Seasoned Team

No ship can sail without able hands on deck. And that's just what we have. Our founder, Rainer, has been joined by three travel stalwarts eager to develop the Family Travel Association into a loudspeaker for the vibrant and vital community it represents. Scroll down to learn more about Rainer, Peter, Ethan and Lynn.

This Family Travel Newsletter

We know you are as eager to hear from us as we are keen for feedback from you, especially with so much afoot. So we've created this newsletter for just that purpose: to help you keep tabs on us. In the beginning, we'll push out fortnightly messages, but once we gather a little momentum, we expect to make it weekly. Please share this newsletter far and wide, so that we are meeting and provoking the interests of a broad community.

Family Travel Research Study with NYU

This month, we will field our first annual Family Travel Research Study. Created in partnership with New York University's Tisch Center for Hospitality and Tourism, this study takes a comprehensive look at the travel habits, behaviors and attitudes of families all across the U.S. We will distribute questionnaires through the Smarty Pants, LLC proprietary 'Know-It-All' panel of more than 15,000 American families with kids ages 0-17. The data and analysis will be made available through us at no cost to our members.

Family Travel Content Portal

One of our primary goals is to create a centralized and authoritative Web-based resource for all families planning their getaways. Central to that process is our website, In early spring, it will be transformed into a traveler-focused and content-rich platform complete with tips, advice and resources combed from our extensive network of family travel experts.

Family Travel Consumer Promotion

To generate far-reaching awareness of the Association, our website and our ambitious plans, we are partnering with some of our travel media members to launch a national consumer promotion starting in mid-spring. Keep an eye out for more details in future installments of this newsletter.

Family Travel Association Summit

Circle September 27-30, 2015, on your calendars. That's when the first annual Family Travel Association Summit will be held at the Mountain Sky Guest Ranch in Emigrant, Montana. Spread across 8,000 acres of unspoiled wilderness in the heart of Yellowstone Country, this world-renowned resort boasts Montana’s Paradise Valley as its incomparable backdrop. The first-ever event of its kind, the Family Travel Association Summit will bring together travel industry experts, thought leaders, students, parents, educators and media for two days of presentations, research, interactive workshops… and, of course, horseback riding. Attendees will come away with a better understanding and appreciation of the pivotal role travel plays in helping children become true global citizens. With the full participation of travel trade and national media, the Summit is positioned to attract major interest from the press.

Family Travel Association Team

Rainer Jenss, Founder of the Family Travel Association, has been joined by a team of three. It is our pleasure to introduce the full quartet, sharing their brief thoughts and providing a sense of what they will be tackling. For more information about them, read their full biographies.

Rainer Jenss
President & Founder

I couldn't be more thrilled with the outpouring of support we've received in launching this new venture. The industry has welcomed us with a great deal of interest, enthusiasm and anticipation. Now that we have a core group of charter members onboard, we are poised to expand our affiliates and successfully implement our first year initiatives. It is sure to be an exciting year ahead and I look forward to working with all of our members in making this the most dynamic and valuable association in the travel industry.

As Founder and President of the Family Travel Association, Rainer is guiding the overall growth and development of our association. Read more about Rainer's work experience, including 13 years with the National Geographic Society, about half of that time as Publisher of National Geographic Kids.

Peter Bopp
Director of Consumer Insights & Membership Benefits

I'm excited to be part of this important industry association. After all, I learned about the business of travel through my family's travel agency, and developed a deep belief in travel as an essential element of every child's education. It fostered my lifelong interest in travel and global cultures. To this day, I'm passionate about expanding children's horizons through their innate sense of exploration. My hopes are high as we build a powerful voice for the family travel industry. Together we'll foster the next generation of global citizens.

With his focus on consumer research, marketing and strategy, Peter currently manages our consumer research partnership with New York University and Smarty Pants LLC, and oversees preparation for our inaugural summit at the Mountain Sky Guest Ranch in Montana this September. Learn more about Peter's professional experience, such as his senior business and marketing leadership roles at American Express and many years in executive coaching and leadership development.

Ethan Gelber
Director of Digital Media

The greatest gift I can imagine giving to my two young sons is a global understanding of a globalized world. That's what I'm lucky to have developed over 20 years of globetrotting, a gift I've also shared as a writer, editor and communicator devoted to sustainable travel and social transformation. The world is at a critical juncture; the paths we choose today will be decisive in determining what we leave for our children. The Family Travel Association is poised to play a leading role in that process. I couldn't be more jazzed to be part of it.

Ethan's duties encompass all endeavors to develop and expand our digital footprint – through our website, this newsletter, social media and more. Take in more about Ethan's freelance and entrepreneurial dabblings, most recently his efforts to champion quality and relevance in digital publishing and destination marketing.

Lynn O'Rourke Hayes
Content Manager

Travel has played an important role in my own family experience and I have witnessed firsthand its extraordinary transformational power. I believe the Family Travel Association and its membership will provide a meaningful portal to fostering imagination, education, adventure and family bonding experiences. So I look forward to collecting and sharing words and images from expert sources, real family travelers and seasoned industry pros that will help illuminate the world's possibilities for our readers. I am thrilled to be a part of it!

Lynn's primary responsibility is coordinating with the wide, active, talented and knowledgeable community of people engaged in family travel and its promotion. Check out more about Lynn's busy days as a freelance writer, including as founder of, and leader of transformational travel retreats.
Copyright © 2015 Family Travel Association, All rights reserved.