Family Travel Association Newsletter

FTA Spotlight Now Squarely in the Family Travel Spotlight

Week of July 13, 2015

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


Family Travel Association News

First Two FTA Spotlight: Re/Defining Family Travel Topics Are Open for Discussion

Two weeks ago, we announced the launch of FTA Spotlight: Re/Defining Family Travel, a 15-month editorial initiative to develop a rounded understanding of the challenges we all face today with family travel and the efforts we can make as an industry to move forward with it. The first stage of the initiative is a 12-week process of spotlighting 12 core family travel topics to the public. Each week, we are therefore publishing an introductory essay, which will open a topic for public discussion. The first two essays are now live: the first, The Changing Faces of Family Travel, written by our editorial director, Ethan Gelber; and the second, about How to Use Travel as a Learning Tool, by Emeritus Editor-in-Chief of National Geographic Travel Keith Bellows, announced fully directly below.

FTA Spotlight: Re/Defining Family Travel

FTA Spotlight Topic 2: How to Use Travel as a Learning Tool

When it comes to educating our children, the world giveth and the schools often taketh away. Whether you choose to vacation abroad or closer to home, the inescapable reality is that we live in an increasingly global world. And yet too many schools – especially in the public school system – are failing our kids by believing that more learning occurs in a classroom than in the world beyond it. Any adult who gives a child the gift of travel, however, bestows the gift that keeps on giving; you get your most important diploma in life from travel. We owe our children their global tomorrows by raising well-traveled and world-ready students.

Read the full essay here and please share your thoughts.

We don't need no thought control

FTA Partners with Macaroni Kid to Search for a Family Travel Consumer Panel

FTA is working with Macaroni Kid to search for traveling families interested in providing the industry with valuable feedback. Registration takes place here for a chance to join the Family Travel Association’s Consumer Panel and to be part of an exclusive group of peers helping to shape the future of how families travel.

Want To Help the Travel Industry Better Serve Families?

Family Travel Association Helps Inspire Family Travel Coverage in the Wall Street Journal

Although mentioned only in passing, Rainer Jenss, our founder, was instrumental in helping the writer of this Wall Street Journal article about The Perfect Adventurous (But-Not-Too-Much) Family Vacation. Such editorial consulting is something the FTA anticipates doing more actively, as it raises the profile of family travel.

The Wall Street Journal: The Perfect Adventurous (But-Not-Too-Much) Family Vacation
FTA ad in AFAR

Family Travel Association Appears in Full-Page Ad in AFAR Magazine

With a bold banner reminding readers that "Travel can change your child's life," a new full-page ad in this month's print magazine of FTA Member AFAR introduces the work of the FTA to a new group of readers.

Family Travel Association Membership

The Family Travel Association membership base continues to expand, drawing in new associations, media outlets, destinations, tour operators, corporate entities, cruise lines, lodgings and travel specialists.

Who Are Our Newest Members?

Westin La Paloma Resort & Spa
Westin La Paloma Resort & Spa
"We are very pleased to be a part of the Family Travel Association and support their mission to inspire families to make travel a part of every child's education. At The Westin La Paloma Resort & Spa we want our guests to leave feeling better than when they arrived, while experiencing our world-class resort and the authentic American Southwest. The Family Travel Association website is a great tool to help families plan enriching and memorable travel experiences."
– Glenn Sampert, General Manager, Westin La Paloma Resort & Spa
Costa Rican Vacations
Costa Rican Vacations
"We at Costa Rican Vacations are so pleased to be included in the Family Travel Association. We are a locally based travel agency with over 15 years of experience creating customized vacation packages. We believe that travel opens minds, inspires, educates and ultimately benefits everyone, young and old. Our mission is to create lifelong memories through the joy of travel and we are thrilled to be included in an association with a purpose in line with our own. Thank you for having us!"
– Joel King, Marketing Manager, Costa Rican Vacations
Big Five Tours &  Expeditions
Big Five Tours & Expeditions
"Big Five Tours & Expeditions understands the power of travel to change lives for the better - for both the visitor and the visited. That should include every member of a family, especially the children, who should have an equal voice in the experience, instead of just coming along for the ride with the parents. We saw this as a need in the industry that was not being adequately addressed; that is the motivation behind Big Five’s Precious Journeys - family-focused adventures that offer an alternative to family-tolerant travel. We are happy to join an organization such as FTA that shares our core values."
– Ashish Sanghrajka, President, Big Five Tours & Expeditions
Denihan Hospitality Group
"As a family-owned operator of boutique hotels, Denihan believes in the inherent power of travel as a form of education. Travel opens up a world of understanding and insight that cannot be replicated through text books, television, and the Internet. It provides real-world lessons, and in today’s society, we must teach our children that true engagement and friendship are the result of in-person interactions not just social media. This is why we are thrilled to align with the Family Travel Association, and why our hotels and guests programs are designed to help travelers tap into the local culture."
– Lisa Zandee, Senior Vice President of Brand Management, Denihan

Family Travel Association Member News

Why You Won't Travel Like Your Parents Did

In a fine essay on LinkedIn, Rob Harper of new FTA Member Namu Travel (Costa Rican Vacations) has described how he learned from family travel that people stories are immeasurably more valuable and interesting than anything the eyes can see. While this is a big shift from the way he first traveled (at a young age with his family), and an even bigger change from the way his grandfather traveled, he sees this focus on doing versus seeing as a very good thing.

Why You Won't Travel Like Your Parents Did

Hilton Daytona Beach Resort Showcases the Destination's Family-Friendly Experiences

Any destination has a lot of family-friendly activities, but it takes a discerning eye to put them together into a well-rounded family-focused package. That's what the Hilton Daytona Beach Resort has done with blog posts focused on fun-for-all-ages experiences like Daytona Beach waterparks and minor-league baseball games to complement the offerings at its full-service resort in Daytona Beach, Florida.

Daytona Beach waterparks

Water Slides and Technology Go Together at Great Wolf Lodge

At its Pocono Mountains and Williamsburg locations, Great Wolf Lodge is introducing Slideboards, a first-of-its-kind interactive video game water slide. Using rafts that double as video game controllers, riders careen through the hairpin turns of an LED-equipped fiberglass flume, scoring points by mashing control buttons that correspond to the flashing lights zooming by. With each run, riders can “level up” to face increasingly challenging gameplay. A complementary Slideboard app allows users to keep track of their progress.


Hawks Cay Annual Heroes Salute

For the seventh year, Hawks Cay honors the contributions made by military, fire and rescue, law enforcement and all medical personnel by offering steeply discounted room rates and a host of activities to them and their families sharing their rooms. The weekly highlight of the Heroes Salute program, which runs from August 17 to November 23, 2015, is the resort's weekly Heroes in Action ceremony, which pays tribute to those in service. Family members are encouraged to submit photos of their heroes while at the resort.

Hawks Cay

Family Travel Industry News

Why She Canceled Family Vacation — Permanently

In an article in The Week, a new and different family travel opinion has found voice. "Vacations with small children are horrible," writes Ruth Margolis. "My own parents didn't take me anywhere until I was 5 years old, and now I understand why. So I'm taking that same step. Or rather, sitting very still and declaring that, for the foreseeable future, my brood will not be permitted to journey further than our local park."

Why I Canceled Family Vacation — Permanently
"This is a bit like testing crystal wear with a cudgel and dismissing the former as too delicate. I believe it's wrong in premise, analysis and conclusion. And it paints with far too broad a brush to declare that 'Vacations of any kind are a waste of our inadequate free time and money.' It's tracing a bad result back to the presence of children, rather than the expectations of the parents or some troubling inadequacies of the tourism industry. The Family Travel Association's role is not to retreat from family travel challenges, but to seek collaborative solutions for overcoming them. Besides, as Paige Conner Totaro comments here: 'Practice makes perfect. And mistakes make memories.' "
– Ethan Gelber, Director of Editorial, Family Travel Association

We Will Spend $221 Billion on the Great American Road Trip This Summer

A recent Bridgestone Americas survey of 2,000 adults (conducted by Harris Poll) reveals that people set aside on average at least $1,000 per person for their road trips. For a full infographic with additional results, as well as a short Travel Pulse article about it, visit here.

Great American Road Trip infographic

ExertFlyer Subscriber Survey Uncovers Surprising Date About Family Travel Behaviors

ExpertFlyer conducted the survey with more than 1,100 consumer travelers to identify behaviors and discover what affects family travelers most. The results – including news that holiday decisions are directly impacted by frequent flyer miles or credit card points; terrorism is the chief security concern; non-traditional accommodation bookings are on the rise; and Australia is the most-desired family dream vacation destination – are illustrated in an infographic here.

ExpertFlyer Family Travel Survey

Wyndham Vacation Rentals Survey Includes More Surprising Finds

Just in time for National Vacation Rental Month this July, a Wyndham Vacation Rentals survey concludes some things we already know from traveling families: vacation rentals are more relaxing than other lodgings due to cost savings, peace of mind and flexibility. Also of interest: men are more likely to bring household help, like a housekeeper or babysitter, on vacation than women, even though women typically do more of the housework.

In celebration of National Vacation Rental Month, Wyndham Vacation Rentals has also launched the Road to Happiness Sweepstakes, offering the chance to win a grand prize road trip vacation package.

Feather+Flip Acquires Bon Voyaging to Create Premier Family Travel Planner

Feather+Flip, a travel resource for the modern family, has acquired itinerary planning company Bon Voyaging to create Passported. Combining Bon Voyaging’s itinerary planning technology with the curated family content of Feather+Flip, Passported compiles the best parent-scouted recommendations for each destination with seamless itinerary planning and mapping capabilities that are fully customizable.

Pennsylvania Families Call on FTC to End 'Drip-Pricing'

U.S. Senator Bob Casey has announced that he sent a letter to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) asking the agency to require hotels to disclose 'tail-end' fees up front. With summer vacation season in full swing, families in Pennsylvania and across the nation are seeing hotels advertised online for one rate only to see the full charge substantially increase as they complete the booking process – a practice known as ‘drip pricing.’

National Roller Coaster Day Coming in August

August 16 is the day Americans observe National Roller Coaster Day. To celebrate the roller-coaster inspired holiday, theme parks across the United States are offering customer discounts, opening roller coasters earlier than usual and staying open later to allow for more chances to ride and conducting giveaways to pay homage to the thrilling attractions. Check the National Roller Coast Day website for details.

Family Getaways

Other Industry Stories Through Travel Age West

As part of a collaboration with Travel Age West, we are sharing selected items of interest from their family travel news desk.

5 New Insights About Millennial Travelers
Tips for travel agents interested in serving this vacation-hungry, tech-savvy age group (that now includes families).

Mexico Hotels Enhance Their Teen Appeal
Mexico’s top family resorts keep teens engaged with creative programs that incorporate technology, video games, music and sports.

European Cities Among Hot Destinations This Summer
Top domestic and international summer destinations, based on booking, are released by AAA Travel.
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