Family Travel Association Newsletter

In the Busy Wake of the Family Travel Association Summit

Week of October 5, 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

What Exactly Was the FTA Summit?

FTA Summit 2015

You probably already know, but for anyone who doesn't: Last week we hosted the first annual FTA Summit at the Mountain Sky Guest Ranch in Emigrant, Montana. The goal was to advance our collective understanding of the important issues surrounding family travel. Almost 80 attendees – family travel experts, industry leaders, FTA members and the media – took in a dozen presentations and panels by 17 accomplished speakers.

Next week, we'll provide more resources, links and analysis of the event, but here, just to whet your appetite, was the presentation lineup:

  • Jim Pickell, President of, speaking (and writing) about The Sharing Economy's Impact on Traveling Families
  • Sarah Gavin, Head of Communications at Expedia, talking about Why Vacation Deprived is the New Sleep Deprived and What to Do About It
  • Wendy Perrin, Founder of and Travel Advocate for TripAdvisor, presenting about The Unique Challenges Parents Face When Traveling with Children
  • A panel discussion on the same topic with Wendy Perrin, Ida Keiper of Starbrite Traveler and Eileen Ogintz of Taking the Kids
  • Margo Peyton, President & Founder of Kids Sea Camp & Family Dive Adventures, speaking (and writing) about Keeping Kids Safe on the Road
  • Sarah Liaram, Coordinator of Abercrombie & Kent Philanthropy in Kenya, talking about Families Giving Back
  • Randy Garfield, Retired President of Walt Disney Travel & Executive Vice President of World of Worldwide Sales & Travel Operations for Disney Destinations, wondering about What Happened to the American Vacation
  • Toby O’Rourke, Senior Vice President of Marketing at Kampgrounds of America (KOA), sharing about How Technology Is Changing the Way Families Travel Together
  • Richard Wiese, the television host of Born to Explore with Richard Wiese, revealing the Travel That You Cannot Find in the Guidebooks
  • A panel discussion about The Future of Family Travel with Heidi Mitchell, Special Correspondent for Travel + Leisure; Jeremy Saum, Executive Editor of AFAR Media; Lissa Harnish-Poirot, Editor-in-Chief of Family Vacation Critic; and Bonnie Levengood, Senior Vice President of Marketing for MSC Cruises
  • Chris Elliott, Consumer Advocate for USA Today, talking about Finding Your Inner Consumer Advocate
  • Nancy Sathre-Vogel, Author/writer of Family on Bikes, revealing insights about Roadschooling: How Travel Facilitates Learning

FTA/NYU Reveal U.S. Family Travel Survey Launched at the FTA Summit

At the Summit, the FTA distributed new research conducted in collaboration with the NYU School of Professional Studies Tisch Center for Hospitality and Tourism. Identifying three distinct categories of family travelers, the study sheds light on decision-making factors of family travel and how this intelligence can be used to develop new products and services in this growing and evolving industry sector survey.

NYU and FTA U.S. Family Travel Survey
Skift picked up on this study right away. Others will follow! All FTA members have complete access to all the information and we are happy to provide further analysis on the categories of your interest.

Preparing for a Year of FTA Spotlight Topical Discussions

FTA Spotlight: Re/Defining Family Travel
In the wake of the Summit, we're kicking our next steps into gear. Of particular note is our FTA Spotlight: Re/Defining Family Travel. Through it, during the next 12 months we will be revisiting many of the core themes, critical issues and influential voices that underpin family travel. Stay tuned as we reach out to you and explore the topics of greatest interest and relevance to you.

FTA Spotlight Topic: Encouraging Special Needs Families to Embrace Travel

Curious about the kinds of resources we're looking in our Spotlight topical plunges? Here's one on the topic of family travel with special needs children. It's a Q&A between FTA Advisory Board Member Matt Villano and both Ida Keiper and Jesemine Jones, who together comprise Abeon Travel, a consulting firm that specializes in helping special needs families arrange travel. Ida and Jesemine are also the authors of our FTA Spotlight essay about Traveling for Families with Special Needs.

Expedia Viewfinder: Family Travel with Special Needs Children
Chris Chesak

Multigenerational Travel: A Q&A with Chris Chesak

Ever wondered who the faces behind the FTA names are? Here's a Q&A with Chris 'Chez' Chesak, our Executive Director, about his more than two decades of experience in the travel industry and then what led him, a father of two school-age daughters, to turn his career to focus on family vacations.

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?
"Family travel remains a highly fragmented and challenging experience for many. We're confident that the Family Travel Association, with the deep representation and experience of its members, will be a beacon for the industry and families alike, providing education, information and solutions, all to make travel more appealing and efficient for families."
– Jim Pickell, President,
Rothschild Safaris
Rothschild Safaris
"We're thrilled to be partnering with the Family Travel Association, not only to inspire families to travel far and wide, but to elevate the conversation about the role in which tour operators like Rothschild Safaris play in crafting stress-free, magical experiences for family travelers. While there are more ways than ever before to plan and book travel, families are increasingly relying on tour operators to plan itineraries and manage travel details. By relying on experts, families are able to focus on what really matters: seeing the world and making memories together."
– Sarah Fazendin, Director of Business Development, Rothschild Safaris
Il Viaggio Travel Costa Rica
Il Viaggio Travel Costa Rica
"Il Viaggio Travel is a family business that believes in the benefits and importance of family traveling together. We do all the site inspections as family, so we have been able to categorize Costa Rica's product. Another important factor is that we only sell what we know: where we have stayed and where we can guarantee the service that families need. When we learned that Costa Rica became part of the Family Travel Association, we started learning about you and loved your mission. That is why we joined. We hope we can help more families enjoy, learn and experience Costa Rica."
– Stephanie Sheehy, General Manager, Il Viaggio Travel

Family Travel Association Member News

Trekaroo's Educational Travel Week 2015

Taking learning to the road can deepen and broaden a child's connection and understanding of any subject. Trekaroo’s Road School guide was created to help families find the best places to dig deep and experience learning together. This week is Trekaroo's Educational Travel Week 2015, celebrating the one year anniversary of their Road School Series with Educational Travel Week. They've got a whole week of new Road School guides designed to inspire families to travel and learn.

Trekaroo's Educational Travel Week 2015

Delivering the Best for All Ages at the Mountain Sky Guest Ranch

The Mountain Sky Guest Ranch calls itself "an extraordinary ranch experience." As guests of Mountain Sky during our FTA Summit, we can vouch for the claim. The staff excels in going over and above, whether for adults or for kids. Of particular interest is the Mountain Sky Kids' Programs, which effortlessly keeps kids busy and happy while their parents are on the trail. The initiative focuses not on distracting kids from their parents' absence, but on making sure that guests of all ages benefit from the ranch. A model for any kids' club.

"Many families rebook because their children simply won't allow them to go anywhere else. Earlier this season, a mom came to us and confessed that her children had sensed they might have a hard time spending the money on this type of vacation experience again the following year. The kids offered to give up their allowance for a year so that mom and dad could bring them back to the ranch again."
– R.C. Townsend, Assistant General Manager, Mountain Sky Guest Ranch

National Book Month (Including Some with a Family Focus) at the Affinia Hotel Collection

In honor of National Book Month, the Affinia Collection in NYC is celebrating readers and writers alike with an array of events, including readings and signings by major travel authors throughout the month of October at each of the Affinia hotels. These include a few events with a family focus, like the one showcasing our FTA Advisory Board Member Charles Scott, who recently read from his upcoming book, Daunted Courage.

Charles Scott reads from his upcoming book, Daunted Courage

Travel Study Reveals Four Ways to Boost Happiness

With more and more studies confirming that overworked parents don't take enough of their paid vacation days, and that this seriously affects the quality of their family lives, we are reminded of Road to Happiness Study that examined the connection between travel and happiness, and the effect of travel upon stress and energy. Hint: there are four primary ingredients needed to enjoy a happy travel experience. This study was cosponsored by Monograms, a travel company (part of the Globus family of brands) that focuses on providing travelers with the happy solutions they seek.

Road to Happiness Study

MSC Cruises Partners with UNICEF to Combat Child Malnutrition

The trending practice of giving back while traveling is particularly important to families with children. MSC Cruises has seen strong interest from guests in its Get on Board for Children initiative benefiting UNICEF. To date, $4.4 million has been raised on board MSC Cruises' ships fleet wide. The donated money goes toward purchasing and transporting a Ready-to-Use Therapeutic Food called Plumpy'Nut®, which provides a complete dietary solution to treat severe malnutrition. In addition, "MSC for UNICEF Day" includes a variety of fun and educational activities for children to teach them about the importance of helping others.

MSC Cruises and UNICEF

Family Travel Industry News

Skift: Resorts Tap into Bleisure Trend to Combine Business and Family Travel

There's a growing practice of business travelers to combine business and leisure travel, and bringing their families on business trips. With many U.S. travelers taking minimal vacation time, the thought of a business trip involving family members is the only soft spot some people can find. And some resorts are tickling it.

American Airlines

Medium Taps into the Discussion About (Over)Working Parents in America

At a time when anecdotal and real data point to kids' awareness of their parents' work stress, many conversations have increasingly turned to how that can be changed, at home and when families travel. Interestingly, the publishing platform Medium just introduced a new publication dedicated to Working Parents in America. While it hasn't yet investigated working parents and travel, maybe you've got something to add.

Medium: Working Parents in America

The Age: Barely Out of Primary School, One Girl Has an Idea That's Turning Travel on Its Head

At just 12 years old, Australia's Bella Tipping has started a new business, called Kidzcationz, being touted as TripAdvisor for kids. Studies show that children have significant influence when it comes to making family holidays plans. Kidzcationz hopes to capitalize on children's decision-making power.

Bella Tipping
Editor's Note: While we are wowed by Ms Tipping's entrepreneurial spirit, we feel it only fair to mention that a very similar idea, (FTA Member) Bound Round, has already been in existence for a few years. Notably also based in Australia, Bound Round is, among other things, publisher of the world's first peer-to-peer travel platform by kids, for kids.

How Hotels Are Catering to Multigenerational Travelers

Multigenerational travel isn't going anywhere — except up, and fast. What started to take shape in the 1990s has given way to one of most talked-about travel trends, and many hotels are marketing, and making changes, to connect with this growing traveler base.

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.

7 Fun Hotels With Themed Rooms for Kids
From ‘SpongeBob SquarePants’ to ‘Star Wars’ to ‘Despicable Me,’ these themed hotel rooms offer families plenty of character.

Return on Life From Virtuoso
Look deep in this article for the mention of family travel as an intriguing aspect of Virtuoso's Return on Life program and the Journey to Global Citizenship.

Tauck Targets Families and First-Timers
The river cruise line will double its family itineraries in 2017 and offer helpful resources.
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