Family Travel Bloggers Unite and Power With Social Media
From November 9-11, 2012, a trio of leading family travel "influencers" ushered in their annual Family Travel Conference, a gathering of passionate, talented and savvy family travel bloggers and journalists from around the country.
The venue was the huge, but responsive Omni Hotel in Dallas, Texas .
This is a group with clout...and Klout.
Together, the hundred or so attendees have become family travel's "thought leaders and influencers".
The FTC attendees boast an aggregate 1.6 million unique visitors to their sites, 326,000 Twitter followers and 250,000 Facebook friends.
During the conference, they flexed their social media muscle tweeting and posting on Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest. They then capped it with a Monday night #TMOM Twitter party that resulted in 432,000 thousand people seeing tweets about the conference, for a total reach of 7.5 million--in one hour--on Twitter.
Of course heavy-hitting sponsors took notice.
Visit Orlando , Disney Parks , Southwest Airlines, the Dallas Convention and Visitors Bureau and Omni Hotels lined up to sponsor FTC, as did Norwegian Cruise lines and Allianz Global Insurance last year in New York.
And why wouldn't they?
The US Travel Association says a huge 30% of all adult leisure travelers are those traveling with children and grandchildren...and those traveling with grandchildren represent 7% of all leisure travelers.
More importantly, perhaps, Family Travelers take about 4.5 trips a year, significantly more than Business Travelers (3.9%); Gen Y Travelers (3.9) and Gen X Travelers, 3.5 trips a year.
Just as obviously, based on my observations at the three day conference, the Family Travel Conference, now a loose federation of family travel content experts, is the "go-to" group for DMO's, CVB's and on/off-line travel agents interested in tapping the lucrative family travel market.
FTC has the talent, the tips, the information and the contacts to help generate revenue for the industry, and, importantly, help those interested in establishing their bona fides, their credibility as a family travel operator.
Phillip Jones, president CEO of the Dallas CVB said that although Dallas is a terrific destination for family travel because of its rich and diverse attractions, for him, sponsoring FTC was a "unique opportunity."
By bringing Dallas and these "influential family travel Bloggers together," presumably, Jones will see more revenue from the family travel market. After all, Dallas has spent 15 billion dollars in the last years sprucing up the city's attractions. Much of that money oriented toward improving the city's family travel friendliness.