Life in Pleasantville was one of nearly 50 influential family travel writers and bloggers who gathered this past weekend (Sept. 20-22, 2013) from around the United States and Canada at the TMS Family Travel Conference in Niagara Falls, NY.
Organized by Travel Media Showcase, Family Travel Forum, Taking the Kids and the Niagara Tourism & Convention Corporation, the conference drew media along with representatives of destinations and tourism organizations that value and market to family travelers. This was the third conference event for TMS Family Travel, which also hosts an annual Family Travel Summit bringing together media and travel providers to explore ideas for better family travel experiences.
Candace Derickx publishes Life in Pleasantville and focuses on bringing the best of travel, food and family to her readers. These digital travel, lifestyle and parenting communities are typical of the information resources that vacation planners turn to when researching and booking their travel; most are successful niche sites or social media channels that cater to a limited number of highly engaged users by offering exclusive content or products.
On the eve of the conference, New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo discussed initiatives to make tourism a top economic priority by developing more attractions to appeal to families and increase their length of stay. Conference-goers were excited to be in Niagara Falls, a classic tourism icon that is undergoing a major revitalization to position it for today’s sophisticated travelers. Despite a citywide blackout which forced one workshop to be held by the glow of cellphones, more than 21 million social media impressions were generated by conference attendees who toured the Cave of the Winds, rode the Maid of the Mist, and survived a Whirlpool Jet boat ride in addition to visiting wineries, Erie Canal locks, street fairs and local farms.
John Percy, President and CEO of the Niagara Tourism and Convention Corporation, said hosting the TMS Family Travel Conference “far exceeded our expectations, especially with the social media buzz it created throughout the conference. It’s invaluable to have a group of top family travel writers from around the country and Canada visit and experience what our destination has to offer.”
The big takeaway for Candace and other writers and speakers, who represented major companies like Trip Advisor, AOL, USA Today and the Los Angeles Times, was how important learning vacations have become to families. “A passport is the new diploma,” noted Keith Bellows of National Geographic Traveler, and new research from the U.S. Travel Association suggests that those who took educational trips as kids are more likely to graduate from college and earn more as adults.
All good news for parents, as well as the family travel industry, now the leading segment of all leisure travel in the United States, with more than 100 million trips taken each year with children under 18.
For more information on the TMS Family Travel Conference, please go to TMSfamilytravel.com
About Life In Pleasantville
Candace Derickx created Life in Pleasantville three years ago so that she could have her own little happy place on the internet. A firm believer that wherever you roam you’re home as long as you have your family with you, Candace strives to share the best family travel experiences with her readers.
About TMS FAMILY TRAVEL
In its 14th year, Travel Media Showcase brings together leading print and broadcast travel media with tourism representatives from around the world to showcase new regions for media to cover, and connect destinations with qualified leads. After producing both Family Travel Conference NY and Family Travel Conference Dallas, the company began presenting TMSfamily conferences and travel summits in 2013. Travel Media Showcase is a division of J. Vero Associates, an event planning and destination management company.
About Family Travel Consulting
Family Travel Consulting is the collaboration of Eileen Ogintz of Taking the Kids, the nationally syndicated travel column with millions of readers; and Kyle McCarthy of Family Travel Forum, the vacation planning resource that’s The Wall Street Journal’s “Best for Grandparents” and a Forbes “Favorite.” FTC provides strategy, marketing, digital and social know-how to travel and family products, and hosts the TMSfamily conference for media reaching the family vacation audience.
Candace Derickx, Life In Pleasantville, candace-at-lifeinpleasantville.com
Joanne Vero, Travel Media Showcase, joanne.vero-at- jveroassociates.com