Used to be they were called “mommybloggers,” but that was before their Klout scores soared and corporations avidly courted them.
And while I may be exaggerating, I’m not by much. This group of bright, engaged mothers (and some dads) who travel with their kids and run homes and blog, now run the family travel market and drive some of the most exciting conversations on line.
While CEO’s of hot start-ups and established web sites are pronouncing and pontificating, these women bloggers and journalists are running high-profile Tweet chats with impressive prizes, turning out compelling, useful content and run one-of-a-kind Family Travel Conferences.
Check in @familytravel4um and watch the fast-paced conversations about travel zip by with family travel cohorts like @familyonbikes, @familyadvice, @momaboard, @familiesgo, @hvbabywillrvl, @foreverdaddy and @luxurytravelmom.
These are experienced travelers, sharing and having fun.
They are mostly women, all of whom have a vibrant thing going on with each other about all things travel: destination tips and trips; legal advice about single parents traveling with minors; top cities of the world; funny and touching stories; differing opinions, travel expos, etc.
They’re witty, unfailingly good-willed, and always supportive of each other and family travel issues
One a Tweet chat I attended, had a couple hundred participants, and although about 50 voices dominated, the others had their says too. The discussion went well past the cut-off time.
And you bet these family travel bloggers are being noticed by big-time companies and corporations.
In part, as Ypartners points out, experience-based travel involving family and friends is the leading type of leisure travel. That is, visiting friends and relatives accounts for 50 percent of travel. Family vacations account for 42 percent.
Several of these family travel voices recently created the first-ever Family Travel Conference .
Under the leadership of Ms. McCarthy and Orlando, it was at New York’s classy Omni Berkshire Hotel.
Who sponsored it? Norwegian Cruise Line, Disney Parks, Atlantis, The New York Pass and Visit Orlando, to name some of the backers.
The 2-day event was in invitation to 30 or so bloggers and journalists, with family travel content experience. The blend of the traditional writer with Internet content creators was a wise move because the two groups learned from each other and provided differing viewpoints.
What was it like?
First, the Omni Berkshire was a clever choice of venue because it’s a smart hotel. The spacious rooms and cleverly designed spaces with accessible outlets, imaginative use of fabrics and plants is friendly and efficient.
There was a workshop on honing writing skills led by veteran family travel writer and syndicated columnist, Eileen Ogintz, and Pulitzer prize nominee, Cindy Richards, who teaches at the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University.
Kim Orlando, an indefatigable blogger and entrepreneur drove the Twitter dinner, which was more a live Tweet event than an actual dinner. But it was more fun than most of the conference dinners I’ve attended.
After a video workshop (Presenting Yourself: Ledes and Hooks), participants scattered throughout the hotel, smart phones and video cameras in hand, and created on-the-spot content ranging from an inside look at the hotel’s kitchen, to tips from housekeeping on making a room look like new.
When the dust settles, we probably were participating in the first of many such workshops about family travel, technology, monetizing content and community.
What I found refreshing, more so than conferences with top brass from from Google , Amazon and other legacy companies, was the openness and enthusiasm.
These “mompreneurs” combine humor with a depth of practical, real-world travel knowledge, and they make it all accessible by sharing.
With family travel a huge, fast-growing niche ( 4.5 trips a year; 67% saying kids are never too old to travel with), this fast-talking cohort may well set the standard for online activity… and enviable sponsorships.