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Family Travel Tips - Travel Age West September 15, 2008

Even with a sluggish economy pinching some travelers’ pocketbooks, David Rojahn has found success in what experts say remains a continually growing and lucrative market: family travel.

Rojahn, president of DTR Travel Inc. in Denver, started his agency 15 years ago. But four years ago, he shifted gears and began catering specifi cally to family travel.

“With the migration of customers to online booking, family travel was the market where we could see growth,” Rojahn said. “We tend to attract families of fi ve or more because it’s hard for them to book online.”

In the past two years, surveys have found that family travel grew at a faster rate than all other sectors of leisure travel as weary consumers took refuge in reuniting and reconnecting with family and friends.

Last month, a Travel Industry Association/ Ypartnership survey found that 63 percent of respondents believe leisure travel brings family members together and 58 percent feel leisure travel is very important to their wellbeing.

An American Express Travel survey of 501 U.S. adults also found that nearly 90 percent said they would continue to travel — despite
economic pressures — to pursue personal passions.

All of that has meant good news for agents tapping into the family travel market, including Rojahn, who said he is seeing a growing number
of multiple families also seeking to vacation together as a group.

DTR specializes in family travel to Mexico and Rojahn said he scouts out the region four or fi ve times a year, developing personal relationships
with vendors and suppliers and posting his own hotel inspections and reviews on his Web site.

Rojahn said a key marketing tactic that has ensured DTR’s success has been its investment in search engine optimization to boost his agency’s Web site returns among top search engine results for family travel.

Experimenting with key words or paying search engines for placement can mean the difference between landing a family group or not even being seen. TravelAge West recently did a Google search on “family travel,” and
pulled up 67.2 million sites. Knowing which key words will land your site at the top of that list is crucial.

Experts say another key is to feature destinations, resorts and other offerings on your site, but don’t give out all of the information. You want the customer to call you for more information, not go directly to the source.

And Rojahn suggests agents seeking to lure family travelers online hone their writing skills. “In the online arena, one typo can lose you business,” said Rojahn.

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We at DTR Travel take pride in specializing in your family vacations. We have our own families and understand how important it is to have well planned family vacations. Your family vacations are to allow your family time for relaxing and having fun, not worrying about those little details such as where will you eat, how will you get around or if your rooms will be next to each other. That is why we are family travel professionals, so you don't have to be!

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