How to Run a Family-Friendly Hotel (and Why You Should)
Family-friendly hotels are a growing trend in the hospitality industry.
Implementing special activities and perks specifically for kids and families is a great way to attract more people and expand your customer base. Providing kid-friendly travel amenities doesn’t mean completely reinventing your establishment as a daycare center. The most popular family hotels offer benefits for all ages including adults, teenagers, and young children. Incorporating specialized pricing options, discounts and conveniences for a variety of guests are some simple ways to begin transforming your establishment into a family-friendly hotel. Here are 5 of the most suitable ways to increase the child-friendliness of your hotel, that ALL your guests will appreciate.
Travel is often a stressful process for families to begin with. Transportation, food, coordinating schedules, and of course, keeping the kids happy—it’s a lot to take on. The last thing families should worry about is their hotel stay. With just a few adjustments you can be sure your hotel fits the family-friendly bill.
The type of lodging that most families require is a little different from a business traveler or single adult. Hotel owners are wise to recognize this gap, so they’re sure to provide the best quality of service possible, while at the same time remaining sensitive to the needs of other guests a well. After all, in this competitive industry, it’s your job as the hotel owner to ensure a positive experience for everyone who lodges at your establishment.
According to a survey conducted by AAA Travel, 88 million people in America have plans to take a family vacation this year alone. What’s even more interesting, it’s millennials who make up 44 percent of the travelers planning a family trip! With millennials reaching parenting age, now is the time to adjust your hotel’s policies and services to accommodate their growing families.
Shifting your focus to making your business a more family-friendly hotel, is relatively simple. Families are drawn in by the types of activities you offer, the attentiveness of the staff you employ and the perks of selecting your hotel for their vacation.
6 Ways to Make Your Hotel More Family-Friendly
1. Help Guests Discover Your Family-Friendly Hotel
When families plan their vacation, they usually look online first. It’s important that your hotel stands out and reflects the fact that you’re a family-friendly establishment. If you want to know how you appear to guests, go online, read all reviews and do some research.
A smart strategy for increasing the family friendliness of your hotel is to keep an eye on your competition. What are they doing for their guests? How is their service distinctive? What are guests saying about their stay? Then compare your own hotel and measure your performance. Some questions to consider:
- How can you convert existing practices and amenities to be child-friendly?
- What additional perks can you implement to attract family patrons to your hotel?
Once you’ve examined the types of family-friendly hotel activities your guests may enjoy, update your website and social media accounts to reflect these updates. Your website is typically the first impression of your establishment for potential customers. It’s crucial they find an appealing invitation. Showcase your hotel’s family-friendly values by featuring photos of real families (adults and children) enjoying their stay.
2. Offer Specialized Pricing Options
Offer a special pricing package or child-discount as an incentive for guests to choose your family-friendly hotel over the competition. These one-of-a-kind pricing options (only offered to families) allows guests to feel special and important. This benefit shows you value family togetherness, especially during their vacation.
Several Wyndham Grand locations currently offer a special “Reconnected” program which offers families a 5% discount off their stay when both parents and children agree to place all phones and electronic devices in a timed lockbox. Families are given an “adventure backpack” filled with items like books, activity sheet, and crayons and encouraged to have fun while building meaningful memories with one another (and forgetting screen-time. This discount promotes quality family time and builds connections.
Accor Hotels is another lodging chain offering a special room package for families. Parents who book a room for themselves receive a 50% discount on the second room they book for their children. This option is ideal for increasing occupancy, especially during the off-season. Parents appreciate the privacy of their own room and the convenience of a conjoined room for their kids. At the lower price, guests are more likely to opt for booking the additional room, keeping your hotel occupied even during slower months.
3. Provide Unique Hotel Room Amenities
Amenities are important for hotel guests at every age. The perks and extras you offer guests keep them comfortable and help them feel right at home. Top-notch hotel amenities keep all guests satisfied and content. Traveling families are no exception to this rule.
The Brewhouse Inn & Suites in downtown Milwaukee offers fully equipped kitchenettes in each of their guestrooms. Each kitchen includes appliances like a refrigerator and microwave, as well as cookware and silverware. This family-friendly hotel feature is accessible free of charge to guests. A kitchenette is helpful for traveling families with infants or small children who may need to warm up a bottle or whip up a few quick snacks for hungry toddlers.
Several St. Regis hotel locations also offer fun room amenities for kid-friendly excursions. Once a family has checked in, not only do parents receive plush hotel robes with slippers, but guests with younger kids also receive child-sized robes and slippers for their little ones. This amenity allows each member of the family to feel included and pampered. A successful family-friendly hotel understands how to help every guest feel indulged and special (children included)!
4. Organize Kid Friendly Activities
Organizing a kids’ club at your family-friendly hotel is the perfect way to keep children busy while parents get the chance to go out and explore by themselves. A fun club where kids can swim, check out the hotel library and play in the game room will far exceed the expectations of your guests. Parents will be overjoyed with the hospitality and the kids will stay busy and entertained.
Sonnenalp Hotel in Vail, Colorado offers a kids’ club program unlike any other. Their entertaining and one-of-a-kind club immerses children in adventure and the Colorado wilderness. Kids at this family-friendly hotel are usually found hanging in the recreation area doing arts and crafts or out in nature hiking the beautiful Vail mountains (under the supervision of responsible activity coordinators, of course).
Offerings geared to youngsters is essential, but it’s equally important to offer activities for older kids and teens. Forming a special teens club or adding a teen lounge into your hotel are both effective ways to ensure kids of all ages feel included at your family-friendly hotel. Providing a kid zone keeps the rest of your hotel quiet and calm for business travelers and kid-free guests as well.
You may consider breaking away from the norm and offering up some modern types of activities for families to try. Contemporary hotels like Great Wolf Lodge in Grand Mound, Washington offer a morning meditation and yoga class for kiddos. Their “Yoga Tails” program is meant to help children find their Zen and get active trying a new type of exercise. An activity like this may seem avant-garde but as the manager of a family-friendly hotel, it’s your job to stay up to date with trends. Consider incorporating a new type of kid-friendly activity and see how much your guests appreciate the creativity!
5. Ensure Friendly Customer Service
Let’s be honest, there are many different family-friendly hotels out there but the most successful ones that dominate this part of the hospitality industry employ the friendliest staff to interact with the guests.
Customer service will make or break your reputation as a family friendly hotel and the staff greeting your guests and taking care of them must take their important job seriously. Staff who enjoy interacting with children, smile a lot and maybe enjoy telling a joke here and there are the ideal candidates. There’s no need to hire a professional comedian, of course, but, the important part here is humor, patience and understanding.
The family vacation starts as soon as guests enter your hotel. Owners know how important it is that staff members do their best to foster a friendly, warm environment and create a sense of security for family guests. Remember to always greet families with a smile and always help everyone feel welcome.
At the same time, the employees who are excellent at customer service will keep your other guests happy as well. All employees should accommodate special requests and take care to ensure every hotel guest has a comfortable, peaceful stay while they’re with you.
6. Welcome Family Pets
It’s a known fact: pets and families go together, even on vacation. Putting pet-friendly policies in place and inviting families to bring their furry friends along with them will help you stand out from other family-friendly hotels.
The Westin Los Angeles Airport hotel allows guests to bring their pets free of charge. The four-legged family members are also provided a complimentary bed to sleep in during the duration of their stay. Operating as a family-friendly hotel means everyone gets a comfortable spot to sleep—even pets.
Just like managing any pet-friendly property, there are a few considerations to make before you roll out the (fur-covered) welcome mat. There may be additional cleaning concerns, and it’s important to consider guests with allergies. You may want to designate one section (like a single floor) of your hotel with pet-friendly rooms and keep another section pet free. Attitudes about pets have shifted over the last few decades, and welcoming four-legged guests is becoming the norm rather than the exception.
When managing a successful family-friendly hotel, it’s important to remember the types of guests you’re servicing. Families require different types of amenities and policies to best fit their needs. The best family-friendly hotels understand the wants of their customers and offer fun activities for every guest from parents to teenagers to toddlers. Consider incorporating a few of these family-friendly hotel tips to help you attract more guests to your business!