Families with children represent a growing and lucrative market for luxury hotels and with schools breaking up for half term, it is a timely reminder to check that your property and the service you provide are catering for guests of all ages.
Parents shouldn’t have to give up the luxuries associated with a hotel stay – like cooked meals, fresh towels and a tidy bathroom – when they have children and some very small tweaks can go a very long way to ensuring the whole clan have a fabulous time.
A hotel that provides an environment that is welcoming to children while also keeping mum and dad happy with the luxury holiday that they had become accustomed to pre-kids, will keep guests coming back every summer… and half term…. and Easter!
Remember too, ensuring guests are happy – whatever their age – will help prompt a glowing review.
Here, we offer our top tips for welcoming and accommodating families to your hotel.
- Make it loud and clear. If a guest is planning on bringing their family with them they will be looking for clear signs that your hotel will welcome them and provide the facilities they need, so highlight this on your website and shout about the special services you provide for children in any marketing material. Build a special section on your website detailing the family-friendly facilities and services you provide and remember to check for special requirements, such as the need for a cot and a highchair, at the booking stage. Small children, in particular, need a surprising amount of stuff, so if you can lighten a parent’s load they will love you for it.
- Is it age appropriate? You may think all children are the same, but a toddler and a tween will have very different needs and tastes. Be mindful of checking the ages of children at the point of booking to ensure you pitch your provisions appropriately. Mini-guests may delight in finding books for bedtime reading in their room, so knowing their age will determine whether they’ll be more interested in diving into a copy of Harry Potter than The Very Hungry Caterpillar.
- Cater for kids at check-in. The reception desk is often a guest’s first point of contact when they enter your hotel, so what happens here can determine how they will view their stay with you. Providing a welcome gift or activity pack and snack to children on arrival not only shows that you are thinking about your smaller guests, but your bigger ones too: Keeping the young ones occupied at check-in helps parents focus on important details revealed by the receptionist, such as the location and times for breakfast. As we mentioned before, ensure any gifts are age-appropriate by checking these details at booking.
- Have you got the room right? The bedroom is the bread and butter of any stay, so it’s imperative hoteliers get it right for their guests. If you offer a family room, consider appropriate bed arrangements for the size of the party. A double and two singles may be more suitable than two doubles or a double and double sofa bed. Dividing walls can offer privacy within a room, but still allow parents to keep an eye on their offspring. If you offer inter-connecting rooms, check that access between the two is easy and that doors aren’t locked. Providing fridges to keep milk cool and ensuring children’s channels are available on the in-room TV will all be welcome touches.
- Ensure F&B is family-friendly. If your on-site restaurant is a tasty addition to your hotel, ensure it caters well for children as well as adults. Offering half portions of adult meals rather than the standard and unadventurous options of nuggets, burgers and pasta, will impress mini-gourmets and their accompanying adult diners. At bedtime, why not offer milk and cookies to younger guests, with personalised cookies a sure-fire way to show how much you value them.
Think about the other guests. While families are an important part of your business, so too are guests travelling without any off-spring. Make it easy for parents to respect the needs of other adult guests by making it clear which areas, if any, are off-limits to children. If you have a spa and swimming pool, set family-only times so families can relax knowing they are not disturbing other guests and consider opening your restaurant an hour earlier so children can finish their meal before others descend on the dining room seeking a quiet dinner.