According to the ‘Key Trends in Family Travel’ report by Global Data, family travel is predicted to increase by a huge 25% by 2022. Family-friendly hotels are a growing trend in the hospitality industry, and your hotels offerings and amenities need to reflect this. Implementing activities and perks specifically for kids and families is a great way to diversify and expand your customer base, but it doesn’t mean changing everything in your hotel to cater to them. There are both large and subtle changes you can make so that your hotel appeals to a range of families and having a mix and match of both of these will guarantee that you increase your sales and bring in a wider variety of customers.
Make sure your website is up to date and user friendly
We’ve had lots of changes in the way things operate since the pandemic began, especially when it comes to health and safety. Make sure you list your up-to-date safety precautions somewhere easy to find on your website – families are much more likely to make a decision once they have all the information they need in front of them.
The same thing applies for your family amenities too, make sure you provide information on everything you offer for families. This can include anything that keeps the kids happy and makes the parents’ lives a little easier! Some examples include:
A family outreach program including things like activity books, trading cards, coloring sheets
Family packages and discounts
In their post about boosting hotel sales in 2021 and beyond, Cvent mentions the importance of keeping your blog up to date too, “Start posting inspirational content about your hotel and destination to give travelers and planners ideas as they begin to travel and meet again. It’ll be good, too, for your SEO. You’ll show up in search results as people begin to research trips and source venues.”
Key take-away: Investing in families is key to growing your hospitality business
On average, Americans plan to spend $737 on their upcoming trip. Gen Xers will spend more than other age groups, and parents of kids under 18 plan to shell out more than $1,000 (Value Penguin)
83% of families will splurge on their travel destination when planning a vacation, 68% on paid attractions, 68% on staying close to their destination, 63% on eating out/food and 63% on the length of their trip (Condor Ferries)
62% of Millennial parents are traveling with kids under the age of 5 (Resonance Consultancy – D.K. Shifflet & Associates)
Identify what it is that makes you family-friendly
Defining your hotel is family-friendly is simple when you have a designated kids club in place. But what about hotels that don’t? What can you implement to leverage yourselves as a family-friendly option? In an article about making hotels more appealing to families, Webrezpro came up with a couple of things to consider:
Where are you located, and what’s nearby? Are there any recreational centers, family restaurants, or tourism attractions for the whole family? Make sure you mention this on your website and promotional content!
Do you offer any family-friendly services? Are your staff trained to interact with young kids and anticipate their needs? Can you provide babysitters? Good service is the key to gaining repeat customers, and it means that families will recommend your hotel to friends with kids too!
Hoteliga wrote a thought-provoking article about ways that hotels can better market to families, and they made an important point. Marketing hotel facilities to families isn’t necessarily about promoting “fun-filled” days, parents usually have ideas about how to take care of that themselves while on vacation. What’s important is gaining an awareness of the variety of challenges vacations and trips may present for families. Hotel marketing should reflect that leadership has considered the fact that families come in all shapes, sizes, and requirements.
In a post about ways hotels can be more family-friendly, eHotelier emphasized the importance of value-added packages for families. Partnerships with local amenities can help parents choose you over other competition, and they don’t have to cost a bomb either. Deals that include free entry to zoos, museums, theme parks or family meal deals with local restaurants can be super helpful for parents and in exchange you can offer your partners free advertising throughout your hotel!
Encourage guests to share about their experiences online
While parents are very likely to spread their positive experiences through word of mouth with friends and family members who also have kids, its important to build up a collection of positive reviews online too. TripAdvisor has released some super helpful information on how you can make your property page more attractive to families, including:
Add a description
Your description shouldn’t be a rush job, it needs to be well thought out and go beyond a general overview. Dedicate a paragraph to what your family offerings are, and make sure you include any awards or positive mentions in family magazines or travel websites.
Did you know you can customize the amenity icons bar for your property? You can strategically place the amenities that mean the most to families at the beginning, which will make sales from family customers increase significantly. This can include things like:
Make sure that the photos you upload speak to families. This is your chance to show off your amenities, if you have a swimming pool, beachfront area or playground make sure you have some good shots of them. You can also include photos here of any family outreach programs or kids’ clubs. These photos don’t need to be professional, but this can definitely help!
Finally, remember to respond to reviews
Responding to both positive and negative reviews on your page shows that you are constantly learning and open to feedback, something that is super important. It’s especially important to respond to any reviews regarding family amenities.
Key take-away: Be specific when communicating entertainment value!
95% of families surveyed say that their number one priority when selecting a destination is to find a place where everyone will be happy and entertained.
More so, from these traveling families, about 70% of them look for children-specific amenities especially.
30% of families will spend between $2000 and $5000 on their travels.
Analyze your competition
Hotel News Resource released a helpful step-by-step guide on how hotels can perform competition analysis. Competition analysis is the evaluation of other hotels’ services and products, and when done correctly it can help you to boost sales and make positive changes to your hotel that will contribute to business growth.
By performing a competitor analysis audit, you’ll get a clearer picture of what you’re up against and identify the strengths and weaknesses of other competitor hotels. This can help you come up with new ideas for providing a family-friendly experience, and also save you from wasting time on inefficient strategies. Some questions you can ask yourself are:
What are other hotels doing that you aren’t?
What are their pitfalls?
What can you learn from them?
Look at their online reviews from parents. What can you do better to be considered a family-friendly option for travel?
Cater to each member of the family
Kids of different ages have different needs – what a 2-year-old enjoys will not be the same as a 9-year-old. Ensuring you have amenities in place to suit all members of the family will make for some very happy customers. And don’t forget the parents!
For kids aged 3 and under, you can provide items on request such as changing mats, bottle warmers, and baby essentials such as diapers and wipes as part of the hotel’s toiletries pack. Make sure you say on the website that you can provide these extras too!
Offering things like coloring sheets, activity books, trading cards or other creative activities will keep kids aged 4 to 10 busy.
Older kids and teenagers love things like console game hire, under-18 social spaces or movie lounges. This gives them the opportunity to make new friends and spend time away from the grown-ups.
Parents benefit from creche and babysitting services, meaning they get to take time out and enjoy some relaxing time while on vacation too!
77% of parent respondents have traveled with their children in the past three years, and 70% are planning to travel with their children in the coming three years. The average annual spending on family travel across parent respondents was $3,835. The median amount was $2,435. (NYU)
Optimizing your family package promotion
Xotels wrote an insightful article on making hotels more family-friendly, and one of the topics they covered was optimizing your family package promotion. Families usually book their vacations in advance to coincide with kids’ time off school, and if you take this into consideration you can strategically promote your family packages. Some of Xotels suggestions include:
Sending quarterly newsletters to guests detailing upcoming packages they can’t miss out on. You can attract early bookings here by offering special deals.
Partner with bloggers and online publications that write about family activities for your geographical area. Parents are often very receptive to recommendations from recognized sources. Many online family publications and social media accounts have enormous influence with parents.
About the authors
Kidzsmart Communications: We believe your content should be more than just another colouring book. Kidzsmart is your spokesperson to modern families, and we’re dedicated to contributing to the greater well being of kids.
For over 20 years we’ve worked with government, healthcare, and education sectors as well as global brands in the restaurant and hospitality, tourism and professional sports industries. Our team has the expertise to expand your family outreach, and we have the tools to do it right. Top of feed means top of mind, and we’re dedicated to creating great family content that counts!