6 Ways to Prepare Your Hotel for Summer Vacation
With summer in full swing, families across the country are packing their bags for vacation. It’s time to prepare your hotel for the increase in young travelers that occurs during this time of year. Although some hotels specialize in catering to children and families, there are a few small steps that any hotel can take to keep this particular group of guests happy. Here are a few of our favorite suggestions:
Amenities and Requests
Families tend to make certain requests more often than other guests. Make sure you have an efficient method for processing and fulfilling guest requests, because sometimes an extra ten-minute wait can result in an hour-long temper tantrum. Ensure that you have enough bedding and towels at the ready, as well as cots and cribs for those families bunking together in one room. Many families appreciate an in-room mini fridge–or at least the option to have one delivered if it does not come standard with rooms. Traveling with children means snacking, and busy parents don’t want to run out every five minutes to get milk or juice boxes. Additionally, with more and more children using their own devices to stream content, a speedy wifi connection can make all the difference. For more information on what families want, here’s a checklist for creating family-friendly rooms from Tripadvisor.
Knowing that you’ll have an influx of families, it’s important that staff is prepared to give them the resources they need to explore their destination. Make sure your concierge and front office are well-versed in the best attractions in the area for children. They should have a wide variety of options on hand, catered to different ages and interests (for example, a children’s museum for elementary-aged guests, a highly-instagrammable restaurant for teens, or a free concert that the whole family can enjoy). Ensure that you have family-friendly dining recommendations at the ready, as well as the names of reputable babysitting agencies or childcare services for parents who want a night off.
Every dollar counts for young families, so it’s much appreciated when your hotel can help them by providing great value during their stays. Something that is of relatively little monetary cost to you can create significant value for them, and it’s deals like this that breed loyalty. Food and beverage can be important tools, and special offers can even convince guests to dine at the hotel restaurant when they would have otherwise eaten elsewhere. Try offering extras like a free breakfast or dessert for children, or even something smaller like free refills on soft drinks. As a bonus, keep guests informed about deals outside the hotel, which will save them money at no extra cost to you. Have the concierge reach out to local businesses that are willing to offer coupons or incentives for families in exchange for the hotel’s recommendation.
Spread the Word
Parents don’t just show up at a hotel and hope for the best. They plan carefully, doing their research to make sure that your hotel will be a good fit for themselves and their children. Nowadays, most of this research is done online. This is a great opportunity, so make sure your website advertises any special deals you have for families and include some photos of young children enjoying your hotel on social media. Social media and online reviews are the new word of mouth, with more than three-quarters of travelers checking online reviews before booking. This makes it crucial to focus on providing families with the best possible experience, so that they can share it with the world and draw even more guests to your hotel.
Perks and Activities
A little bit can go a long way when making families’ stays as fun-filled and relaxed as possible. Try handing out branded coloring books or other activities for long waits at reception. This keeps bored kids entertained and saves tired parents from potential meltdowns. Some hotels are even handing out complimentary milk and cookies, a meaningful gesture that can ease fussiness and provide the comforts of home after a long day. There are many other ways to take your offerings up a notch. If your hotel has a lawn or rooftop, consider the possibility of lawn games like Cornhole or Bocce, loved by kids and adults of all ages. If regulations allow, an outdoor bonfire can also set the mood for some serious summer fun and an unforgettable vacation.
Train Your Staff to be Family-Friendly
Traveling with children isn’t easy. What matters most to stressed parents is that they feel heard and cared for throughout their stay, and that requires the best customer service in the business. Devote part of staff training to the needs of this specific group of travelers. It’s true that younger guests can create more work for your staff with special requests, restricted diets, and extra housekeeping, but this doesn’t mean that they shouldn’t be treated with the same courtesy given to other guests. After all, the right attitude from staff can solidify your hotel’s reputation and keep guests coming back year after year. It’s important to create a positive impression on even the youngest of guests–this could be the start of a lifelong relationship with your hotel.