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Beyond the playground: what families with children look for in hotels

Planning a trip can be a pleasant task. But it requires time to research what to visit, what to eat and, most importantly, where to stay. When the tour includes children, planning is even more challenging, as you need an itinerary that is accessible and fun for little ones. Therefore, devising different activities and considering the needs of each child becomes essential in planning.

Hotels must be prepared to receive these families. This is because family travelers – those with children or grandchildren – prefer destinations with activities and safety for the whole family (95%), and at lower prices (89%), according to a 2019 Phocuswright Europe survey. Respondents said, Furthermore, places with outdoor activities (85%) are among the priorities.

Welcoming family travelers is an opportunity to stand out from the competition. In addition to building loyalty among the family who stayed at the establishment, spontaneous recommendations – word of mouth – also become an important weapon. It is common for parents or guardians to share the experience with co-workers, friends, other family members and in groups of parents at schools that have children the same age as theirs.

Food

Typically, those traveling with children prefer to do outside activities during the day. So, offering food options at the hotel itself, especially at dinner time, makes a difference. If you don't have your own restaurant, have tips on nearby places where children are welcome – the minimum is that you have a highchair available.

If the establishment has a restaurant nearby or only offers breakfast, it is important to include foods designed for children, such as cereals, fruits and soft breads. On the menu, the suggestion is to offer the kids menu, whose portions are smaller and the food is lighter, with less fried food and strong seasonings, such as pepper. In the restaurant area, don't forget to have cutlery and high chairs.

Thinking about parents with young children, it is ideal to provide a mini pantry or kitchen that can be used at any time – that is, of course, if the accommodation does not include this type of space – to prepare a bottle and other food for the child. A refrigerator and microwave are the bare minimum, but there may also be a stove and some food, such as fruit and milk.

Amenities

The hotel that wants to be attractive to family travelers must remember children of all ages. Therefore, in addition to offering the option of an extra bed, it is necessary to offer cribs, extra towels, baby bathtubs, changing tables, especially in the bathrooms in common areas; minibar and bottle warmer or microwave, if the establishment does not have a mini pantry or kitchen available.

Another recommendation is to screen the windows of bedrooms and bathrooms to avoid accidents. To ensure convenience, it is interesting to offer baby strollers for trips around the city and, of course, always be available for emergencies – offering clean sheets in case of bed-wetting and thermometers, properly sanitized, in case of fever, for example.

Entertainment

As stated above, family travelers prioritize destinations with outdoor activities. To ensure everyone's safety and convenience for parents, the suggestion is to offer recreational activities with qualified professionals. It is worth reviving games considered old, such as tag, dodgeball and treasure hunts, or creating areas for immersive activities, for example, a vegetable garden.

In the case of farm hotels, contact with the animals can be offered, as long as it is supervised by a professional. Here, the alternatives depend on which animals live at the hotel, but horse riding or feeding rabbits are fun ideas. In an era where sustainability is increasingly valued, it is important to teach children about the importance of preservation and respect for nature, animals and biodiversity.

Don't forget that if you have a swimming pool, a lifeguard must always be on hand. And of course, to welcome children, it is essential to have a children's pool. The space is also suitable for group recreational activities so that they can be entertained without disturbing adults who wish to relax in the pool area.

On rainy days or at night, it is possible to promote activities such as cinema, dance classes, cooking workshops and storytelling circles. Taking advantage of special dates, such as Carnival and Children's Day, to develop themed activities attracts the attention of little ones and is an opportunity to create special packages for families.

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