Mr. Rosenberger

Family Travel

Designing the Perfect Family Package

By Matthew Rosenberger, Consultant & Publisher, ABC Travel Guides for Kids

Cookies upon arrival won't do it. A bag of "stuff" - not good enough. Tickets to attractions that may not be of interest to your guests (or might be dependent on the weather) is not the answer. So what is necessary to create a perfect family package that will attract customers and keep them coming back again and again? Well... it doesn't require an advanced degree to understand that families look for a package that combines activities and amenities that are both educational and entertaining for themselves and their kids. The bag of "stuff" provides 20 minutes of activity at best and an "unhealthy" snack at check in might have a negative impact on parents who are encouraging healthy diets and lifestyles for their kids. This article will provide you with the information and insights you need to create the perfect family package. It will highlight what The Hyatt Harborside at Boston's Logan Airport has done to create a great family package.

Today competition is fierce for the booming family travel business and parents and their children are very sophisticated. Traditional methods are not enough. Additional steps must be taken to attract and keep your portion of the family travel business. Attention and respect are the cornerstones of good customer service directed toward family travelers.

It all begins when your hotel guests arrive. While the parents check-in the kids should be introduced and "check-in" with the hotel concierge. This will, from the start, make all members of the family feel welcome and respected and it won't cost the hotel a dime. It will also create a memory for the kids that they will never forget. First of all, the very word "concierge" commands respect, it's French and it's fancy! It will be a new word for most children and an exciting introduction to the hotel. Secondly, the concierge knows all the best stuff there is to know about the hotel and nearby attractions, restaurants and playgrounds. This introduction teaches the kids that they have an ally in the hotel - someone they can reach out to for information and advice - powerful stuff.

Along with that introduction, at a minimum, the kids should be given an information sheet prominently featuring the hotel name and logo along with some of the top rated attractions and "things to do" during their visit. The concierge should not just hand the information over but should enthusiastically identify some of the region's "best kept secrets" and more "kid friendly spots".

Stephanie Buccella, Marketing/Public Relations Manager of the Hyatt Harborside at Boston's Logan International Airport has implemented some of these strategies and has seen the benefits. She tells me that "along with the promise of a memorable and fun experience for all, we want to incorporate things unique to Boston and our location." Stephanie's got it right. The perfect family package creates an unforgettable link of your hotel brand and the top rated family attractions in your location, starting with the concierge introduction.

But the Hyatt Harborside does something above and beyond the distribution of an "information sheet". The hotel recognizes that "for kids it appears especially important to have something to take with them once the trip is over to remind them of their adventures". To accomplish this need, the hotel distributes a customized book and map about Boston that has been specifically created for it's youngest guests. The book features the hotel on the front and back covers of the book and Boston's best family attractions inside the book. The book combines the key elements Stephanie said her hotel wants to emphasize, the "uniqueness of Boston" and the "hotel's commitment to families". It is an ideal souvenir, combining both educational and entertainment information for the whole family. This ideal guide is primarily visual so that it engages the youngest travelers with colorful images of the hotel and the region's best attractions as well as older children with fun facts and a customized map. The book and map can be an integral part of a scavenger hunt package created by the brilliant and creative minds of most hotel marketing departments. The hotel could award a certificate to the young travelers upon their departure for completing the scavenger hunt. The possibilities are endless because the book is a catalyst for creativity. Stephanie has confirmed that her guests have responded well to the books. The good will and value to the hotel is much greater then a stuffed animal or bag full of "stuff" because the book is a souvenir that will survive the trip. The hotel staff is proud of the fact that it is distributing an educational and useful souvenir.

The last element to designing the perfect family package is perhaps the most important: was the family package all-inclusive and it did it offer the perception of great value? Sometimes it really is all about the Benjamins. The package must be structured so that all costs are inclusive. There should be no additional charges for parking, breakfast, movies, rollaway cot, refrigerator or the pool. Think outside of the box and incorporate an unlimited movie element to the package, and complimentary beverages and snacks. The checkout statement should be short, sweet and clean. No itemized laundry list checkout statement here, it has all been built into the pricing of the package. Take the time to price and market the family package accordingly. Anticipate a savvy family travel planner or two is among the group and blow them away by thinking of everything on their checklist. Give them the perception of great value.

So how do the current family packages at your hotel stack up? What formula are you implementing to solicit feedback from your guests? Are your customers must receiving and completing comment cards regarding their visit and the package. If you need to create an incentive for completion of the card, are you offering $5.00 off the bill for returning the comment card? Have you created a comment card with specific questions regarding the family package to gauge ROI on the package. How about a questionnaire designed specifically to illicit feedback from the kids? How did being introduced to the concierge make them feel? What was their favorite part of their trip? What was there favorite part of the hotel? Ask them how they liked the book and whether they found it useful. Create incentive for the kids to answer like providing them with an "official" hotel logo sticker. The answers to a couple of simple questions addressed to the family members who came to the hotel because of the family package will let you know whether they will be back and whether they will recommend your hotel to other families. Don't forget to send a follow up letter or email thanking them for their visit and completion of the card.

The Hyatt Harborside EXPLORE Family Getaway Package is a great package. It offers overnight accommodations in newly renovated guestrooms, breakfast vouchers, Aquarium and water taxi tickets, stuffed lobster toys, a customized book about Boston for kids, and cookies and milk. All the necessary elements: attention, respect, the perception of great value and a fantastic souvenir book are there! As soon as Stephanie replaces the cookies with a healthy treat she will have created the perfect family package.

Matthew G. Rosenberger is a family travel consultant and publisher who works with hotels that want to be recognized as the most family friendly in their region. He is publisher of ABC City Guides for Kids, an all-in-one alphabet book, activity guide and souvenir. The books are customized by hotels and resorts to feature their images, logo and address on the book's front and back covers. Mr. Rosenberger also promotes his selection of family friendly hotels at his website and family travel related assignments through his "We Love Kids" and "TOP FIVE" pick selections. Mr. Rosenberger can be contacted at 215-242-4011 or mgr@kidstravelguides.com Extended Bio...

HotelExecutive.com retains the copyright to the articles published in the Hotel Business Review. Articles cannot be republished without prior written consent by HotelExecutive.com.

Receive our daily newsletter with the latest breaking news and hotel management best practices.
Hotel Business Review on Facebook
RESOURCE CENTER - SEARCH ARCHIVES
General Search:

JULY: Hotel Spa: Measuring the Results

Bryan Green

A tremendous opportunity exists today for hotels and resorts to once again raise the bar and incorporate experiences crafted around trends that are presently driving the fitness industry. Today’s best operators know that the lines between the commercial health club offering and the hospitality based fitness center are becoming increasingly blurred. In the world of fitness, two significant trends are driving the landscape by which new facilities are born, and existing spaces re-imagined: Functional Training & Technology. Together, these two factors are powering the emergence of socially driven exercise and virtually guided training sessions that are shaking the landscape of nearly every aspect of the fitness industry. READ MORE

Martin Kipping

At Viceroy Zihuatanejo, in 2015, I began forming a new vision for our resort spa to help guests achieve true wellness. I knew we needed to offer much more than just providing traditional spa treatments and services because achieving true wellness would require a resilient attitude and rejuvenating lifestyle to help balance our guests’ physical, mental and spiritual energy. In other words, true wellness encompasses an on-going vibrant, stress-reducing way of living that leads to happiness and contentment. I also realized that just dispensing healthy facts would not necessarily lead guests to adopt healthier, wellness-oriented lifestyles. Instead, guests seeking wellness would need to feel inspired and empowered as well as being educated. READ MORE

David  Stoup

Properly operated hotel spas provide an owner the opportunity to boost property profits while driving additional value through the implementation of robust Social Media and Public Relations programming, and the sale of incremental, attractive room packages. The question is: are you providing your spa with the support and experience necessary to achieve these objectives? Unfortunately, it is all too common for Hotel Spas to be under-performing in some, if not all, the above categories. If that is the case, a spa asset manager may be a worthwhile investment for your property. READ MORE

Mia Kyricos

Travel and tourism remains one of the world’s largest industries, representing over 10% of global GDP and forecasted to grow 3.7% in 20179.(1) Wellness Tourism, or travel associated with the pursuit of maintaining or enhancing one’s personal wellbeing, is growing twice as fast as the overall sector, and exists at nearly a $600 billion global enterprise.(2) In her annual contribution to the Hotel Business Review, Mia Kyricos, an expert in wellness-driven hospitality, gives us the status of the wellness tourism industry as we know it today, as well as a glimpse of what new opportunities exist on the horizon. READ MORE

Coming Up In The August Online Hotel Business Review




{300x250.media}
Feature Focus
Food & Beverage: Multiplicity and Diversity are Key
The challenge for hotel food and beverage operations is to serve the personal tastes and needs of an increasingly diverse population and, at the same time, to keep up with ever-evolving industry trends. In order to accomplish this, restaurateurs and hoteliers have to flex their creative muscles and pull out all the stops to satisfy their various audiences. One way to achieve this is to utilize existing food spaces in multiple ways at different times of the day. Lunch can be casual and fast, while dinnertime can be more formal and slower paced. The same restaurant can offer counter service by day but provide table service by night, with a completely different menu and atmosphere. Changes in music, lighting, uniforms and tabletop design contribute to its transformation. This multi- purpose approach seeks to meet the dining needs of guests as they change throughout the day. Today’s restaurants also have to go to great lengths to fulfill all the diverse dietary preferences of their guests. The popularity of plant-based, paleo, vegan, and gluten and allergen-free diets means that traditional menus must evolve from protein-heavy, carb-loaded offerings to those featuring more vegetables and legumes. Chefs are doing creative things with vegetables, such as experimenting with global cuisines or incorporating new vegetable hybrids into their dishes. Another trend is an emphasis on bold and creative flavors. From chili oil to sriracha to spicy maple syrup, entrees, desserts and beverages are all being enhanced with spice and heat. The August issue of the Hotel Business Review will document the trends and challenges in the food and beverage sector, and report on what some leading hotels are doing to enhance this area of their business.