When asked how Omni Hotels came up with such successful offerings, Vice President of Corporate Communications, Caryn Kboudi, expressed, “we are all moms too. Many of us who work at Omni are parents, so more times than not, our best ideas are conceived by moms and dads. The saying goes, ‘when moms are happy, everybody’s happy.’ But only when kids are happy, are moms truly content.” Take recommendations from your colleagues who know what kids want and what they don’t want. Better yet, gather the most honest feedback of all – the children’s. – Cherryl Marie, Don’t Kid Around with Your Kids’ Programs | Hotel Interactive
I am always fascinated with how larger hotels solve minor problems or improve their services without adding much cost to their operation. A lot of the hotels Cherryl writes about would be fun to visit, especially now that I have a young daughter in my life. That being said, the article focuses entirely on older kids, ones who can do a lot of activities on their own or teenagers.
Seeing as how my daughter is under the age of three, my challenges with keeping her entertained are a bit different than an older kid. Sometimes, she can sit still for an activity, othertimes, she wants to run around and play. And, of course, eating is a whole different story.
Here are some ideas I hope to see implemented by more hotels as I start traveling with her more:
- Have a map at the Front Desk available for parents with a list of parks within a reasonable distance, beaches, swimming pools, or other centres that focus on kid activities (centres with ball pits, climbing walls, etc).
- If you happen to have a playground next to or close to the building, try to keep access to it clear of debris - not just for looks, but young children are infamous for picking up anything and trying to put it into their mouths.
- If possible, inform the parents which channels cater for children or youth so they can find them easily - Treehouse and YTV in Canada, Nickolodeon or Nick JR in the U.S.
- If there are events happening in your area that will be of interest to kids, let the parents know - parades, festivals, community celebrations, etc.
- If your property has a lot of kids coming through the door, maybe have a small play area for kids (a small table with crayons, colouring books) to help keep the kids entertained while the parents check into the hotel.
- Have playpens available and keep them clean on a regular basis.
- Have a few items on a restaurant menu that most kids will eat and keep them healthy (macaroni and cheese with cut up vegetables mixed in, spaghetti with lots of vegetables, mini hamburgers, sweet potato fries)
There are plenty of other things properties could do to cater to their younger guests, so feel free to share any additional ideas you have in the comments below.