Are you doing enough to attract families to your hotel? How can you promote your hotel to stand out from the noise on the Web and be a real family-friendly contender? We recently blogged about how to attract more guests to your hotel in general, but there are some specifics strategies you can do geared toward families. Don’t worry if you don’t have a water slide or themed guest rooms; there’s a lot you can do to attract families and boost their experiences when they stay with you to keep them coming back.
Here are our top 10 ideas for attracting more families to your hotel:
1. Gear Your Website to Families
The most important thing in attracting families to your property is to focus on your website as it is your storefront window to the world. If you want to attract families, make sure your family-friendly amenities are on display. In today’s online world, most guests plan their trips online so this is very important.
>> Display family packages or discounts.
>> Clearly highlight your family-friendly amenities and nearby recreational attractions.
>> Ensure your website is mobile optimized for use on any device, from desktop computers to iPhones. Your potential guests could be scouring the Internet for hotels on their phone while on the sidelines at soccer practice.
2. Leverage Your Family Fun Wow Factor
Identify what it is that you have that families may find attractive and call attention to it. Don’t overlook the details as it is the details that can make you stand out from the competition. This is a lot easier if you have a kids’ club or a Chuck E. Cheese restaurant on site – but it’s not essential. It’s more about how you can implement small changes and use the amenities you already have to leverage yourself as family friendly. And then put these factors on your website (see point #1).
>> Where are you located? Highlight nearby attractions, recreational centers, natural areas, family restaurants.
>> Identify what it is that you have that families may find attractive and call attention to it. Don’t overlook the details as it is the details that can make you stand out from the competition. This is a lot easier if you have a kids’ club or a Chuck E. Cheese restaurant on site – but it’s not essential. It’s more about how you can implement small changes and use the amenities you already have to leverage yourself as family friendly. And then put these factors on your website (see point #1).
>> What on-site services can you provide families? Maybe you have knowledgeable front desk staff and/or concierge that can help families plan their day or on-site kid activities such as an afternoon story and snack time.
3. Form Local Family-Friendly Partnerships
Form partnerships with local attractions, CVB and restaurants in order to offer coupons and value-added packages. Value-added packages can also boost occupancy by attracting families on a budget.
4. Guest Folios for Families
Using a property management system is a great way to streamline your front- and back-end operations. WebRezPro offers a helpful guest folio feature that allows you to collect and store information from your guests at the time of booking. Finding out the age of children in advance can prepare you for making suggestions on where to visit or to equip them with age-appropriate activity packs upon arrival. The guest folio is also the perfect place to record essential information about families with special requests or allergies and pop-up alarms can be set to display upon check in.
5. Family First Customer Service
As a hotelier, it is no news to you that in the hospitality business, customer service is key. It’s important to remember this when it comes to attracting families and there are several instances where it particularly plays a role:
>> Booking: along with online bookings on your website with family-friendly packages or amenities highlighted, ensure your staff are prepared to field live calls from moms who want to ensure their children’s allergies will be accommodated for or dads who want more information about babysitting services or your on-site kids’ club.
>> Train your staff how to interact with families and children during their stay and to anticipate their needs. This ranges from providing timely service in your restaurant to offering additional towels to a family dripping in the elevator returning from the pool.
>> Ensure your concierge and front desk staff are fully schooled on nearby family-friendly amenities.
On one hand, customer service plays a role at the time of booking. On the other hand, customer service is key in bringing families back to your property.
6. Family Feedback
It’s important to check in with your guests before, during and after their stay. Send pre-stay emails to welcome your guests, talk to your guests during their stay to ensure they are having a pleasant experience, and send post-stay emails to receive valuable feedback. WebRezPro directly integrates with online reputation management solutions to automatically send post-stay surveys to find out what families really think. In this way, you can find out what factors are really important to families visiting your region.
7. Don’t Forget to Share – Online Reviews
Encourage your guests to share their positive experiences via online hotel reviews on sites like TripAdvisor, which are hugely influential to potential guests. This can be mentioned in person or in post-stay emails whereby you can include links to where you can be found on popular review sites. Speaking of review sites, take the opportunity to highlight your property as a family-friendly one, as kindly suggested by TripAdvisor. And don’t forget to use social media tools to track what is being said about you online and then respond appropriately.
8. Offer Kid-centric Activities
We recently blogged about offering personalized stays for guest retention and this comes into play when marketing yourself toward families as well. A recent trend involves offering kid-centric activities, for example: the Four Seasons Hotel Boston invites guests’ children to raid the kitchen fridge on Saturday nights; Inn of the Anasazi Santa Fe offers kid cooking classes; and the Fairmont Lake Louise has a Pajama Party that includes a movie, crafts and rock climbing. These are all activities that can be implemented without major investments. While it is great to offer kid-centric activities, don’t forget the moms and dads as packages and activities that include fun for the whole family are also popular.
9. Bring the Grandparents with Group Bookings
WebRezPro offers a group bookings feature that makes it easy to book multiple rooms at once on one reservation. Why is this important in attracting families? Consider families traveling with multiple generations that want to stay in separate rooms but want to book together. Properties with special event space may also want to market themselves to the family reunion sector.
10. Family Feud – Check Your Competition
Retain your competitive edge by watching what your competitors are offering and don’t give families reason to go anywhere else but your property. Remain competitive with packages and amenities, but remember it is also how you market yourself that can help you come out on top. You may have the same offerings as your competitors, but if you are more effective in highlighting your features you are in it for the win.