Designing the Perfect Family Package

By Matthew Rosenberger Consultant & Publisher, ABC Travel Guides for Kids | October 28, 2008

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.

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