An Overview of Existing Kids Clubs, Camps and Programs
By Matthew Rosenberger Consultant & Publisher, ABC Travel Guides for Kids | January 16, 2011
When planning a family vacation, most families pick and choose a hotel based on the amenities and programs in place for families and their kids. Families are loyal and committed to brands that have proven themselves worthy of such affection by offering exceptional services and well designed family programs. This article will provide an overview of many well established initiatives taken by some of the largest names in the hospitality industry. It will also highlight exceptional steps taken by independently owned properties that are worth noting. Understanding the history of the family vacation through the family "road trip" of the 1950s highlights how far the industry has come in catering to families. Yet while modes of transportation and the costs of travel have changed dramatically since those first kids programs of the fifties, the industry still has a long way to go to improve the menu offerings for families and kids, as well understanding the importance of providing amenities that are cultural and educational and not just fun and entertaining. The time is now for you to seize the opportunity and to become a destination for families and earn your share of the lucrative family travel market. It's your turn to grab the bull by the horns and be a trailblazer in the industry and become recognized as a great choice for families visiting your region.
The Family Road Trip – Early Family Travel
Today families can thank Kemmons Wilson and his family for building family friendly lodgings at a rapid pace to meet the needs of the American family of the fifties. It was this successful Memphis businessman who during an 800 mile road trip from Memphis to Washington D.C. with his wife and family, recognized that the motor hotels along the way were not catering to the American family. Wilson wanted better quality control and reliability, more swimming pools, game rooms and other family amenities. He wanted more uniform and affordable accommodations for the American family. He saw a need and he seized the opportunity. He set lofty goals for himself promising he would build 450 motels and cover the entire country with family friendly affordable motels where children would stay for free! Well... it didn't happen overnight, but Kemmons company, Holiday Inn far exceeded Kemmons' initial goals and helped change the hospitality industry forever. With more family oriented options in place, thanks to Kemmons, more families took to the highways and the concept of the family road trip was alive and kicking. Thanks in large part to Wilson, the foundation for family travel was solid and strong (after all Kemmons was initially a construction man!) and the fifties was a period full of notable events including the growth of Hyatt, Marriott and Sheraton, and in 1955 with the completion of the Disneyland Hotel and The Plaza Hotel in New York City, where the fictional character Eloise became real!
Family Travel Today
Below is a summary of initiatives taken by some of the biggest names in the industry: