Creating a Family-Friendly Environment

The Hotel Executive's Priority Mission

By Lewis Fein CEO, Lewis Fein Communications | August 02, 2015

Hoteliers seek to win our business with bigger and better rooms, and more points of attraction, including the ongoing transformation of these properties into theme parks that also happen to offer lodgings, fresh towels and a Sunday brunch buffet. Lost in these seemingly never-ending hallways, and sedated by that particular combination of Muzak and the sound of fountain systems, a chlorinated scent infuses many a hotel lobby where tired travelers arrive seeking rest . . . and family-friendly fun.

The latter is, increasingly, a misnomer because, when we bow our heads and walk like our pre-evolved ancestors, when we become prisoners of our handheld devices and lose ourselves in the glow of these incandescent screens, there is nothing family-friendly about that exercise. If, on the other hand, parents want to silence their children – if they prefer peace instead of bonding – then they can let their sons and daughters tap, touch and swipe those screens until each child reaches exhaustion.

There is an easier and more interactive way to lower the volume without suppressing the chance to have a meaningful conversation. There is a way in our hyper-connected world to, if not turn off and tune out, at least rise up and speak; to ask and answer questions about our respective interests, hobbies, and favorite pastimes and personal pursuits, to reveal ourselves – and learn about one another – without a forced sense of obligation or the need to make meaningless small talk.

This investment in family-friendly fun is the analog equivalent of creating a grand arcade of vintage pinball machines, foosball tables and a neon jukebox loaded with vinyl records. And yet, enticing though those things are, and in spite of their beautiful simplicity, hotel executives do not have to summon the power of nostalgia to win the hearts and minds of today's children.

They, the men and women at the forefront of the hospitality industry, need only look at the numbers – they need only see the consistent increase in sales – to find the answer for family-friendly fun: Board games.

Take, for instance, the story of Eric Poses, the Founder of All Things Equal, Inc., makers of Loaded Questions® and a series of other commercially successful games for creative minds. Those games, made with pride in the USA, are a social medium for socializing among individuals, couples, parents, families and people of all ages.

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Coming up in June 2019...

Sales & Marketing: Selling Experiences

There are innumerable strategies that Hotel Sales and Marketing Directors employ to find, engage and entice guests to their property, and those strategies are constantly evolving. A breakthrough technology, pioneering platform, or even a simple algorithm update can cause new trends to emerge and upend the best laid plans. Sales and marketing departments must remain agile so they can adapt to the ever changing digital landscape. As an example, the popularity of virtual reality is on the rise, as 360 interactive technologies become more mainstream. Chatbots and artificial intelligence are also poised to become the next big things, as they take guest personalization to a whole new level. But one sales and marketing trend that is currently resulting in major benefits for hotels is experiential marketing - the effort to deliver an experience to potential guests. Mainly this is accomplished through the creative use of video and images, and by utilizing what has become known as User Generated Content. By sharing actual personal content (videos and pictures) from satisfied guests who have experienced the delights of a property, prospective guests can more easily imagine themselves having the same experience. Similarly, Hotel Generated Content is equally important. Hotels are more than beds and effective video presentations can tell a compelling story - a story about what makes the hotel appealing and unique. A video walk-through of rooms is essential, as are video tours in different areas of a hotel. The goal is to highlight what makes the property exceptional, but also to show real people having real fun - an experience that prospective guests can have too. The June Hotel Business Review will report on some of these issues and strategies, and examine how some sales and marketing professionals are integrating them into their operations.