Whether or not you have your own children, you’ve likely experienced (first-hand or from your friends) just how tricky and tiring it can be to plan trips as a family. The family travel industry is a huge potential market for vacation rental hosts – US families already spend over $150 billion per year on travel. That’s why it’s no surprise that property owners are trying harder than ever to attract families with their marketing activities.
According to the 2018 NYU Family Travel Survey, summer remains the most popular time to travel for families. That said, winter and mid-winter breaks are increasingly beginning to appeal to families wanting to travel with their kids. The same survey shows a whopping 79% of US consumers are likely to go on vacation with their children, yet Mastercard found that almost 90% feel stressed about organizing family trips. The research also shows that parents with children aged up to five years old were most likely to select child-friendly family travel options. The most popular vacation types for US families are visiting friends and family, theme parks and beach vacations.
When it comes to vacationing with little ones, families will most likely to choose a place where everyone can feel at home, relax and have fun. But their top priority will always be security.
In order to appeal to families and avoid any unwelcome surprises, negative reviews or angry calls, make sure you provide everything they could need in terms of security – then add some little extras for optimum comfort.
In this article, not only will you discover parents’ requirements for traveling, but also their main preoccupations when it comes to children’s security, amenities, baby care facilities and comfort.
Kid-friendly vacation rentals: Family’s needs
When traveling as a family unit, there are a lot of elements to take into consideration. Before you think about transforming your home into a child-proof vacation rental, be sure to bear these things in mind.
First of all, you need to put yourself into a parent’s shoes. What would you need if you were going away with children in tow? How would these needs change if they are babies, toddlers or even teens? In all cases, a successful trip will always involve a comfy place to relax, eat and sleep.
However, stressed-out parents will find it difficult to enjoy their vacations. That’s why your property should provide all the creature comforts that matter so much to families – especially ones that hotels often can’t provide.
But, why do parents feel so stressed when planning their family vacations?
Family travel can be expensive and finding affordable options can be a challenge, especially for larger families.
They have concerns about their children’s safety when away from home.
Air travel can be a lot of hassle with babies and toddlers.
There is a lack of reliable and comprehensive information on travel options and prices for families.
There is a lack of accessible travel options for families with an adult or child who has a disability.
As a result, you have to convince potential guests that your vacation rental provides more value and amenities than booking a hotel. While statistics show that more than half of US millennial travelers prefer traditional hotels, recent figures from Booking.com prove that the vacation rental industry is on an upward curve that shows no signs of slowing down.
So, on your website, highlight the fact that you offer ample personal space and a unique guest experience, complete with total comfort for families at your vacation rental. If your vacation rental is accessible, it could provide a clear advantage for parents of disabled children or even those who want to bring seniors or elderly grandparents along. Inform your guests of this convenient factor and be sure to provide them with all necessary security information and instructions.
Each vacation rental is different and offers different choices, themes, amenities and guest experiences. You could underline the fact that your property’s features are totally adapted to their needs and will make them feel like home. For instance, having a big fridge suitable for the whole family. Parents will love having space to stock their children’s favorite food and snacks, as well as a private, full kitchen to prepare healthy meals for all the family.
In addition, some families prefer to travel with another family or with friends. So, if your place is large enough to accommodate multiple groups where parents can enjoy a relaxing evening together while the kids enjoy a good night’s sleep – make it known!
As shown in the table above, there are many factors which parents regard as important when making their decision on where to stay during a family vacation.
In a nutshell, to attract these guests, don’t forget to clearly outline all of the benefits of your vacation rental. This may be unbeatable living space, a unique guest experience, adapted amenities or any other features that make your property suitable for families.
Kid-Friendly Vacation Rentals: safety tips
When it comes to going on vacation with their little ones, parents need total peace of mind that their safety and security won’t be compromised at any time.
Not only does this mean making adequate preparations before setting off on their trip, but it also means choosing a property that they already know is baby-proof. Here are just some suggestions for making your home a more child-friendly destination.
Remove fragile and sharp objects
As you probably already know, children are often very curious, hyperactive and love to touch anything and everything. So, pay attention to any fragile, valuable or sharp objects in your vacation rental – and remove them if necessary. Be sure to protect and store breakable or potentially dangerous items such as glass or crystal objects, porcelain, vases, etc. Store knives and other sharp kitchen items in a secure place, out of children’s reach.
By leaving out objects that can break or cause injuries, you not only add stress and anxiety to your guests but also to yourself as host. You can greatly reduce the risk of accidents by keeping these objects at bay, while simultaneously reducing parental worries.
In addition, if you are thinking about renovating your vacation rental or upgrading to some new furniture, think carefully about your purchases and if they will be kid-friendly. Favor resistance and security over aesthetics, and make sure the furniture doesn’t present any hazards at home.
Protect sharp corners
It’s no secret children can be very excitable. This is even truer when they are on vacation in a new place! With this energy overload, they can run around and easily bump into things – especially sharp corners. That’s why it’s important to protect sharp corners so they don’t pose a threat to small children. This means all types of tables, TVs and cabinets, even walls can be pointy and a risk! Invest in plastic or rubber tips which you can easily add or remove, depending on your incoming guests.
Store cleaning products out of reach
Cleaning products are always a source of fear for parents. As a result, it’s vital you provide a space to stash away these products securely – far from children’s play spaces. Spillages or ingestion of these toxic products can be deadly. So to avoid fatal accidents, provide a lock for your cleaning cupboard or store these items up high, so they can’t fall into the wrong hands.
In addition, you could fit child safety locks or child-proof drawers to make sure that any dangerous items are out of their reach. Simply inform parents ahead of their stay that they are available and let them know where to find them in your vacation rental.
Tidy away cables and wires
When we talk about cables, we talk about knots! And these can be a huge trip hazard – or worse.
There are many solutions and accessories you can purchase for neater cables and wires. But above all, make sure they are out of reach of children. Not only will tidying cables help to organize your home better, but it’s also cleaner and more secure.
Moreover, you should protect any visible plug sockets with outlet covers to prevent children from touching anything dangerous. As well as this, if you have bedrooms solely for kids, think about installing child-proof light switches for even more protection.
Ensure water and gas safety
When you send guests your pre-departure information, inform them of the water quality in your area (i.e. if it’s drinkable or not). This will help them prepare in advance and pre-warn older kids not to drink from the tap if that’s the case.
As for the gas, experts recommend providing child-proof stove knob covers to deter children from switching on the gas when their parents aren’t watching. This helps prevent carbon monoxide poisoning, home fires or even explosions.
Offer baby care facilities
Babies’ health and wellbeing is any parent’s number one priority. You can make your rental property even more suitable to families with kids by knowing and respecting the American Academy of Paediatricians’ baby room checklist:
Choose a sturdy, stable changing table with a two-inch guardrail around all four sides
The crib must be safety-approved cribs and have a firm mattress which is the same size as the crib (no gaps)
Keep the crib free of small objects (toys, stuffed animals, blankets)
Do not use bumper pads in cribs
Do not let strings or cords dangle near the crib
Hang over-crib mobiles high enough so babies cannot reach to pull them down
Install smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors
The room temperature should be as comfortable for a lightly clothed adult.
Install stair gates
Babies, toddlers and kids alike love to explore around a new home setting. If your property has stairs, install kid-friendly stair gates to prevent them from hurting themselves while visiting your home. Not only can this help avoid any trips to A&E, but also it can be a decisive factor which makes a family book your property over your competitor’s.
And finally, make sure that your vacation rental is always clean and clear to make it even more enjoyable for guests!
Kid-Friendly Vacation Rentals: ultimate amenities
There are many amenities that families are looking out for when they are researching possible vacation rental properties. Here are some of the top amenities which will transform your home into a child-friendly paradise.
THE KITCHEN AND DINING ROOM
Make sure that everything is well protected and working efficiently. Check your gas and water supplies, add protection in risky areas and remove any breakable objects. As well as this, ensure your washing machine and dryer are working well. One of the key reasons families choose a vacation rental over a hotel is the anytime access to laundry facilities, as children’s clothing can get dirty very quickly when playing and running outside!
Having efficient and well-secured items will make life easier for parents and prevent them from worrying on vacation.
What you should have:
Secure, baby-proof drawers
Gas stove knob covers
Washing machine and dryer
Tableware for children, such as plastic cutlery, bowls, cups and plates
A stack of clean and fun dish towels
Hand soap and dish detergent
Cooking essentials such as oils and spices
Plenty of coffee (for tired parents!)
What you could add:
Highchair or a booster chair for dining table
Simple breakfast ingredients
If you want parents to have a relaxing and rejuvenating sleeping night, you have to make sure that their kids and babies will sleep comfortably. Impress your guests by providing thoughtful items that hotels don’t usually offer. What you should have:
Safety-approved crib or travel crib
What you could add:
A kids’ night light
Fun, kid-friendly bedrooms
THE LIVING ROOM
The living room is the place where families are likely to relax, chill and spend quality family time together. Provide your guests with all the necessary comfort, as well as additional items to make for a memorable stay. What you should have:
Protected sharp corners
Outlet covers and tidy cables
Fast WiFi and TV
Netflix or cable option
What you could add:
A DVD player and family DVDs
Baby seat or swing
A personalized guest book, with maps and postcards about the city or the region
A welcome book with your own tips and advice about what to visit, family activities and kid-friendly restaurants
Games consoles such as Wii or Xbox
Some healthy but delicious treats for the children
THE BATHROOM AND TOILETS
Accidents can easily happen in bathrooms due to wet floors or access to toxic products. It is recommended to reinforce the bathroom’s security so that it’s safe and sound for little guests.
What you should have:
Non-slip bath mats
Safely organized cleaning supplies
Soft toilet paper
Potty seat or child’s potty
Changing table and pad
What you could add:
Baby shampoo and gel
When it comes to choosing their vacation rental, the Family Travel Surveyconfirms that one of the most important factors are the amenities for children – especially the pool. So, if you have a swimming pool, enhance it by guaranteeing that it is well secured and that you provide extra kids’ pool gear and other fun outdoor equipment for children.
What you should have:
Child-safe pool (fenced and shallow – inform your guests of the pool’s depth)
Swimming armbands and floats
A secure area around the home (alarmed doors, baby lock if necessary, fence)
Umbrellas and ponchos for wet weather
What you could add:
Outdoor play gear (i.e. sandpit, plastic kids’ house)
Children bikes, helmets and pump
Other sports equipment (basketball net, foosball, ping pong etc.)
Outdoor fairy lights or nightlights
Now that you know what you need to transform your property into a kid-friendly vacation rental, don’t forget to ask your guests in advance of their stay if they have any other hospitality requirements.
This will help build a long-term relationship with them. It can even encourage them to come back each year and recommend your property to other families via reviews on your vacation rental website.
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