This year (2022) is set to become the year of family travel, so if you play your cards right as a host for family vacation rentals or Airbnb for family, you can look forward to a surge in bookings. Not only are more families expected to travel, following pent-up demand during COVID, but the way they travel is also changing.
Family travel is one of the biggest segments of the tourism industry with numbers of family trips predicted to reach 376 million trips annually by 2022. Booking platform Vrbo, which specializes in family vacation homes, confirms an increase in family travel with many parents wanting to treat their children to bigger and better holidays in 2022. Families are expected to book family home vacation rentals further in advance and to stay longer as they reevaluate their work-life balance.
As families make up for the lost time, there is expected to be an increase in large family reunions and multigenerational travel plans as they prioritize spending time together, which also includes bringing family pets along. This could lead to an increase in demand for large family vacation rentals and pet-friendly rentals.
So, what can you do to tap into the family travel market? How can you make it easy for families to find your family-friendly vacation rental and ensure you keep them happy?
Top Tips for Attracting Families to Your Family Vacation House
It isn’t enough these days to tick off ‘children welcome’ on a listing site for vacation rentals like Airbnb to get families to notice your rental when they book a vacation. In reality, many supposedly ‘kid-friendly’ homes do not have what parents need, and this (more often than not) leads to disappointment and frustration, often translating into bad guest reviews.
If you´re worried about damage to properties, breakages and spills, there are easy ways to family-proof your property without impacting the guests’ experience. For example, functional, inexpensive furniture in bright colors, loads of storage space, easy-to-clean surfaces and no breakables.
So, what do parents want? Well, it’s not that different from what everyone wants, really – fun, rest and relaxation. However, as everyone with kids knows, family holidays often cause stress levels to go through the roof. This is the pain point you have to tap into when you market your family Airbnb or family rental as a great option for families. Show potential guests how your rental or family friendly Airbnb allows parents to have a well-deserved break too!
Spell it out in your listings
Don’t forget to highlight all family-friendly amenities in your listing descriptions on sites like Airbnb or on your website. You’ll stand out from the crowd and show parents you offer above and beyond the basics. Being clear about what amenities you offer is key and can really help sell your home to families.
Make life easy for the parents
Exactly how to do this, depends a lot on the ages of the children, but the bottom line is – the parents need to visualize themselves sitting down with a book or a glass of wine, while the kids are safe and happy too. Here is a breakdown by age of some of the particular challenges parents face:
Babies: Parents with babies are focused on getting them to eat and sleep. Tired parents are not going to have a great vacation!
Toddlers: Once a child starts moving, safety becomes a primary concern. Worrying leads to stress – and the last thing parents need on vacation is stress.
Older children: It’s all about fun and activities for this age group. Keep kids happy and parents will be happy, too.
Provide peace of mind with safety features
When the kids are safe, the parents can relax. For babies and younger children, it’s a good idea to baby-proof your home. If you don’t have children, ask a friend with children to come over and inspect your home from top to bottom. Get down on your hands and knees to see the world through the eyes of a toddler or baby and you’ll be amazed at how many hidden dangers lurk in the average home. For example, essential safety measures include electrical socket covers, bathroom and kitchen cupboard and appliance door locks, stairgates at the top and bottom of stairs, temperature controls of water taps and many more.
Outdoor security is also important, particularly if you have a pool, ensure it is fenced and supply a pool cover for when the pool is not in use. Even a hot tub or water feature in the garden, such as fishing ponds, is not a good idea if you want to host families with small children. Families with young children also appreciate alarmed doors, nightlights and barriers or railings on balconies, as well as a secure closed off garden to prevent little ones from running into the street.
Top Tip It may seem counterintuitive, but including information about any possible problems can actually assure parents that you have thought about their needs. If you have a pond that is near the house, for example, let parents know and explain how they can keep their children safe. (Maybe the doors chime when they are opened or there is a lockable screened-in porch.) Parents are grateful to have this kind of information ahead of time. They know what to expect when they arrive and there are no unwelcome surprises (or angry calls!).
Make it easy for them to clean up the mess
Cleaning up after children is a full-time job and the easier you make it for parents to clean up after their brood, the more they can relax. It also makes your job easier during turnovers in between stays. Here we are thinking of easy-to-wipe surfaces, plastic-lined table cloths, and wooden floors. Forget white sofas and light-colored carpets, towels or bed linen in this type of rental, take it from us. Store away any valuables and breakables safely and provide plastic cutlery and crockery, particularly to use on the terrace.
Help them make the most of their holiday
Parents often lack the time to properly research activities and restaurants in the area and particularly bigger families may be looking for ways to save money during their trip. Be sure to leave a welcome book with suggestions for family-friendly activities in the area, and consider publishing a blog post on your website listing child-friendly venues and restaurants. Include some options that are within walking distance or easy to reach, and include public transportation suggestions and prices
For younger children, this could include safe beaches, children’s playgrounds or art and craft centers nearby. For example, think about petting zoos, local museums offering educational visits for children, and family-themed parks or restaurants.
Teenagers or older kids love skateparks, cinemas, discos and shopping streets with trendy restaurants with interesting decor for TikTok or Instagram reels.
Make the most of the family living spaces
The priority for families is to spend time together, so be sure to create inviting large spaces, for example, a living room, where all of the family members can chill together. The kitchen is another area where families tend to gather, so be sure to make it accessible and welcome to all.
The fun factor
When the kids are happy, the parents are happy. So, be sure to mention ´fun options in your listings and property descriptions. This could include a DVD player and family DVDs, Netflix or On Demand Cable, bicycles, paddle boards, a ping pong table, splash pad, or some cool board games. Be sure that all of these things are in a good condition.
Be creative and add a few special touches for different ages of children to start making a name for yourself as a fun family vacation rental or fun Airbnb for families.
Some amenities to include for different age groups
Crib or travel crib (pack ‘n play)
Baby seat or swing
Mini food processor or handheld blender
Changing pad or table
Booster chair for dining table
Toddler books and toys
Potty seat or child’s potty
Non-slip bath mats
Blackout blinds/curtains in kids’ rooms
Fun, kid-friendly bedrooms or bunk rooms
Toys – indoor and outdoor
Board and card games
Game consoles such as Playstation, Xbox or Wii
Football or ping pong
Kids’ bikes, helmets & pump
Start by adding one little extra touch at a time…
The family market is a big one, and tapping into it is fairly easy and inexpensive. Start with a few amenities and add on as you secure more family bookings. Before a family’s arrival, ask about the children’s ages so you have some idea of their needs and perhaps add a little something for the kids in a welcome basket.
Taking children on vacation is no easy task! For parents, the little touches in the best family vacation home rentals really make the biggest difference.
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