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Travelers’ Choice Family Award winners

TripAdvisor has released its first ever list of Travelers’ Choice family destinations and hotels. The winners have all been chosen based on the highest review ratings from those who traveled with family.

According to a recent TripAdvisor survey, 83 percent of U.S. respondents plan to travel with family in 2011. Ninety percent of that segment is planning family trips domestically. So, if you want to appeal to the family market, what services and facilities do you need to offer? We reviewed what people travelling with families are saying in their reviews to identify the most important factors; here are the resulting tips:

Photo taken by TripAdvisor member CatTan_2901

Sleeping & living
Give families space to spread out.
– Family rooms or interconnecting rooms are very popular with families.
– If parents need to book a baby cot in advance, make it clear on your website. Children are often tired and cranky after a long trip so it will be much appreciated if you can have the cot set up and ready in the room when they arrive.
– Offer families rooms on the ground floor. When traveling with small children, it is easier to avoid stairs and elevators when maneuvering prams and pushchairs!

“Rooms are beautiful, comfortable but slightly less spacious than we could have wished when travelling with children” Rickdekikkerfanclub

– Offer a fridge in the room to store milk and cool drinks for children.

“…the fridge was great for us as it meant we could have cold milk for our little one when required.” Lindylu_007

– Make extras like iPod speakers and TVs set up for games consoles available for families with older children .

“The plasma TV above the fire place had no HDMI hookup (and wasn’t HD). That meant no PS3, because we didn’t bring the A/V cables.” thomasgibbs

– Have a good selection of ‘child friendly’ food options in your restaurant.
– Provide high chairs for babies.
– Offer specials such as ‘children eat for free’ – these can be a deciding factor for parents when choosing accommodation.

“…the selection of food was perfect especially with 2 picky teenagers”

“Buffet breakfast was excellent and the kids ate free”

“The drinks we ordered for our 3 year old came free of charge too!”

Photo taken by TripAdvisor member bembudo

The exterior facilities are also very important to parents.
– If you are a resort style property, offer a kids’ club.
– If you have a pool, dedicate areas where small children can play safely.

“Pool was lovely but not ideal for children as there was no shallow area or fun slides.”

And of course, we can’t forget the parents themselves – it’s their vacation too!
– Provide in-house babysitting or recommend an external service to allow them to head down to the bar or restaurant and enjoy a few quiet moments while their children sleep.

“The only downside for us was there was no baby-sitting service for younger children…” thekellysDubai

“We used the babysitting service that they have to offer which was fantastic because it gave myself and my partner time to relax…” Terrie_10

And remember, it’s not just about supplying the services and facilities; it’s also about you and your staff’s attitude. Parents don’t want to feel like pariahs when they turn up with their children.

“Going away with a 13 month old is always a logistical nightmare but knowing you are going somewhere the 13 month old will be welcome is much appreciated!” ScubaFamilyLondon

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