Hotels need to identify their target customer base when thinking about branding and what amenities they should offer to meet the changing needs of guests. Often, hotels consider how they can appeal to families traveling with children. The amenities created for these guests typically focus on older children and young teenagers. As a result, parents traveling with babies and children seldom get the amenities they need for a truly comfortable stay. Traveling with babies and toddlers can be stressful, so hotels that embrace families in this situation and strive to meet their needs can earn a loyal following. Some of the best amenities for hotel guests with babies and toddlers include:
Parents may want some time alone during their vacation, whether to have a romantic dinner or simply go on an outing not suited for young children. Hotels can meet these parents’ needs by providing in-room sitters or nannies who have experience with very young children. Most parents will assume that sitters will only be able to watch older children, so it is important that hotels make it clear when their sitters and nannies can watch kids of all ages, including toddlers and infants. Parents will be grateful to have a trusted professional provided by the hotel. Some high-end hotels that cater to parents with very young children actually include nanny services in the cost of the room. That way, parents don’t feel guilty about using these services. Naturally, hotels should thoroughly vet and conduct background checks on anyone hired to provide childcare.
One of the most nerve-wracking aspects of traveling for parents is the prospect of their baby or toddler getting hurt. While parents may have meticulously baby-proofed their own homes, it’s important that they feel just as safe in a hotel. Hotels can choose different ways of offering childproofing to their guests. For example, they may choose to keep a certain block of rooms childproofed if they consistently see a significant number of guests with small children. Otherwise, hotels may offer parents the ability to have their room babyproofed prior to their arrival. In either case, it is important to outline clearly what is involved in the process, so that parents know what to expect and how to prepare. Some basics include toilet latches, outlet covers, and nightlights. Hotels can ask parents to indicate any additional childproofing they need when they book their room, so they can pack accordingly.
In Europe, many of the top hotels include baby food on their menus or offer a special list of baby-friendly foods that can be prepared. These foods generally contain fresh produce and include pureed fruits and vegetables. However, some hotels even offer pureed meat and fish that little ones can eat. Many parents appreciate this service, as it removes the stress of having to shop for or pack baby food, which can take up a considerable amount of space in luggage. If traveling in a foreign region, parents may also be unsure about the quality of baby food available in local stores. Hotels can further appeal to parents by considering common food allergies, such as dairy and peanuts, and ensuring they offer a variety of foods.
Nowadays, upscale hotels offer butlers for just about any purpose—from butlers who attend to guests’ ski gear, to butlers who arrange private fitness classes, tours, and dinner parties. Parents traveling with younger children will rejoice to see a baby butler available. This individual should have access to anything parents might need to outfit a room and make it appropriate for a baby, as well as commonly needed items like pacifiers, wipes, diapers, and lotions.
Ideally, parents will be able to indicate prior to their arrival that they are traveling with very young children, so that the baby butler can enter the room and ensure proper childproofing, as well as clear out the minibar and make room for milk, baby food, and other items. A baby butler can also act as a concierge, providing information on other child-based amenities at the hotel and in the local area, so parents know what is available to them. Furthermore, baby butlers can serve as the first point of contact in emergencies with connections to local pediatricians and more.
Traveling with baby gear can quickly become overwhelming: booster seats, cribs, high chairs, and strollers are difficult to transport. When hotels offer baby gear, parents can avoid the headache of traveling with these bulky items. Even if hotels charge for the use of baby gear, most parents will be grateful considering that traveling with their own gear would likely result in additional luggage charges. However, many hotels that already offer such items do so free of charge. Ideally, parents will have access to a list of available items prior to arrival, so they can indicate what they need and have it waiting for them in the room when they check in. In particular, one piece of baby gear that many parents leave behind when they travel—or wish they could—is a stroller. Several hotel chains have already begun offering their guests high-end strollers.