Family travel has to be one of the fastest growing niches in the travel industry. In fact, I’m banking on it – as that is the area I chose to specialize in. I’m a mom of two young kids, so I know what it’s like to pore over lists of hotels guessing which resort my kids will have more fun at. Unfortunately, many all-inclusive resorts that we North Americans flock to come winter don’t make it a very easy selection process. Resorts do list many of their amenities i.e. Wi-Fi, parking, gym facilities, etc., yet there are certain details that are lacking when it comes to the ‘wants’ of family travellers.
Some mention a kids pool, some don’t. Some fail to mention that the kids pool is only accessible if your kids go to their kids club. A few say they have a water park, but really only have a spray park for toddlers, and what were the hours the kids clubs were open? The list goes on and on…
I’ve pored over the internet searching for images of waterslides in past guest reviews, googling all types of things – clearly, I’m a very thorough researcher for my clients! One really needs to do research beyond the resort’s own website. Travel review sites including TripAdvisor, Expedia, and other new websites like Oyster (which is a personal favourite of mine). Official Facebook pages for the resorts can also be extremely helpful in determining accessibility and quality of kid features at resorts. In particular, I’ve taken to messaging many hotels on their actual Facebook page, and find that I get a fairly quick response (sometimes even the same day!).
Yes, I realize the draw to these vacation destinations should really be about the sights, the culture, experiencing local excursions, and swimming in the ocean. But, for some families, it’s all about sitting back in their pool chair with a cold slushy drink in hand as little Bobby and Suzie are sliding up and down those water slides with their newly made friends.
So, please all-inclusive resorts, help me out a little with your website. Oh, and don’t even get me started about finding family hotel rooms in Europe.
Jennifer Trofimuk is an agent with Alberta-based Planes, Trains, & Kids Travel, specializing in family travel excursions. Jennifer is passionate about the opportunities travel brings to children, and you can find her online at www.planestrainsandkids.ca.