November 12, 2013
When my son was a toddler (he’s now 11), one of the first stops on any interstate holiday was the $2 shop, where I would buy a bucket & spade and maybe a ball for the pool.Back then, pool and beach toys were not generally available at holiday accommodation – but today it something owners and managers realise is a pretty cheap and easy way to help make their property more family friendly.

With my focus on family friendly accommodation, it is something I often get asked – what exactly is family friendly?

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Broadly, I say it is any holiday property that welcomes and caters for children. I think it is also about making the holiday experience as stress-free as possible for parents.

Owners of holiday houses and apartments are in the perfect position to set up a family friendly property – and many of them do.

This can include having safety and convenience features, such as stair gates, highchairs and cots included in the rental. A toy box and even boogie boards all add to the family experience. Older kids often appreciate an Xbox or WII games. Then there is plastic crockery to reduce the risk of breakages.

Many resort complexes are also becoming more aware of this important holiday market, offering beach and pool toys, wading pools and basic playgrounds. Some managers have relationships with local baby equipment hire companies, through which you can pre-arrange hire and delivery.

When it comes to hotels, offering interconnecting rooms as a package, not at a cost of 2 rooms, is another way to entice families to stay. I personally love an outside bar or café area with adjoining grassed or play area, perfect for a coffee or pre-dinner drink.

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Location can be another factor. Proximity to a park, pathways, playgrounds or local shops can make it so much easier to keep young children entertained and happy.

At the top end of the scale are kids clubs and activities – more common in Pacific and Asian resorts, but also now offered by many larger Australian resorts and holiday parks during peak holiday periods.

But I think the difference with family holidays – compared to say, corporate accommodation, which expects a certain standard and consistency – is that a family can change their expectations for every holiday they have.

One holiday might see us wanting all the bells and whistles of a resort, but for the next, we want seclusion and basic comfort. Sometimes cooking is the last thing we want to think about, other times we prefer to self-cater.

Obviously I am just one person and I make these assumptions based on my own experiences, as well as those of friends and colleagues. I would love to hear your thoughts on what family friendly features you look for in your holiday accommodation.

I plan to summarise your feedback, so follow me on Facebook to keep up to date and continue to engage in the conversation.

And don’t forget to let me know if you have any family travel topics you would like me to write about.

 


  • Cool!Very interesting! Thanks for sharing this!

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  • It’s true I wish I didn’t have to pack every toy and game for my kids

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  • Good read, thanks for sharing!

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  • Being family friendly also helps with people recommending the accommodation to friends and family for future visits.

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  • great read. i think that holidays are better with kids and of course you spend more money so places have to cater to this


    • yes check out reviews online before you book

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  • Holiday motels and other venues are definitely starting to change, nothing beats a family holiday without the hiccups along the way. Makes it all more memorable.

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  • Interesting article.

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  • Thank you for sharing a good read

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  • A cabin in a van park is usually what we go for so that any noise we make has a little distance to travel before it makes it into someone else’s room. I like being able to cook if need be & sweep out after we trample grass & sand in.

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  • I don’t know where you stay but I’m barely lucky to get a microwave in the room, when online it stated there was going to be a microwave in there.
    Gee I stayed in a country town hotel in qld once for a family function & found a red back spider behind the bathroom door, less than meter away from where we had placed the portacot. Was told by the staff what would you expect for the country. We have not gone away since unfortunately.

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  • Impressed some places are being more family friendly.

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  • Things are definitely improving

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  • Some hotels have an option to add on a microwave for an extra charge. makes sterilizing and heating bottles/food so much easier!

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  • We often have difficulty getting accommodation for 5. Most standard family accommodation only caters for 2 adults and 2 kids.


    • It can be frustrating and I think that for most families of 5 or more, hotels are no longer an option. I have just added a feature on my website that lists how many a place sleeps, which is right next to the property’s name – no need to click through if you exceed the maximum. Amanda

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  • an interesting read, I am glad they are making more family friendly places

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