Last updated: 07:00 AM ET, Thu December 10 2015

How Hotels are Catering to Traveling Families

Hotel & Resort | Patrick Clarke | December 10, 2015

How Hotels are Catering to Traveling Families

Photo courtesy of Thinkstock

As the family and multigenerational travel segment continues to grow, hotels are finding new ways to not only attract traveling families, but keep them coming back.

From spacious suites to kids programs, the hospitality industry is sparing no effort to cater to this key segment.

The Suite Life

It's obvious that traveling families require more space than the solo business traveler or adult couple on a romantic getaway, especially since they tend to go farther and stay longer these days.

Therefore, a handful of brands are beginning to introduce family suites designed to accommodate everyone, even the kids. Now, several hotels are offering multi-bedroom suites.

Puerto Rico's Wyndham Grand Rio Mar Beach Resort & Spa, for instance, offers family suites equipped with bunk beds for the kids, a king size bed for mom and dad and a pull out sofa bed in the living room. 

Meanwhile, the Towers of the Waldorf Astoria in New York feature multi-bedroom suites that include a living room, dining room and kitchen, providing traveling families with more space to be together. 

What's more, guests don't have to break the bank for this space.

The Hilton Chicago O'Hare just recently debuted its Family Suites for as little as $134 per night. The 485 square-foot suites feature a sitting area, a king size bed and a pull out sofa bed as well as entertainment for the entire family. In addition to a 42-inch television, Wi-Fi, movies and video games are available.

But it's not all about space. Brands are also putting together programs to encourage family and multigenerational travel.

Marriott Rewards Launches MAX!

Marriott International's loyalty program Marriott Rewards announced the launch of a brand new kids program this week known as "MAX!" Kicking off at Marriott properties in the Asia-Pacific region Dec. 21, the program takes a holistic approach to activities aimed at young guests.

Designed for children ages five to 12, MAX! aims to promote activity, curiosity, exploration and relaxation. While those four pillars will be consistent throughout the Marriott properties, each location will provide its own unique experience based on its locale and culture.

Marriott Rewards said that the inspiration behind the program comes from the "changing nature of family travel in Asia." 

"By introducing MAX!, Marriott Rewards aims to exceed the high expectations parents have when they choose a hotel for their family vacation," Marriott's Vice President Of Customer Loyalty And Content for Asia Pacific Anka Twum-Baah said in a statement. "Providing children with enriching experiences has a positive effect on their lives. We are launching MAX! with the aim of inspiring children to enjoy a range of memorable experiences that they can share with their family and friends."

Starwood Rolls Out Family Programs

Marriott wasn't alone in announcing new efforts to enrich the experience of traveling families this week. The company it announced it will merge with last month, Starwood Hotels & Resorts, recently revealed it will launch family programs at more than 300 Le Meridien and Westin hotels around the world.

The two Starwood brands also cited the growing demand of family travel as the motivating factor behind the development of the programs.

Both programs are similar to Marriott Rewards' MAX!, but draw on different inspirations. While the Westin Family program is heavily influenced by nature, the Le Meridien Family program aims to channel children's creativity and curiosity.

"Today’s family travelers are more active, more global and more socially connected than ever before, and the way they travel together has changed dramatically," Le Meridien and Westin Hotels & Resorts Global Brand Leader Brian Povinelli said in a statement. "In speaking with our most loyal guests, we know that the new dream vacation — for many — looks like an active adventure, exploring new destinations and experiencing a new culture."

"To help us develop these new family programs, we also zeroed in on insights from our littlest travelers, who will define expectations and inspire the future of family travel."

In addition to the brands' kids clubs, which are focused on preserving the environment and promoting outdoor activity, the aforementioned programs target adults through activities designed for the entire family to participate in, whether it's cycling or cooking. 

While traveling with children and family can make the experience that much more enjoyable, it also comes with plenty of challenges. Fortunately, the hospitality industry is making strides to make family travel easier and more rewarding. 


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