Given that we now have four, yes FOUR (see sidebar) kids under 7 years old we have realized that we don’t want to, or should we say we are not able to, travel with strollers, highchairs, pack ‘n plays, Bumbos and a separate suitcase for toys and dress-up clothes.
Guess what? Our (potential) guests don’t want to travel with all of that kid stuff either!
It turns out that giving thought and attention to the needs of the kids is great for business too because it allows us to tap into the three R’s that we all Love so much: Referrals, Repeats and Reviews.
Just a few reasons we have found that kids can increase ROI:
- Kids often heavily influence their parents’ decision on which house to rent or return to.
- Kids are fairly easy to please if you put a little effort into DELIGHTING them.
- When we win over the kids we automatically win over their parents at guest review time and when they are sharing their vacation stories.
The majority of our guests are families with kids and usually one or more of the kids are under 10 years old. There is no quicker path to a parent’s heart than through their kids. For that reason we make an effort during each inquiry to find out whatever we can about the kids in the group.
With the knowledge of the ages of the kids who may be staying with us we help parents and grandparents (potential guests) understand why our homes are ideally suited for grownups and kids alike.
Some of the kid-friendly features we have included in our homes:
- Multiple strollers, two pack ‘n plays, a high-chair and a Bumbo.
- Fully stocked game cabinet and toy closet. Best Practice – add a monthly organizational clean-out of games and toys to your PM Checklist!
- Individually packaged kid snacks in the welcome basket.
- Kid-friendly movies and video games for various age levels.
- Automatic walk-on safety covers over the swimming pools.
- Electrical outlet covers and cabinet latches where appropriate.
Detailing some of the features like the ones above sends a message to parents (potential guests) that “your kiddos will have fun in our home.”
Occasionally we’ll raid the clearance racks in the toy and clothing aisles to stock up on inexpensive treats for our little guests. Five or ten bucks can go a long way toward the three R’s and net a pretty good ROI. At check-in kids have found pajamas with their favorite Disney character on them, Disneyland signature books, activity/coloring books and inexpensive packaged toys just to name a few.
Do you have any kid-friendly features in your home? Do you leverage them effectively during the inquiry process? How can you improve in this area?
The Bottom Line: Kids are profitable! Wait, that didn’t come out quite right. I meant to say, kids are GREAT! Plus, kids are great for business too. Building Kid-Friendly features into the vacation home experience you offer will endear your business to your guests. That means they are more likely to give you REFERRAL business, Repeat business and great guest Reviews. We all know those three R’s add up to Maximum ROI!
So raise a glass of chocolate milk to the little guests and give them memories that will leave them longing for their “other” home.
What have any of you guys done to make your homes more kid-friendly? Please share your best practices and comments below.
P.S. Please forgive the shameless plug for our other newest baby, Pipsqueak®. Remember a while back I mentioned we were working on a project? Well, Angela invented the first Bluetooth phone just for kids! Like proud parents we’re just so excited that we want to tell the whole world about it. Thank you for your readership and please learn more and support our Kickstarter!
Michael and his wife Angela happened into vacation home ownership in April 2007 when a relocation nudged them toward the idea of short-term renting. Within months of establishing Ultimate SoCal Vacation Homes, they began making plans to expand their business. Having combined backgrounds in sales, marketing, business development and hospitality helps them to create guest experiences that exceed expectations. Today, more than 3,500 guests later, Michael and Angela are operating three profitable vacation homes in Anaheim.