For travelling families, hotels aren't always the best option. A lot of families prefer a home away from home; a space with room for kids to play and parents to do the washing and cook family meals. That's why the family market has become such a key demographic in the vacation rental and home sharing space.
But with so many families looking for accommodation, how do you tap into that market and make sure it's your
rental racking up all the holiday bookings?
Of course not all properties are suitable for families, especially those with young children. Consider if it's a market that's right for you. If it is, here are six things you can do to make sure your vacation rental is as family-friendly as possible.
1. Have family-friendly sleeping arrangements.
Think about how many people you can currently fit in your rental. Is there a way to expand that to make it more appealing to families with multiple kids? Bunk beds or extra fold-out beds are one option. Having a travel crib available is also a bonus for families with very young children.
2. Supply kid-friendly entertainment.
Maybe you don't want your floor to be a constant obstacle course of lego blocks and tricycles. But books, DVDs, puzzles and board games can easily work into your living room shelves without turning your place into a toy-scattered playpen, so it's worth having some handy for the family crowd.
Other types of entertainment that older kids can appreciate, like game consoles (Xbox, etc) and sports equipment are by no means a necessity — but can be appreciated by many travelling families.
3. Make your guidebook family-friendly.
Your average nuclear family probably isn't interested in which local bars have the cheapest shots on a Friday night, but they'll be thrilled to have access to information like family-friendly dining options and tourist attractions that are suitable for kids.
Be specific. Are there particular beaches nearby that have calm areas, shallow pools and easy access by foot? Are there lovely family picnic spots, or museums with kids activities? Note them in your guidebook. It's also worth mapping out local services and shops parents might need on their stay, like supermarkets, pharmacies and laundromats.
4. Kid-safe your place.
What do parents want when they go on holidays? To relax. And while it may be near impossible with kids running around or babies crying, the less they have to worry about the better.
If you want to draw in the family market, do your best to kid-safe your place. If you have a swimming pool, for example, make sure it has a child-proof fence around it, and secure any balconies that could lead to falls.
5. Make cleaning easy.
Kids are messy, let's face it. And since parents spend a lot of their time cleaning up, you may as well make it easier for them. It's also in your interest, since you'd rather them keep your place as clean as possible.
Supplying basic cleaning products (cleaning sprays, paper towels, tissues, etc) isn't a huge cost to you but can make life that much easier for parents. The ability for them to wash and dry or hang clothes can also be a big drawing card when they're deciding where to stay, since kids are notorious for creating dirty laundry at lightening pace.
6. Consider some little extras.
When it comes to families with children, those little items can really go a long way to securing more bookings and racking up the glowing reviews. Think about small but useful things that parents might not bring with them: plastic plates, cups and cutlery for small children to safely eat from. Non-slip bath mats. Night lights.
Of course, be sure to mention your family-friendly amenities in your listing description and in your communications with enquiring parents. Not only does it give them a better idea of what they do and don't need to bring with them, but it shows that you've put thought into catering to their needs. And that's something you'll score big points for.