Young guests want full hotel experience like their parents: Kate Dicker [Video]
Professional childcare services can boost hotel occupancy by 15%, but developers need to get things right from an early stage, says Kate Dicker, Senior Consultant at Worldwide Kids.
Nothing makes childcare professional Kate Dicker happier than when children cry… because they don’t want to leave her kids’ clubs.
Professional childcare services can boost hotel occupancy by up to 15%, says Kate, Senior Consultant at Worldwide Kids, which makes a good return on investment from a single amenity in the hotel. Not to mention, the knock-on effects on other hotel amenities such as spas and F&B when parents are given some down time.
On the sidelines of TOPHOTELWORLDTOUR Barcelona, Kate spoke to TOPHOTELNEWS about the importance of having professional childcare services in hotels, who does it best, and her main message to hotel developers who’re thinking of kids’ clubs.
Professional childcare services in hotels a no-brainer
Kate: Worldwide Kids is a consultancy service for the hotel industry with regards to children and family services. I appreciate that this may come as an unusual concept, but it’s so important to get it right and to get it right from the beginning. People going to resorts, particularly, are very keen on having their children looked after properly.
There is a massive difference in the quality of childcare services on offer. Professional hotels want to give the same level of professional services to the children of their guests as they do to the guests themselves. Therefore, when it comes to children’s services, they want to be able to offer expertise, and that’s where we come in.
How to entertain discerning, wiser young hotel guests
Kate: I think liability has changed a lot. There have been some very sorry tales of children being harmed or injured while in the care of children’s clubs in hotels and resorts. So, hotels have become a lot more worried about doing that.
Initially, some of the concepts that we put forward for hotels have been difficult for hotels to understand because they already have a kids’ club. It might be run by a couple of very nice girls in a back room somewhere with some pre-drawn coloring sheets. And that seemed to be okay. But actually in the five-star market, that’s not okay.
What children are expecting is actually far greater now. Children are far wiser than they used to be. They don’t want just to sit with a coloring pencil or a TV anymore. They want to have an experience the same way their parents are having an experience.
That’s why professional childcare services are so important. And once you can get that information across to a hotelier, they begin to really understand the value of what it is that we do. We always think that our best reaction at all is when children cry when they leave, because they don’t want to leave us.
How the Sani Resort in Greece became a success story
Kate: We’re proud of all our clients. I have to say, one of the particular success stories would be someone like Sani Resort in Greece. For 12 years now, we’ve been operating all of their childcare services and we’ve expanded those as well.
Sani were one of the first people to accept the idea of having a creche for babies and toddlers. That’s not something that hotels and resorts used to do. But having a creche for those little ones, those under five-years-old, massively extends the season because people with little children don’t travel during school holidays. It also dramatically increases revenue.
Parents are prepared to pay for professional childcare, particularly for babies and toddlers. Sani was the group to establish that was going to be a good idea and has thrived because of that and all of their other wonderful marketing.
Message to hoteliers and hotel developers
Kate: The first thing I’d say is they need to get in early, if possible. We like to work with the architects before any design is done for kids’ clubs. We often go into hotels and resorts that have been designed beautifully by some wonderful interior designer for a kids’ club space. It looks fantastic, but actually it doesn’t work from an operational perspective. And often it’s actually not safe for children. We like to work to international best practice legislation, so the standards actually need to be extremely high.
So, I would say to hoteliers and developers: start talking to us early so that we can get involved in the design. Then you do it once and you do it right. You don’t have to rip out everything that you’ve done and start again. It’s a very expensive way to go.
So, come and see us first and let us help you with that process right from the very early stages.
Kate Dicker was a delegate at TOPHOTELWORLDTOUR Barcelona 2019. To attend, address or sponsor our boutique hospitality networking events around the world, contact TOPHOTELPROJECTS Head of Global Events & Conferences Kayley van der Velde.
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