The new positioning of some Swiss hotel as “Family Friendly”

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Children’s breakfast buffet in Märchenhotel in Braunwald

 

Introduction

Swiss Tourism is trying to position Switzerland as a privileged destination for family holidays. The purpose of the campaign is to better promote hotels and destination that already offer a various supply suitable for every budget. Targeting families enables Swiss Tourism to increase the reputation of accredits places through the label “Welcome Families” and the KidsHotels, promoting their offers and creating added value.

This study is based on the following questions:

  1. What are the advantages/disadvantages of such a positioning for the hotel?
  2. Does it require any additional investment / operating costs / staff training? Or is it only a marketing operation?
  3. What is the added value for the customers?
  4. What does Swiss Tourism to point them up?

The objective of this study is to point out which is the added value for the customer.

 

Analysis and development

This case study is based on 10 obligatory criteria defined by HotellerieSuisse to classify hotels as “Kids Hotel”. My evaluation criteria are split into four categories:

–          Existing infrastructure/service

–          Not much investment/service

–          Big investment

–          The investment making the difference and adding value to the customer

 

1.      Hotel has a friendly and family atmosphere. Kids are welcome

A hotel atmosphere is a very subjective point. Depending on the staff’s welcome and on how children are perceived from the rest of the customers. If the staff is trained to care about customer’s need and has the sense of hospitality, this criterion doesn’t need much investment. Managers have to care about customers’ satisfaction and make regular controls with their customers. If the hotel is not concentrated on targeting families but also businessmen, the fact that children are around should be clear for everyone.

2.      Playroom (20m2) is lit by sunlight and contains many possibilities of games adapted to the age of children (no TV room)

Certain hotel might not have enough space in their building, so they would have to build an additional room or sacrifice an existing bedroom. Besides create a friendly and comfortable area for children can be a big investment leading to a loss of income if an existing bedroom should be converted into a playroom. Moreover if the room must be lit directly by the sun, which means that no basement place can be used.

3.      Caring minimum 5 hours out of 24 during 5 days a week during the holidays

Having enough staff available and trained to work with children is already not easy. But in tourism, people have to take into consideration that the staff must be speak various languages, must be aware of other culture and especially cultural habits or ways of behaving. The staff costs could be quite expensive.

4.      Baby-sitting service (0-3 years old) paying on demand. Weekly program during the holidays adapted to family needs. (5 propositions per week)

Offering a baby-sitting service is certainly an added value for the customer. As this criterion is based on the customer’s cost, the hotel and the stakeholders of the destination have the best interest to organise such a service. While the children are sleeping or playing, the parents can go to entertain themselves. The baby-sitting service doesn’t need much investment except having reliable staff ready to work on demand.

5.      Kitchen with appropriate food (special children menu and little portions), convenient eating times (on request from 6 pm)

Menus in restaurants are easy to be adapted to children. Providing healthy and balanced food, diminishing the quantities can even be an advantage for the hotel. Less quantity means less outlay and providing food from 6 pm means that families are eating earlier than usual guest which could lead to more comfortable working hours for the cooking staff. Added value can be brought for the customer while making children discovering food, local specialities.

6.      Rooms with several beds, communicating door and suits for families with step for children in the bathroom. Protected socket, baby monitor available

This point is the one that requires the most investment. The hotels might have to do some work on the building to make rooms match the standards. This adds extra costs, moreover making suits available or providing enough space for the children to play costs in term of surface. The possibility to turn the hotel back to a standard business one, for instance, would not be that easy. So the decision of creating such a kid’s hotel requires reflexion.

7.      Playing material (drawing kits…) enough high chair

8.      Many hotels already provide some drawing kits for children.

9.      Phone number of a paediatrician put up in each room. On request, hotel should lend: baby bath, thermometer, potty, changing mat, nappy bin, night light, pushchair, blankets

10. On request, possibility of locking TV and fridge

The four last criteria are more designed to bring comfort to the families which require low investment.

 

Discussion

On total 16 5-star hotels, 21 4-star hotels and 17 3-star hotels are labelled by HotellerieSuisse. As seen in the analysis of the criteria, the investment is significant.

Some hotel, like Märchenhotel Bellevue**** in Braunwald position themselves only as family friendly hotel basing their information on what the child will experience in their hotel whereas other establishment target family but also other segments like groups or business customers.

 

Some hotels do not hesitate to create partnerships with Ravensburger and Riku (games for children) so as with Xbox which is a mean to spare for the hotel and a mean of promotion for the brands.

 

What is/can be done to add value to the customer?

Constant improvements and renewals enable the hotel to stay up to date and competitive.

Create a whole children universe is the challenge taken up by the Märchenhotel Bellevue **** in Braunwald. Closed now for renovation, the hotel plans to extend the playing surface and improve the wellness infrastructures for the parents. Everything is already designed for children: pool, climbing wall, aquarium lift, bouncy castle, playground, mini-zoo… the hotel seems to be the unique goal of family’s holidays. Even their website is designed in order to let the parents imagine all the facilities and space they would have at their disposal (plans of the suits are also available).

Offering diverse activities in which both parents and children are interested is interested for families. While the parents are relaxing, children are having fun without bothering them.

 

Conclusion / outlook

In conclusion, staff training, working closely with the local stakeholder, managing and improving the infrastructure are the key point that might need a big investment. Little things such as hospitality, hotel setting and decoration, furniture and adapted objects can make the host’s stay easier and unforgettable.

Finally the crucial point of this marketing campaign is to attract the future customers. While targeting families Switzerland Tourism targets mostly children with the final goal to leave them an unforgettable experience in our country and make them wanting to come back in the destination.

 

References

Author : Stéphanie Chappuis, class 701_e

 

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