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Why Hotels should look at providing services for Families

For the last 10 years, Hotels have been very busy integrating the computer age into their properties. This has meant that most capital expenditures have been focused on providing data ports, internet capabilities in the rooms, and integration of reservation systems over the internet.

In talking to some of the suppliers of this type of technology and service to this industry, even they indicated that this market has become very competitive. A large segment of the hotel market has now reached a stage where their services for the business traveler in this area are creating a level playing field. These market suppliers are now concentrating on new construction as opposed to retrofitting.

Computer technology is improving at such a fast rate. While business still necessitates travel, the need may not be so great as technology improves. In addition, many companies are looking at cost cutting measures, with the most prominent corner being cut - executive travel expenses.

A recent article published on e-hotelier.com indicates that the business traveller may not even require all the technology currently in place in many hotel property. Service Executives quoted in the article that "Fewer than 5 percent of business travelers use high-speed Internet access in their hotel rooms".

Hotels now need to look to other areas of the market for their competitive edge. One market that has largely been ignored in the computer age is the travelling family.

Stats Canada reported in Spring 2000 issue that in data from 1996 the vast majority of Canadians, 84.2%, live in families and 66% of those had children. In other words that puts approximately 16 Million people or over 4 million family units containing children in Canada alone. While the statistics used for this article are Canadian, American Statistics seem to be following the same course.

The family dynamics has changed over the last 10 years also. 7 out of 10 couples with children under 16 have two incomes, are marrying later in life when their income levels are higher and more families are lone parent families with over 80% headed by women.

As women are traditionally the caregivers for children, and the majority of families have a woman as part of the family structure, it probably goes without saying that the women in the family usually plan the family vacation.

And again as primary caregiver, these women will most likely look for accommodations that provide services for children. In 1998 pleasure as the main purpose of a family one or more night family travel was estimated at 47%. Nearly half of the reason. Between 1986 and 1998 the hotels and motels as the choice of accommodations has increased by 20%.

Families want activities when they travel as an extension of our hectic lives and the pace that we have become accustomed to. "Hotel operators who develop products that fit in with the frantic pace of life of their clients are becoming increasing "Kid Friendly".

Visitors to Canada with children under 2 increased 17% in the 90�s decade. We have also seen a 33% increase in one parent family trips.

Many hotel chains are now starting to aggressively market their product to the family market. A recent survey conducted by the Hilton Hotels Corporation and Yankelovich Partners found that "two thirds of parents questions said that vacations are the only 'real quality' time that families spend together". For Travel News about programs for families and children at Hotels and Resorts go to Hotel and Resort Travel News.

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