If you’ve ever travelled with a child or been part of a travel group that had children, you’ll know that travelling with children can be both a joy and a pain. As much as experiencing places and adventures through the eyes of a child can be refreshing, packing all the necessities for an infant or child to keep them content during a vacation can be exhausting. Finding comfortable lodging is even more challenging.
Imagine sharing a hotel room with a toddler and using the bathroom sink to wash baby clothes? Conventional hotels, even some suites, often do not provide the space that a family needs. As a result, a family friendly Airbnb that offers a child-designated bedroom for naps and early bedtimes, laundry facilities and a kitchen can be very attractive to this group of travelers. It’s not hard to understand why more and more families opt for children-friendly vacation rentals over traditional accommodation houses when it comes to making their lives easier when they travel.
Although some property owners may worry about the damage that children could potentially cause to their rental homes, marketing to families can be a lucrative new market segment. In fact, just like business travellers, families are one of the fastest growing segments in the travel industry and they’re a market worth considering, if you have the facilities and the space, as an Airbnb host.
Families tend to travel slower than singles or couples, staying for longer periods of time when they leave home. They are unlikely to book one night as they usually don’t want the hassle of packing all their belongings, their children – and moving from location to location.
In most cases, families take longer vacations simply because it takes too much time and work to prepare for a trip with children. In addition, the first night or two are often sleepless because children have more trouble adjusting to sleeping in new places. As a result, families often like to stay put in one location so everyone can get used to their surroundings and have a more enjoyable vacation.
Therefore, families are unlikely to rent your property for a single night, which means less turnover and increased income per visit for you, resulting in a steadier and more reliable flow of income.
Although some property owners may worry about the damage that children could potentially cause to their rental homes, marketing to families can be a lucrative new market segment, as the family market is one of the fastest growing segments in the travel industry, meaning higher demand for a family friendly Airbnb.
Honestly, not a lot! You might think that your small apartment is not big enough to host a family but it’s not necessarily a large space that is the drawcard when it comes to vacation rentals for little ones. Families will often spend a considerable amount of time away from their accommodation doing activities with the kids, whether it’s riding bikes around the city or going to museums, so they don’t always require a huge house to stay in. What they will want is access to a kitchen, and bathroom (preferably with a bathtub to make it easier to wash the kids after a day of exploring) and laundry facilities. A park within walking distance is also a huge benefit.
If you are not a parent and if you don’t have much experience with children, here are a few things to consider in terms of making your Airbnb safe and friendly for families:
Mattress protectors – it’s inevitable that some children will wet the bed. Give parents the peace of mind that they won’t have to foot the bill for a new mattress by providing protectors.
Safety guards for staircases – if you do have a staircase inside the house or outside on the property, make sure you offer parents a safe way of protecting their children from injury.
Safety latches on kitchen/bathroom cupboards – try to remove anything hazardous from low-lying cupboards but if you can’t do that, buy child-safe locks to secure the doors.
Remove unsecured objects – that large ceramic sculpture you had sitting at the top of the staircase… best to lock it up. Don’t leave anything around the house that could be easily broken or that could hurt a child if it fell on them.
Address any issues – by advertising yourself as a family-friendly Airbnb, there will be an expectation that not only your property is safe and liveable for children, but that the surrounding area is the same.
If you are renting out a granny flat at the back of a block of land where two large dogs live – it’s best you address this in your property description. Similarly, if your apartment is located in a slightly rough part of the city, you need to allow parents to decide whether it’s an appropriate area for them to walk around with their children.
There are some things you can provide that are likely to get you in the ‘good books’ with families:
Just because you don't have a lot of space, child-related furniture or toys doesn't put you out of the running for offering a kid friendly vacation rental. Families often do not spend a lot of vacation time at their rental; they are more likely to be out and about with their children at amusement parks, museums or other tourist spots.
In many cases, parents look for very basic things when they return to a rental.
First, they need a room with a door where children can sleep for naps, go down for an early bedtime, or sleep in late undisturbed after an adventurous day.
Second, parents want a kitchen to prepare meals, snacks and other trip food to stay healthier, save money, accommodate picky children or manage odd eating schedules.
Having a bathtub and a laundry area available as well as a nearby park are definitely advantages for a family.
If you are convinced that the family market is one you should target, you'll want to invest in a few things to make your kid-friendly vacation rental more comfortable and safe for your potential guests.
Mattress Covers. When you have children staying in your Airbnb, someone will eventually wet the bed. Having mattress covers available is an easy way to protect the investment you've made in your beds.
Safety Items. If you have stairs, you may want to provide a barrier for parents to use at the top or the bottom if they see fit. In addition, you may want to provide child-locks on any cabinets that might contain cleaning supplies or other dangerous items. Using safety plugs on outlets may be another welcomed investment.
Valuables, Breakables, Fall-ables. It's simply safer to put away anything valuable or breakable that is within reach of a child. In addition, consider eliminating anything that could fall accidentally on top of a child.
Small People Gear. If you can save parents the hassle of packing things like a portable crib, stroller or high chair, you will score big points with your guests. These items can be heavy and awkward to pack but are often essential for a vacation with children. You can often get these items in good condition at second-hand stores, which will save you money while being an absolute godsend to parents.
Other Perks. Consider investing in some small toys, an infant bouncy seat, a set of baby monitors, coloring books and crayons, games, books, or small tricycles or outdoor toys. These items do not cost much but can keep children busy while parents are unpacking, packing or preparing a meal.
Carrying out repurposing renovations to your Airbnb to fit the family market is not difficult. In most cases, families look for more space and a kitchen at the very least. With a few thoughtful additions, you can successfully capture this growing segment of the vacation market to grow your airbnb revenue.
If you decide to attract families to your Airbnb, make sure you sell yourself as a children-friendly property from the get-go. Don’t assume guests will take the time to read your full property description and look down the list of your amenities to see if it ticks all the boxes. Spell it out – loud and clear – if not in your property heading, then definitely in the first few sentences of your Airbnb listing description.
It is vital to advertise your property as an Airbnb for families if you want to target this market. Parents looking for vacation lodging hurriedly, will scroll through properties quickly and will not dig into the details of a rental not immediately advertised as family friendly.
In addition, you'll want to make sure you lay out any details about the property or the neighborhood that might be concerning to parents such as a busy street, an open balcony, nearby dogs, or an onsite swimming pool. Be as transparent as possible to avoid any negative reviews.
You could also provide complimentary family-related information about the area such as the best family restaurants, nearby amusements or parks, and even locations of drug stores, urgent cares or grocery shops.
Don't discount the fact that, if the whole family is travelling, their pets are likely to travel with them. Whilst this is a call you need to make, in the event you decide to go ahead, make sure the fact that your Airbnb is pet-friendly, needs to be mentioned.
Possibly the most important trick in positioning your Airbnb as family-friendly is to take advantage of social media which is freely available.
Videos are everything in this day and age. Over one billion hours of videos are watched on YouTube every day, and 400 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute. In addition, according to a survey by Hubspot, an overwhelming 94% of users prefer to watch a video to learn about a product or service and 92% of mobile video viewers like to share them with their online communities. Make use of video marketing including of guests (with their permission) who travel with their families to showcase that yours is a family-friendly Airbnb.
Use popular social media sites like Facebook where you could ask guests to share their experience and leave a positive review. Use Instagram marketing to both create a buzz and to exhibit catchy photography of your property including the family friendly locations and amenities. You could even use a mobile phone for Airbnb photography.