• Wan Tsau

5 Buzzworthy Ways to Make Your Singapore Hotel More Family-Friendly

Updated: Jan 7

Find out how to spruce up your family-friendly offerings to get people talking

Image: TIH/STB

The Singapore hospitality industry is expected to continue to rely heavily on local demand for the foreseeable future. Industry players and hotels in the past two years have taken many creative steps to differentiate themselves and compete for this local spending.


One notable strategy is to improve and elevate family-friendly offerings catered to Singapore-based parents hungry for unique experiences. If done earnestly, this “investment” can help hotels and other hospitality players to future-proof and build on this “young family” segment when the borders open up in the future.


Here are just a few ideas on what Singapore hotels and hospitality companies can do during this time to make their premises and offerings more family-friendly.


Connect better with your younger guests by using a mascot

Image: TIH/STB

American poet Maya Angelou once said, “people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” This is particularly true in the hospitality industry. For most Singaporean adults, the most memorable moments of any holiday or hotel stay tends to be the level and quality of service they received. However, kids tend to care less about service and more about how much fun they had.


A well-designed mascot can be very effective in binding experiences together for younger guests. For this target segment, the mascot’s personality can often be more appealing and memorable than the hotel’s actual human staff.

Mascots printed and placed on signages, menus, activity materials and merchandise can help to emote a hotel’s branding messages in a far more authentic, consistent and effective way to children. Most importantly, it will also help to provide visual cues which enhances their memory of the fun they had during their stay.


Enable the creation of “Insta-worthy” moments for families

Image: TIH/STB

With the pandemic keeping Singaporeans within its borders, it’s safe to say that the rediscovery of local attractions and places has flourished. Many of the best moments of these local adventures can be viewed online thanks to the Singaporean penchant for sharing the most Insta-worthy aspects of their lives on social media.


Hotels and hospitality establishments can easily (and quite cost effectively) cater to this trend specifically for young families by setting up more child-friendly murals or temporary backdrops. Geometric designs in muted pastel shades or millennial friendly neon lit messages will unlikely draw the attention of kids. Think more bright colours, bold fonts, cartoon characters or mascots matched with age appropriate (and perhaps slightly irreverent) props.


Curate an extended neighbourhood experience by building a network of nearby family-friendly partners

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Parents travelling with young children know that it can be quite tricky to venture too far away from the hotel. This is especially true for Singapore-based parents on staycation. For guests from Singapore, proximity and discoverability of lesser known places would certainly trump suggestions of well known tourist places located further away.


Curating a special set of family-friendly partners within the hotel’s neighbourhood is a great way to extend the hotel’s offering. It widens the range of possible experiences and helps to provide incentive for longer or repeat stays. Partners can range from family-friendly restaurants (with kids menus and suitable environment), indoor playgrounds and specialty kid-stores (clothing, books etc).


A well-curated activity list or schedule (ideally tied with hotel guest discounts) linked to the hotel’s neighbourhood would certainly be much more memorable and buzzworthy than merely offering transportation options to famous theme parks.


Create a defining “Signature” moment for families or kids

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In his book “The Power of Moments”, Chip Heath, a professor at Stanford Graduate School of Business, writes about how a converted 1950s two-storey apartment called the Magic Castle Hotel managed to climb to TripAdvisor's top 10 ranked hotels in Los Angeles, California. The author wrote that despite the hotel’s clear lack of glamour and amenities, it manages to keep its enviable ranking by creating “defining signature moments”.


A signature moment is a powerful well-defined memorable moment which stands out in the guests’ minds. In the case of the Magic Castle Hotel, it’s their famous “Popsicle Hotline”. Imagine picking up a bright red phone by the poolside wall, dedicated specifically for guest to order ice popsicles. Then imagine, receiving your ice-popsicle delivered to you on a silver platter by a wait staff wearing white gloves. All day at no cost. Wouldn’t you talk about it?!


Hotels in Singapore can get creative and think of their own “signature” moments targeted at families and children. It could be something as simple as giving one free side to every family dining in with kids. A well thought out “signature” moment as proven by the highly successful “Popsicle Hotline” can go a long way in terms of marketing mileage.


Provide screen-free creative outlets for kids during idle time

Image: TIH/STB

The pandemic has helped accelerate the digitalisation of Singaporean adult and children’s lives alike. That being said, the last thing parents want, during a staycation, is to be reminded of how guilty they feel about their children indulging in even more screen time.


The ideal approach is not to preach but to pro-actively provide attractive and interesting screen-free activities with minimal supervision required. Activities where children voluntarily participate in without fixed timelines and too much pressure to complete.


Creative activities involving artistic expression and exploration are the best solutions for the above and are usually well received by kids whilst requiring the least supervision. If done correctly and thoughtfully, such activities can also accommodate the widest child age range.


A simple and purposeful way to start is for hotels to provide customised activity books for all children checking in. These books can be focused on creativity and exploration of the various locations within the hotel and its surrounding. Something kids can bring along with them throughout their hotel “adventure” and fill in during idle times in and out of the hotel room. At the end of each stay, these activity books can act as "momentos" and the basis of talking points for kids wanting to relay their experiences at the hotel.

 

Piqolo Kids is an early-learning publishing start-up. We work with companies like hotels, tourist attractions and educators to improve their child-friendly in-house, marketing and education materials. To find out more, please contact us at here or at hello[at]piqolokids.com.


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