Family Vacation: Booking



It’s time for our annual family vacation, wherein I put my children in a car for eight hours, spend a week corralling them in a strange environment, then squeeze back into the car for the exhausted drive home. We stay in the same place every year, and I have to remind myself each year that this place caters more toward an older generation than my own. It does highlight some omissions in the planning and booking stage.

Although we are loyal to our chosen property, I always check reviews and social media for anything new before we book. This particular place has abandoned its Facebook page, and has never been on another social or review site as far as I can find. If I wasn’t already emotionally invested with this place, I would skip it. Review site and social media presence tell me that a hotel is genuinely invested in the guest experience; they want to know what guests have to say and they take the time to listen and respond. A lack thereof (especially an almost non-existent online presence) suggests an outdated property and unwillingness to listen.

Along the same lines, I will also visit their website once or twice when I start to get cabin fever and anxious for a break. Maybe this happens more than once or twice. Maybe a lot more. At this point, I’m looking for a good idea of what to expect on arrival. What does the lobby look like, where is the desk, and how are the rooms set up? For me, this phase is mostly about familiarity, but is also about setting up expectations. I want a good feel for the environment and maybe to spend a few moments daydreaming. This particular property has an excellent variety of photos and videos that showcase the property, but needs to update their site for compatibility across browsers and devices.

I tried to find some recommendations on their website, but they only offer one – an expensive, early morning lobby breakfast one day a week. I would like to see a variety of things to do, for various interests and age groups, both on and off the property. I do know the area well, but a few fresh ideas would be helpful.

This property does not employ modern means for booking (internet, mobile), so I booked via telephone. While I personally prefer not making calls, the process was quick, friendly, and efficient.

All of this aside, a great travel experience is my goal, and I know that this property has been able to provide that in the past. They have guest experience and loyalty down to an art, but may need to update if they want to continue to see new guests over the next few years.