Ask any GM or chef what they aspired to be when they grew up and most usually note their current positions in the hotel business. Most of us caught the travel bug at a young age. I personally chose to be in the hotel world when I was 14. Whether it was in our DNA as children of hoteliers or we were just lucky enough to be globe- or country-trotting tots, we had a taste for seeing the world.
Today, when I watch our littlest guests run around the resort, I am pleasantly reminded of my family holidays trekking around Belgium and France. Those were true life experiences, and ultimately experiences that influenced my life choices and career path. In the world of family travel, is your property offering life experiences to remember for the ages, or are you just providing the nuts and bolts of what families come to expect?
Family travel is a profitable market, and many brands have perfected it. Complimentary amenities, free meals, kids club programs, toys and more are essential areas that families come to expect. But what if you offer the unexpected — outside of the Wii and free cookies and milk?
On Lanai, we noticed a trend of like-minded Four Seasons-frequenting children, all of whom had traveled the world over visiting our sister properties and other brands in between. It was time for us, and the kids, to get schooled in hospitality.
Thus, the Hotelier Apprentice Summer Camp program was created. The program was developed exclusively for our little world travelers and offers children the rare opportunity to go behind the scenes in the hospitality industry. From A to Z, the globe-trotting tots can take a crash course with an educational holiday. The program introduces kids to a variety of professions, such as the culinary arts and recreation, through engaging and educational experiences. Children work hand-in-hand with revered resort employees, allowing for an invaluable insight into the diverse career paths of the hospitality field. The feedback from parents has been A+++, and who knows, maybe in 15 years we’ll say, “You’re hired!”
Family memories last longer than plush toys. Keep families engaged, educated and — most of all — excited for the unexpected children’s offerings. You just never know who you may have the honor of influencing.