Resorts Remain a Favorite for Family Travel

by Jessica Montevago
Resorts Remain a Favorite for Family Travel

Find out how top brands are catering to the needs and wants of families traveling together, from accommodations to activities to special services. Photo: Hard Rock

Traveling with family is a special experience to create new, lifelong memories with loved ones. Parents and grandparents increasingly see the value in these trips, giving everyone the chance to unplug and reconnect. In fact, traveling with the family – including kids and grandparents – is the top travel trend, according to Virtuoso’s 2019 Luxe Report.

While other sectors, like adventure travel and cruising, have seen a rise in multigenerational travel, resorts are still a tried-and-true favorite for families. Proving the opportunity to both unwind in the sun, and provide activities from water sports to exploring islands, resorts can cater to a wide array of family interests. 

Many resorts have taken notice, and have increasingly introduced more family-friendly amenities.

Serving the whole family
At the recent Markethub Americas by Hotelbeds, Travel Market Report spoke to Leonel Reyes, corporate director of sales, Latin America, for RCD Hotels, which operates brands such as the Hard Rock All Inclusive Collection.

Reyes said it is important to focus on the whole family segment, including preteens and teenagers, who can sometimes get left out of the mix in favor of kids’ clubs for smaller children. 

“Because we are a music brand, we have activities for all ages of teenagers and kids, where they can record a video singing or make music with instruments that we have. They really feel the music.”

Additionally, a water park is being built in Hard Rock Riviera Maya and a second one is in the works at Hard Rock Punta Cana.

What’s more, Reyes said there’s no better way to have these complex trips planned, sometimes with large group numbers or flights out of multiple cities, than with a travel advisor.

“Travel agents are still doing one important part of the business; there are people, me for example, that want someone to take care of their vacation, especially when we are talking about the luxury segment. They need to have people take care of them. They need an agent’s support during their stay.”

Grand Hyatt Baha Mar, too, sees the value in families. While it’s geared towards adults, it is such a large resort, at 1,800 rooms, that families help take up some of that space, Cari Abonador-Alexander, director of wholesale and leisure sales, said. The two-year old resort opened a family plan to offer 50 percent off a second room for children 18 and under.

Grand Hyatt Baha Mar has also introduced babysitting, children activities, and movie nights. “There are activities geared towards children, so the adults can enjoy themselves,” Abonador-Alexander said, who sees younger families during spring break and multigenerational groups over the summer.

“There is so much truth to the Bahamas turquoise waters,” Abonador-Alexander said. Families can enjoy the pristine setting with paddle boards, kayaks, and other various water toys at the resort’s 3,000-foot stretch of Cable Beach. For those who favor the pool, there are fun extras like a cave, shark tank, and rock jumping, that keep the young ones busy.

Mexico remains a leader for family travel
According to the Virtuoso Luxe Report, Mexico ranked the second most popular family travel destination.

At the Grand Palladium Costa Mujeres Resort & Spa, where the Markethub conference was held, families can take advantage of the Family Selection service, which provides exclusive areas and organized activities, including a dedicated family pool, and a daily themed program of activities at the baby club (for 1- to 3-year-olds), the kids club (for 4- to 12-year-olds) and the teens club (for kids aged 11 up).

Specialized room accommodations are available, as well. The family-oriented Selection Junior Suite sleeps up to four people with one king-size bed or two queen-size beds. Amenities include a pillow menu for both children and adults, and a special children’s turn-down service, as well as a welcome kit for each child. For larger groups, the Connecting Suite sleeps up to eight, with two connected Junior Suites. Both include one king-size bed or two queen-size beds.

Additionally, Mexico’s Velas Resorts is launching several new activities and services for kids. With family-friendly properties in Los Cabos, Riviera Maya, Riviera Nayarit and Puerto Vallarta, the resort collection also features complimentary stays for kids, discounted rates for teens, dedicated kids’ and teen clubs, baby concierge, and gourmet baby food this summer. A dedicated Summer Camp with glamping, climbing walls, zipline, bungee, nightly shows, and drive-in movies, also runs from July 12 to August 11 at the resorts.

For those with thrill-seeking kids, debuting this month at Barceló Maya Grand Resort, is Ventura Fly & Ride Park, the first adventure park housed in a Riviera Maya hotel. The park specializes in high-altitude rides, including seven palm-tree-scaping ziplines; the water-bound AquaZip zipline; Plane Coaster, a gravity-driven roller coaster that rides past views of the ocean and the tropical jungle; and Bungee Swing, an oversized bungee cord. Guests who prefer on-ground thrills can drive Go Karts Drifts on more than 1,200 feet of curves; or trek Off-Road Polaris or maneuver four-wheel vehicles on a closed-circuit track.

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