Amenites for children

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Somewhere in Paradise

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For those of you who allow children or even try to woo parents with kids - What type of things do you offer? For example pack n plays, highchairs, infant baths, toys, swingsets, access to laundry?
Do you feel that offering these items increases your bookings?
Do you charge for them?
I know from recent experience travelling with my 6 month old son how awesome it is to have those items available rather than lugging them. Especially because we usually have to take a plane when we travel since we live on an island.
I was also wondering if you feel it is worth the extra effort to offer these items in terms of purchasing them, set up and upkeep.
 

bbinnsitters

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I would think if you are going to cater to guests with children you should have all the amenities needed. The problem would be in how many of everything you need. If you have 4 rooms do you need 4 highchairs in case you are booked and every guest has a child that needs a highchair!? That could get quite expensive for you and no, I don't think you can charge extra for them. Just my personal opinion. We'll see what the experts say!
 

Somewhere in Paradise

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I would think if you are going to cater to guests with children you should have all the amenities needed. The problem would be in how many of everything you need. If you have 4 rooms do you need 4 highchairs in case you are booked and every guest has a child that needs a highchair!? That could get quite expensive for you and no, I don't think you can charge extra for them. Just my personal opinion. We'll see what the experts say!.
I see your point. I am looking on craigslist for pack n plays and highchairs. I don't imagine it could cost more that 60.00 per room. I was thinking about getting one set then if I had a situation like that I would decide if the booking was worth the expenditure. I have priced out walmart and its 45.00 for a new pack n play and 40 for a highchair.
 

YellowSocks

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We cater to kids.
I have twins, so I already had two high chairs, two booster seats, a pack and play, and more.
No, of course there is no charge.
The vast majority of the time most of the stuff isn't needed. When it is, it is rare that more than one is needed at a time. You can probably get it at yard sales, thrift shops, and online.
I would say you'd do fine with a pack and play, some kind of covered trash (for diapers) or a diaper disposer (NOT a diaper genie since you won't use it that much), and either a high chair or a booster seat or one of each. We have these nifty folding booster seats that work fine for any kid that can sit up... smaller kids will probably have some kind of carrier they can just sit in. And we have the limosine of high chairs... it can go down and the kid can sit at the table without the tray.
Depending on the layout of your B&B you might also want a baby gate or two... the room we have that's best for kids is on the top floor and has stairs within the room, so if the family has a baby we definitely need the gate.
I think we've used both high chairs once, maybe, but it's rare to use them at all. (We also have four rooms.) In addition to the cost, there is the consideration of where to keep all this stuff!
Good luck!
=)
Kk.
 

gillumhouse

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I was looking for a doll highchair because of all the dolls my aunt left behind and a local man gave me HIS wood highchair from when he was a baby! (He did not ask for it back when his grands were born either!) When my son was coming with his then 11 month old I bought a porta-crib (I guess that is a pac & play?) and a gate. We had spring-loaded canvas cots from our camping days and they are low to the ground - great for toddlers or adults. Charge for cots but not the other stuff.
 

EmptyNest

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HOnestly, I don't think it is your responsiblity to provide all of these things for people.
It would be more convenient for guests if you did have some of them but I wouldn't knock myself out purchasing all that stuff.
If you have some, then marketing that you do have the stuff, maybe it would get you more families...if that is what you want. I wouldn't charge more per se..but I would build in some of the costs into your rate.
 

gillumhouse

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HOnestly, I don't think it is your responsiblity to provide all of these things for people.
It would be more convenient for guests if you did have some of them but I wouldn't knock myself out purchasing all that stuff.
If you have some, then marketing that you do have the stuff, maybe it would get you more families...if that is what you want. I wouldn't charge more per se..but I would build in some of the costs into your rate..
How would one build those costs into the rate? We do not charge extra for a room because we bought a new chair. You cannot charge more just because they have a child - unless you make it an extra person charge. With hotels no extra charge for children that does not make sense in my opinion.
If people are traveling with kids they need a place to stay and I will take them and I will provide what I have but will not go out and buy anything else. I have what I do because of visiting grandchildren and it is usable for the business also.
 

seashanty

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this is a real niche if there are other b&b's in your area that cater to adults ... that you are not just taking children because you have to, but you want to.
i took child guests because it was the law where i was but i worried the whole time ~ i guess i'll leave out all the details.
other than sturdy booster seats and equally sturdy high chairs, and gates to keep them out of specified areas, i would want them to bring their own baby gear because it seems there's always some recall or safety issue that i wouldn't want to get in the middle of.
laundry ... hmmm. i had guests wanting to do laundry. there wasn't a laundromat for 20 miles around. so they'd wash things in the tub or sink and hang them all over the room, NOT a good thing. if it can be done so that it's not a nuisance to you and won't interfere with how much washing you have to do, i'd set a price (not a low one) and figure out how to make it work. one place i stayed had a dollar operated washer/dryer for guests. it wasn't cheap but i was happy to be able to launder a few of my things! maybe you can find a used one on craigslist if you find this is a popular thing.
do you have an enclosed play area for children? are you on a quiet street? make up your rules for children being supervised by an adult at all times.
good luck!
 

YellowSocks

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It's a niche, and a good one. We travel with our kids and so do others. There are many excellent romantic B&B's in the area, and then there's us. It's like any other market segment... what can you do to differentiate yourself from others around you? No one else around here takes kids (or has wifi for that matter), so that's our niche.
As far as safety... it's the same as any guest. The guest I had that twisted her ankle was way more of a concern than a kid sitting in a high chair that my kids have already thoroughly tested.
As far as charges... it's up to you. We have kids under 10 are free... and we often waive the charges for kids over 10. (But never if they ask me to! Which is also my policy on extra people in a room... sometimes I might waive the charge, but never if they ask me to!)
It's not a responsibility to provide this stuff... but it's definitely a marketable amenity. If we can buy fans and wine chillers and TVs and dvd players, we can buy a high chair and a pack and play. It's not that big of a deal, and it adds to our marketability. When I traveled with babies I packed everything, but if I knew I didn't have to it gave me a LOT more room in my little car!
=)
Kk.
 

Penelope

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Where I work, it's "no children under 12", which has been waived from time to time depending on the circumstances.
When my hubby's aunt died a few years back, we had to tote an 20 month old and an 8 month old cross country for the funeral. It was by pure luck that we found a place to stay (B&B) that a) allowed children and b) offered a pack-n-play for them to be able to sleep in. I'm thinking it was a matter of two things: a) less laundry (size wise) if said child has accident, and b) a small measure of safety for both owners and parents knowing that there was a safe place to put the child down. It was also a huge relief for me in that I didn't have to pack all that stuff in my car, therefore taking up precious cargo room!
When I am an owner, chances are, I'll accept children becuase I have them and I know what it's like to travel with them. I also don't think, then, at that point, I'd be able to market myself as a romantic getaway... Not saying that being one kind means that you can't be the other kind, but they seem to exlcude each other in different ways.
 

sgirouard

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I've been pondering this thread. We've spent a very decent amount of time on the road since our oldest (almost 7) was born. Most of what's above I agree is helpful (apck-n-play, high chair/booster). I;m trying to think of the things that were helpful that I didn't expect to be provided but were available.
  • diaper genie. Yes, you can use a pail/trashcan, but the nice thing about gadget like the diaper genie is the liners - they individually wrap each discarded diaper, which WAY cuts down on (or even eliminates) the smell factor. Plus, when you empty it, no one touches diapers. I never expected to see one of these in a lodging facility, but since the first time I did, I learned to ask and have been surprised how many places have them.
  • Bed rails. The only thing I would say is if the bed isn't up against the wall, then there really ought to be one on each side of the bed. (The first time we stayed at a hotel that had these, I was pleasantly surprised and requested them...then they showed up with ONE. I called housekeeping and explained my kid would just roll out the other side of the bed - they went, "Oh, yeah! and sent us another. It's a detail to consider). Bed rails are available that collapse down so they take up small amounts of space for storage.
  • Bottles and a sterilizer. OKAY, JUST HEAR ME OUT. I would never have volunteered to use someone elses bottles, etc. (Eww.) But, on one trip, our hotel provided information that they did have them available to borrow. I *can* imagine if I was a mom with a little one, in a strange city, limited transportation, or luggage got lost - whatever - I would be grateful to borrow something like this until I could replace it with my own supplies. I don't think this has to be complicated - one could even just provide bottles that use the dispoable liners, eliminating the need for a sterilizer. There are also sterilizers that go in the microwave...I doubt this is a direction I would go myself, but if you're going to cater to/welcome families, it's something to consider.
  • Bag/basket of safe toys. By safe, I mean not only safe for children, but safe for the house. Things I would think about:
    • foam blocks (I love wooded blocks, but my own children have taught me they make very scary missles.)
    • washable crayons and coloring books.
    • board games (bingo, cards, checkerboard mats & checkers)
    • dominoes (great for lining up & knocking down, or building. Oh, and you can play dominoes, too)
    • Maybe some megablock type toys (I personally would avoid small lego-sized block sfor lots of reasons). Bristle blocks have been a big hit with every kid I've seen around them.
Again, I'm posting as a traveling parent, here. Honestly, as an aspiring, I am just not sure what I'd do and what I wouldn't. For example, I'm sure (it's easy to be sure when you're not doing it
) we'd keep a pack-n-play, but I doubt I'd stock bottles...
 

JBloggs

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Unless you have all those things and tons of storage - I wouldn't purposely buy it.
There is so much we have to store as it is, and yet still be able to live here as well.
To me, what would be appreciated it not all the pack and plays and equipment, a little goody bag of toys and books and coloring books (age approp) would be fantastic! Any kid would be over the moon at having that.
Babies are a whole other ball game - they can travel super easy and light when on a trip, or the parents can tow a u-haul behind them they have so much stuff.
K.I.S.S. you aren't running a daycare.
 

Morticia

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Children do come here but we do not try to pretend we know what parents want in the way of gear. If I were to provide something 'down market' I'd hear about it. We tell parents we do not have any gear, they need to bring whatever gadgets their kids will need. Some parents are very casual and others are wound up tighter than an 8 day clock when it comes to safety. Providing that parent with something that wasn't up to their standards would not work for us.
I do have games, toys, books and some outside toys. These are mostly for keeping toddlers quiet during breakfast.
I have sippy cups that kids seem to like because they may not have 'that' one at home. I'm going to get some kiddie plates, too.
 

Morticia

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HOnestly, I don't think it is your responsiblity to provide all of these things for people.
It would be more convenient for guests if you did have some of them but I wouldn't knock myself out purchasing all that stuff.
If you have some, then marketing that you do have the stuff, maybe it would get you more families...if that is what you want. I wouldn't charge more per se..but I would build in some of the costs into your rate..
How would one build those costs into the rate? We do not charge extra for a room because we bought a new chair. You cannot charge more just because they have a child - unless you make it an extra person charge. With hotels no extra charge for children that does not make sense in my opinion.
If people are traveling with kids they need a place to stay and I will take them and I will provide what I have but will not go out and buy anything else. I have what I do because of visiting grandchildren and it is usable for the business also.
.
We charge for every person over the age of 1. Yes, we lose business to the hotels. Don't care.
 

gillumhouse

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Children do come here but we do not try to pretend we know what parents want in the way of gear. If I were to provide something 'down market' I'd hear about it. We tell parents we do not have any gear, they need to bring whatever gadgets their kids will need. Some parents are very casual and others are wound up tighter than an 8 day clock when it comes to safety. Providing that parent with something that wasn't up to their standards would not work for us.
I do have games, toys, books and some outside toys. These are mostly for keeping toddlers quiet during breakfast.
I have sippy cups that kids seem to like because they may not have 'that' one at home. I'm going to get some kiddie plates, too..
One of my sets of silver came with a child's place setting and that is ooo'ed about by the Moms.
 

YellowSocks

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Children do come here but we do not try to pretend we know what parents want in the way of gear. If I were to provide something 'down market' I'd hear about it. We tell parents we do not have any gear, they need to bring whatever gadgets their kids will need. Some parents are very casual and others are wound up tighter than an 8 day clock when it comes to safety. Providing that parent with something that wasn't up to their standards would not work for us.
I do have games, toys, books and some outside toys. These are mostly for keeping toddlers quiet during breakfast.
I have sippy cups that kids seem to like because they may not have 'that' one at home. I'm going to get some kiddie plates, too..
One of my sets of silver came with a child's place setting and that is ooo'ed about by the Moms.
.
gillumhouse said:
One of my sets of silver came with a child's place setting and that is ooo'ed about by the Moms.
OK, now I'm jealous!
=)
Kk.
 

birdwatcher

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We accept kids as well, have a high chair, but thinking of getting a pack and play. Only have had two babies in the B & B so not much for that although there is a niche for families, I have 6 kids with hubbie (they are all grown now) but the norm is two kids if you have more than 3 its a problem...so that said, I would not go as far as that long list of stuff.
We do have strict policies of parents ALWAYS being with the kids.
 
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