|Photo by Residence Inn by Marriott|
Residence Inn by Marriott hosted its Kids Round Table on Travel on August 3 for a look at how hotels can use new technology and customizable rooms to appeal to the next generation of travelers.
Children on the roundtable shared key features they would like to see in a hotel of the future, including guestroom access by fingerprint, walls that change color at the touch of a button, design elements guests can determine before they arrive, a microwave that cooks anything you want or even a robot butler.
• Customized experiences with a tech twist: Aside from whimsical desires for endless free ice cream, water slides and entire floors dedicated to “fun,” kids want to be in control of their travel experiences, from pre-ordering in-room snacks to deciding hotel room amenities. Hoteliers shouldn’t underestimate the importance of the bed itself. Ideas ranged from mattresses/pillows that can adjust firmness based on personal preference, to mechanisms specifically designed for light sleepers (sound proofing) or heavy sleepers (an alarm-enhanced pillow).
• Emotional motivation of family time on the road: When asked to cite the best part of traveling with their families, the kids mentioned the emotional experiences and importance of sharing memories. Connecting with family, seeing relatives who live abroad and spending quality time with loved ones ranked most meaningful.
• Getting there is half the fun…or at least it will be in the future: Forget long family road trips packed into a station wagon. Flying cars, teleports, Google driverless cars, hovercrafts and jet packs are the predictions that the roundtable kids made for future transportation methods. In fact, half of the attendees believe that they will one day have the option to holiday on the moon.
“These children have very different expectations, views and opinions of travel than our guests today. Their world is technologically advanced and there is no limit to their imagination,” said Diane Mayer, vice president and global brand manager, Residence Inn. “We host a lot of families with children at Residence Inn. Who knows, we might test some of these out-of-the-box ideas in the near future.”
Residence Inn by Marriott’s Kids Roundtable on Travel took place at the Residence Inn New York Manhattan/Midtown East. In order to target a subsection of well-traveled children, Residence Inn partnered with innovative family website MacaroniKid.com to select 10 participants, ranging in age from eight to 12 years old.