I just got back from a trip to Washington, DC with the family, and while the Hyatt Place was great I can’t help but think there’s an opportunity for a chain that wants to be the McDonald’s of the hotel world. And by “the McDonald’s of the hotel world” I don’t mean barely acceptable, lowest common denominator budget lodging; I mean something that kids will annoy their parents about.
McDonald’s is pretty good about marketing to kids so that kids will bug their parents to take them to McDonald’s. My kids don’t even see any commercials (Netflix household here) yet the McDonald’s evil geniuses have nonetheless sunk their hooks into my children. If we’re on the road and want to eat, they demand McDonald’s. So what would a hotel aimed at children look like? Just like McDonald’s, it would have a lot of sugar. Here’s how I imagine the McRooms hotel chain:
- Free breakfast with lots of sugary cereals. Sure, you might be able to score some Froot Loops at a standard chain hotel’s free breakfast, and maybe some Frosted Flakes, but what about the Lucky Charms? Trix? Cocoa Crispies? Ideally there would be a sugary cereal bar with about 20 different brightly-colored cereals. You’d also want some similarly-colored doughnuts.
- One of those indoor play areas like they have at some fast food restaurants. Preferably without that play area smell assuming such a thing is possible. And you’d want a coffee bar with wi-fi located right next to the play area so parents can chill.
- Afternoon snacks. This doesn’t have to be elaborate–it can just be a box of graham crackers and the kids will be happy. If you really want to win the kids over, you can add a self-serve soda fountain as well.
- High-quality mattress protectors. Hopefully hotels are already using these, but if not… kids tend to barf and pee on beds more than the typical adult. Make cleanliness a selling point for worried parents.
- A wading pool for small kids. If you’re at a hotel with kids who haven’t learned to swim yet then whenever you’re at the pool you need one adult handling that kid the entire time you’re in the water. If there’s a wading pool, you can relax a little, especially if you have kids wearing those swim diapers, which frankly I’ve never trusted 100%.
- Bunk beds. Bunk beds are more fun than regular beds, plus they save space and make the hotel room seem bigger. Win-win! You could even have a trundle bed beneath the bottom bunk for families with five kids and/or families with young kids who don’t want to use the top bunk.
- Video games in the hotel room. Hotel rooms can be a little confining, so the more child-pacification options you have the better.
- Free lollipops when you check out. The kids’ last memory as they leave the hotel will be the free lollipop, so you bet they’re going to want to come back.
So who’s ready for a trip to McRooms?