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How in-store kids’ play area can boost family bookings

Creating a dedicated in-store kids’ play area can be a savvy move to boost family bookings and create a welcoming environment for both parents and children.

TRFBLI
Prestbury Travel shop in Bramhall
Prestbury Travel shop in Bramhall

When the Prestbury Travel team in Bramhall moved to new premises three years ago, alongside a spacious front office they inherited a 126-square-foot stock room.

 

Senior travel consultant Dawn Letham explains: “It could have become a brochure room, but we felt it would be much more beneficial to us and our clients if we made it into a kids’ area.”

 

As part of the shop’s refurbishment, the space was painted and transformed into an enticing area for youngsters.

 

It echoes the shop’s bright and modern decor and world map theme, as children can play with a giant foam puzzle mat featuring all the continents, and relax on beanbags covered in map fabric.

 

A cabinet houses books, paper, crayons and jigsaws, alongside a legion of soft toys, and there’s an inviting tepee.

 

Letham explains: “We go in each morning and tidy everything up, but it doesn’t take long to maintain it. We want it to look inviting for the kids to play in.”

 

Children have thoroughly enjoyed having a dedicated space.

 

“They just love it,” Letham adds. “It’s normally used by children aged four and upwards, while 12-year-olds were in there recently, and they happily played.”

Family appeal

Family appeal

“There shouldn’t be any hurdles for families to take their children on holiday, including during the booking process.”

Prestbury Travel’s kids’ area isn’t just a hit with little ones – it also receives high praise from adults, and puts them in the mood to book, says Letham.

 

“When parents come in it gives them peace of mind, as they know their children are playing in a safe area and they can relax and focus on their booking. The kids often pop out and show their parents a drawing or toy. Parents think it’s brilliant and the only thing they struggle with is getting the kids out again!”

 

The team also offers the space as a quiet zone.

 

“We mention on our Facebook page that the area can be a quiet environment for children with autism or Asperger’s,” Letham says.

 

“There shouldn’t be any hurdles for families to take their children on holiday, including during the booking process.”

 

The space is also used during events, and hosted a colouring competition during a family fun day earlier this month.

 

It will be transformed into a Santa’s Grotto when the village hosts its annual Christmas lights switch-on later this year.

Creative thinking

Creative thinking

“If the kids are happy then the parents are happy… allowing them to focus on the booking process”

At TTNG member Worldchoice Travel Chesterfield, visiting children naturally gravitate towards a colourful bench at the rear of the store while their parents chat to staff.

 

Colouring-in sheets are popular, and colouring competitions are run regularly.

 

The shop also has a dedicated iPad for children, pre-loaded with child-friendly apps, including CBeebies and YouTube Kids.


The agency is located inside a Tesco Extra store, and introduced the dedicated kids’ area seven years ago.

 

Branch manager Stacey Wilson says: “It’s always been really popular. Children love the bench and some will sit there for an hour. It’s very easy to look after, as we just need to sharpen the pencils and blow up some balloons.

 

“If the kids are happy then the parents are happy, and as mums ourselves we know how hard it can be. It means parents can relax, allowing them to concentrate on their booking.”

 

To further enhance children’s experience, there’s a ready supply of biscuits, sweets and juice boxes, which they can enjoy at the bench with their parents’ permission.

 

If space is a concern, follow the lead of Advantage TravelPartnership member Destination in Silsden.

 

After an extensive refurbishment two years ago, the agency introduced a small area for children to play in.

 

It includes a selection of teddies, colouring supplies and a wooden box of toys, which slot neatly into a corner.

 

“It really appeals to pre-schoolers, but older children will happily do some colouring,” partner Shevaun Joy explains.

 

Over at Garstang Travel, the front of the office is home to a small table and chairs for two or three young children to play at.

 

The team opted for quiet toys, but removed colouring pencils after children drew on brochures.

 

The main draw is their popular Duplo airport and playground sets, alongside a selection of picture books and a teddy.

 

Manager Claire Donnelly says: “Parents like that we have considered their children in the booking process.

 

“I’m sure it helps families when making bookings, as the parents are more relaxed and can concentrate with a coffee.

 

“It takes no time at all for us to look after, as we pop everything back in the toy box, and give it a quick clean every week.”

TRFBLI
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