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Family programs to capitalize on holiday

Updated: Jul 18, 2022 China Daily Print
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Summer camps include activities that are fun for children and offer respite for parents

With summer in full swing, hotels are rolling out products for families with children as the recovering industry aims to make the most of the holiday season.

Summer is the ideal time for families with children to have a getaway. Online travel agency Ctrip saw bookings by families with children increase by nearly 400 percent week-on-week, China Tourism News reported on July 7.

Kempinski Hotel Beijing Lufthansa Center has rolled out a camping experience for children, which includes activities such as craftwork classes, yoga and field trips to learn about plants.

Parents can enjoy some leisure time over an afternoon tea in the hotel while staff members accompany their children, China Tourism News reported.

A fresh season of Hilton's kids' passport program kicked off ahead of Children's Day on June 1 in 10 of its hotels across four cities in South China's Guangdong province. They are Guangzhou, Foshan, Yingde and Heyuan.

The experiences are divided into four categories of food, culture, nature and physical activities. Participants receive a stamp each time they take part in the program, which they can collect to redeem gifts in any of the 10 hotels.

Summer camps are an important parent-child product and hotels can kick-start their recovery with summer camp programs, Zhao Huanyan, chief knowledge officer at Huamei Consulting Group based in the southern city of Shenzhen, told Beijing Business Today.

For many parents, it is important that their kids learn something while having fun.

"I have signed my child up for a summer camp run by a hotel because my child finds the classes interesting and can also learn something from them," a parent surnamed Zhang told Beijing Business Today.

She said some activities in the summer camp can increase kids' attention span, improve their judgment and enhance their self-confidence and sense of accomplishment.

Her view was echoed by a Beijing parent surnamed Zhou. He told Beijing Business Today that what parents care most about is whether a summer camp can provide distinctive courses that are educational as well as enjoyable.

Hotels have apparently taken notice of this demand.

Brave Surfers Camp, Deep Sea Exploration Camp and Into the Sky Camp are all part of a summer program offered by Shangri-La Sanya in the southern island province of Hainan.

Lin Zhang, a junior middle school student from the northeastern province of Jilin, asked his mother to sign him up after the program came out.

"Diving and surfing sound so cool," Lin told China Tourism News. "My classmates and I have made a deal to learn these skills as soon as our summer vacation kicks off."

Club Med Joyview Beijing Yanqing Resort and Miniversity, an "edutainment" brand of Chinese tourism company Fosun, have jointly launched a sports camp. It teaches seven sports including golf, horse riding and floor curling, Beijing Business Today reported.

To set themselves apart, hotels need to refine their offerings and make them more unique, industry insiders say.

An executive with Chinese hospitality company Delonix suggested that hotels make their packages more age-specific by including, for instance, a sandbox activity for the little ones and activities such as archery and tie-dyeing for older children, China Tourism News reported.

Xia Zifan, a senior expert in hotel brand management, suggested that hotels set up indoor water play facilities to help their youngest guests stay cool in the summer heat, China Tourism News reported.

Leveraging local resources can also add to the uniqueness of hotels' offerings.

"For example, the First World Hotel in Hangzhou (in East China's Zhejiang province) has brought the fun activities from a nearby playground to its lobby and corridors,"Gu Xiaochun, an executive of local hotel management company Hanggai, told China Tourism News.

"Children can play and take photos with staff members dressed as characters from fairy tales in the hotel as well as the playground," Gu said.

Hilton Wenchang, which is kilometers away from the Wenchang Space Launch Center in Hainan province, has set up an indoor space-themed exhibition in collaboration with the China Center for Aerospace Science and Technology International Communications.

Besides enjoying the exhibition, parents and children can learn about outer space at classes offered by the hotel.

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