My Review From a Recent Stay: The Pros & Cons
I had a recent family vacation where we stayed at a family resort and had an amazing experience. I wanted to break down everything that they were doing so very right and as well as a few just small missed opportunities that I noticed as well.
(Note: If you didn't catch the recent post I did on 2019 vacation rental amenities, be sure to check that one out after this as well as this provides some nice background as to why I list these pros & cons).
I'll first cover everything that they were doing right, and then we'll break down a few of the missed opportunities as well.
But first, a little bit of background, before we get started. The stay I'm breaking down is a family-friendly resort. While it wasn't a vacation rental, they are very closely aligned, because there are so many similarities that I saw with our own vacation rental business.
I always draw so much inspiration from traveling and this stay was no exception. The owners of this resort really created this great experience that aligned with their ideal guest.
They very clearly knew that their ideal guest was a family, and everything they did was thinking about what would appeal to that family. I'll break down what appealed to us, as a multi-generational family coming to this resort.
Let's First Talk About What They Got Right...
1.) The Welcome Basket
Right off the bat they nailed the welcome basket. It was this cute, little basket that very much fit the theme of their cabins, and inside of it they had some fish food for the kids to go feed the fish in their stocked pond.
It was a great, thoughtful welcome basket that really just worked well for what they had to offer, since one of their big amenities and features is this stocked pond and it was a really nice touch.
Along with the welcome basket, they were sure to let us know that they had fishing poles for both children and adults, if we needed any for our stay. I thought that was just, right off the bat, they hit the nail on the head.
2.) Family Activities
The next thing that they really did right, knowing that they're attracting so many families to their resort, is they thought about all the right family activities. These were both small and large.
To start with, in every cabin they had a peg game similar to this:
I don't know if you've seen it before but I was familiar with it from in my childhood we would go to Cracker Barrel, and these would be on all the tables at the restaurant. It's a brain teaser game, where you try to get down to one peg. It's a $5 game you can buy on Amazon here.
It was such a bonding activity for our family, and we were having competitions the whole time we were there on who could get down to one peg. So, it was a small, thoughtful gesture that really invited the family to bond over this small, simple game (and...my kids loved it so much that I had to buy one for our house as well!).
The next thing that they did was every single cabin had its very own fire pit and every single cabin had their fire pit going every single night.
It's just such a great way to wind down after the long day at the parks, and it was just really nice to spend that quality time with the family, you know, roast marshmallows and have some s'mores.
I can also speak from experience that we put a fire pit in a few years ago, and it often gets mentioned and is really appreciated by our guests. So, a fire pit is always a big hit!
The other family activity that they provided were yard games that you could go check-out. They had bags (i.e. corn hole), ladder golf, ring toss, just all of these great family games where you need a little bit of yard space, and that's about it and you're ready for some friendly competition!
As a mom of two young children, I REALLY appreciated this area.
As most young families can probably relate, we travel with A LOT of stuff. Particularly, a lot of BAGS!
I loved how they had designed their bathrooms - they had incorporated a locker room system into their bathroom which allowed us to stay super organized because there were plenty of hooks, shelves and storage.
It was similar to the image below and something I had never seen before in a vacation rental. So smart!
If you don't have the space for something like this, the takeaway here is: are you making it easy for your guests to put their storage away and stay organized?
4.) Review Reminder
The last thing that they did was they had a business card holder right by the door. It just had some business cards in there, and it was asking for you to leave a review.
They wanted to build their review count on TripAdvisor, so they were asking and reminding you to go to TripAdvisor, to leave that review. So, I thought that was just a really good touch, and an extra reminder, and a takeaway to go leave your review if you had a great stay.
Now, Let's Talk About the Areas That Needed Improvement...
To be honest, this feels really nit picky, because it was wonderful. I said it before. If I could leave them six stars, I absolutely would.
This did not take away from the experience, but just little observations that I actually didn't come up with on my own, but my mother-in-law and father-in-law pointed these ones out (it's always interesting to hear other people's perspectives and what's important to them!).
They pointed out (which was a pretty good takeaway, and this is easily fixable), is there was only one kitchen dishtowel for the entire stay, for 10 people. By the end of our three day stay it was pretty gross!
That's just a little, easy thing that could be fixed. You should be providing several of these, and in my Vacation Rental Amenities Checklist, it gives guidelines for the quantity that you should be providing with all of your towels and linens, etc.
Also, we noticed that there was absolutely no tissue in the place! They didn't provide tissue for the guests and this goes back down to in previous amenities videos I talk about these basics, and the essentials, and what needs to be included. This goes back to that rule of thumb, if a standard hotel is providing it, you probably should too.
And honestly, that was about it. I have to say it was an extraordinary experience and I've already recommended several of my friends that are looking to travel to this area.
If you are at all in the Midwest, it's a little resort called Lincoln Pines Lakefront Resort. It's was adorable, and it's about five minutes from Holiday World, which is the theme park that is in that area.
So, it was a great stay and a great, little, family getaway. As you'll see, amenities were a big theme throughout this post.
I love talking about amenities, and I think that it's the thing that really can set you apart and get your guests coming back year after year.
I created an Amenities Checklist you can use as a guide to make sure you're providing all the essentials, extras and more for your guests!