I have booked my family and I into the New Park Manor Hotel in the New Forest, its a Family Luxury hotel. I’d never heard of Family Luxury until 6 months ago. The arrival of my daughter a year ago quickly put the brakes on weekend breaks with my wife, so we haven’t been away since she was born.
All the parents out there will hopefully agree that being a parent is wonderful but tough going at times. So when I was told about these hotels that specialise in family breaks I was instantly intrigued.
A quick Google search – naturally, showed me this isn’t one or two hotels but hundreds up and down the country – suddenly I’d had my eyes opened to the ‘Family Luxury’ market. Catering for those couples that want to stay in a nice hotel where the kids are welcomed. We are staying in the New Park Manor, a wonderful 17th century old building with indoor/outdoor pools, spa, sauna, crèche, baby listening service, play room, an amazing restaurant and truly wonderful staff. At £285 a night it doesn’t come cheap but it really does tailor itself perfectly to the families that work hard, want a family break and like the occasional bit of pampering.
You might be asking yourself ‘Why is he writing about family breaks?’ – Am I on net-mums by mistake?!
The issue is not the luxury nor is it the family element – my beef is that Family Luxury is a flawed concept;
- My daughter normally sleeps through the night, but these past 2 nights she has been restless, the unfamiliarity, so as great as the bed is I’ve not spent much time in it,
- At all meals times, in the wonderful Stag Restaurant, I’m surrounded by screaming children throwing food, mine included,
- Our room is lovely with lots of period features and antique furniture, very luxurious, but within 2 minutes of arriving my daughter had emptied all drawers and pulled everything off the shelves,
- It’s 7am, I have been up since 4 with a sleepless child, I can hear other screaming babies – I won’t be the only one at breakfast with bags under their eyes!
I could go on and on pulling out examples, the simple fact is that children and luxury don’t go together yet this hotel has been running for 30 years, it is obviously doing something right. There is clearly a market that can be segmented, marketed at, sold to and potentially repeated – and at nearly £900 for a 2 night stay it’s clearly a profitable market.
How is it possible that a service industry can charge a premium for a service that the customer doesn’t really experience and still be a booming growth sector? This is why I love marketing, advertising and all things creative – there is no rationale to this most human of oxymorons!
Oh, Sophie has just gone to sleep, perfectly timed for breakfast.