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As hotels and resorts begin to welcome back guests or prepare for a later reopening, travel advisors and their clients should expect the on-property experience to look very different. New health and safety protocols will be in place, and many changes apply to kids’ clubs, too.
Here are some adjustments to the kids’ club experience for resort-goers to anticipate during and after COVID-19.
Enhanced Cleaning and Safety MeasuresThe most significant changes will encompass newly required health and safety measures.
Playa Hotels & Resorts has introduced a number of ways to make its kids’ club experience safer for guests during the COVID-19 pandemic. This includes setting aside one hour per day to close the kids’ club facility so that it can be deep-cleaned. Staff will also clean and disinfect all equipment used by young travelers every 90 minutes or directly after each use. In addition, children must be picked up directly by their parents outside of the kids’ club when they are ready to leave.
Similarly, all Club Med Children’s Clubs’ staff will be sanitizing equipment after use, and participating guests will each be provided with their own piece of play equipment — such as a kayak — for any on-property activities. Required at the Children’s Clubs are temperature checks upon entry; mask wearing by all employees; and a set hand-washing time every hour during activities. Club Med also asks that only one parent or guardian drop off children on-site.
Sabrina Cendral, senior vice president of marketing and sales for Club Med North America, says that although guests should expect operational changes to the resorts’ Children’s Clubs, the team is also working to keep the overall experience the same.
“Our goal is to always keep our Club Med spirit alive across all of our resorts,” she said. “While we have enhanced our health and hygiene protocols, we are continually working to ensure the integrity of our Children’s Clubs programming remains.”
While we have enhanced our health and hygiene protocols, we are continually working to ensure the integrity of our Children’s Clubs programming remains.
Beaches Resorts’ Kids Camp programs have taken a number of similar steps in the way of health and safety, from staggering pickup and drop-off times to implementing three programming time slots for daily activities.
Gary Sadler, senior vice president of sales at Unique Vacations, Inc., an affiliate of Unique Travel Corp., says feedback has been “overwhelmingly positive” from guests who have recently stayed at Beaches Negril.
“Guests can expect that same quality experience at all Beaches Resorts,” he said. “When families visit [a Beaches property], they can expect the Kids Camp to be operating with health and safety in mind, reduced capacities, physical distancing practices and regularly scheduled cleanliness protocols strictly enforced.”
Alternative Programming Several resorts have also added new socially-distant activities as an alternative to regular programming.
Four Seasons Resort Punta Mita, for example, has redesigned its kids’ program to include private activities such as in-villa pinata parties, poolside celebrations, silent discos, nature hunts, bedtime stories and dive-in movie nights set in plunge pools. Little ones will also receive a “Welcome to Paradise” kit upon arrival to the resort, complete with art supplies to craft on their own.
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For the past few months, Club Med has offered “Club Med at Home” — a rotating virtual series of activities inspired by their Children’s Club. Holiday-themed programming is up next.
What’s more, many resorts will continue to introduce new outdoor activities to allow for a safer experience for both guests and staff.
Reduced Capacity Most kids’ clubs — such as those at Beaches Resorts and Club Med properties — have reduced their capacity.
Besides making social distancing easier, reduced capacity allows for an increased staff-to-child ratio — leading to more individualized care and attention, says Club Med’s Cendral.
“Even with these safety measures in place, our goal is to ensure the kids are safe while also having a great time playing, meeting friends from around the world and learning new activities and sports,” she said.
Support for Remote LearningFour Seasons Resort Punta Mita also has expanded its “Kids for All Seasons” program to support remote learning. The new “Knowledge for All Seasons” program will include a tech hotline; a study buddy program; and after-school sports and classes focused on art, culture and history.
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Playa Hotels & Resorts is also reconfiguring some of its products by adding additional components — such as private cabana offerings — for guests looking for an extended stay experience. That way, parents can work remotely, and kids can access online learning. This will include options for a shared office space with high-speed Wi-Fi access, as well childcare services, personalized activities and educational experiences for children.
One interesting emerging trend, according to Kevin Froemming, executive vice president and chief commercial officer for Playa Hotels & Resorts, is the realization that remote work and remote learning doesn’t necessarily mean the guest must “work from home or learn from home.”
“Some arriving guests have just grown weary of the same four walls and are in desperate need of a change in scenery or relief from the day‐to‐day monotony,” he said.
The DetailsClub Medwww.clubmed.us
Four Seasons Resort Punta Mitawww.fourseasons.com/puntamita
Playa Hotels & Resortswww.playaresorts.com