Modern families live relatively stressful and busy lives. Travel is a form of escape but also an opportunity to bond with key family members. Increasingly, travelers are seeking family-oriented activities that will make the most of their time together. As such, experiential programming and more educational options geared toward children are emerging to engage younger travelers on a deeper level for a longer period of time.
Luxury hotel group Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts is developing innovative programming, designed specifically to cater to families traveling with children. With experiential travel on the rise, many of Shangri-La’s newest kid-friendly options are designed to capitalize on the unique culture of a specific destination.
The Shangri-La Hotel, Doha in Qatar, for example, will offer an Arabian Knights Summer Camp, which introduces children to the rich culture of the Middle East with educational experiences like attending an Arabic falconry class where kids can handle and learn about the historically significant falcon. Also available are lessons for learning how to write Arabic calligraphy, Arabic bread baking and traditional sweets making classes, and camel rides for kids. Additionally, at the Shangri-La Hotel, Guilin in Guilin, China, instead of taking a standard tourist boat ride down the Li River, smaller and more intimate bamboo raft rides are available to adventurous families.
Along with the emergence of family friendly activities geared toward travelers are new initiatives aimed at engaging the local community. In 2017 Shangri-La Hotel, Shenyang, in Shenyang China, launched its second round of “K20 Activities.” This two-day training program, available to travelers and locals, pairs up to 20 children ages five to twelve with professionals at the property for fun “training” sessions that provide insight into the the in’s and out’s of luxury hotel operations.
Shangri-La Hotel, Qufu, located in Qufu, China, which is the hometown of the Chinese Philosopher Confucius, offered a family vacation package geared toward locals and families in neighboring cities looking to spend their Chinese New Year holiday on a regional “staycation.” The program was centered around celebrating the First Writing Ceremony, a traditional ceremony that celebrates children as they begin to learn how to read and write. The program also aimed to get the whole family engaged in the experience of Chinese traditional rites and customs, with a focus on education and discovery by offering classes in cooking and archery — archery was one of Confucius’ six arts.
As families look beyond traditional resort or theme park destinations and dive into the experiential travel movement, achieving the right balance between what children want and what luxury travelers expect, both on vacation and at home, will be a win-win for travelers and hotels alike.
This content is created collaboratively in partnership with our sponsor Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts.