Family Friendly hotels

Independence day nationwide is an occasion for friends and family and, of course, bar-b-que. But despite hotels touting a range of family friendly amenities such as the obligatory pool, game room and even kid themed rooms, most hotels including the major brands remain decidedly kid-unfriendly in terms of in-room video content. The Marriott in Niagara Falls, for instance, is by any account kid friendly with all the amenities that any tot or teen would love including spectacular views of the horse-shoe shaped falls. But it also offers video content that any sentient parent would rather toss out the window into the swirling waters below. Quite obviously it is a problem that bedevils operators across the country.

Most in the industry rely on the two biggies Lodgenet and On Command for movies. Both provide movies and video games and nowadays offer digital video-on-demand services that are a big draw and a must. But they also include sex videos which bring in profits. The numbers, however, are hard to get at even though it evidently is a big part of in-room entertainment. The ratio of clean movies sold to the dirty ones is not something that either company is inclined to release. The menu on the TV does warn viewers of not only the content but also of the charge to the room but with the odd come-on about the film’s title not showing up on the folio – presumably to assuage fears about spouses and bosses skewering guests on their “entertainment”. No doubt hotels are free to curb availability to kids and some do. But at the other end of the spectrum are hotels and resorts that acitively court such business. One such resort is the Kona Kai resort in San Diego that recently was the venue for a technology conference devoted to purveyors of porn. The resort is quite apparently eminently suited for families. However, the presence of a conference such as Cybernetexpo can hardly be conducive to taking one’s family for a vacation.

Hotels and resorts should consider that in a family setting – particularly with teens – it is unfortunate that derogatory material should be there at all. What does it take for a teenager, whilst parents are away from the room, to turn on the the wrong channel? With no control by the hotel over video content, the short answer is nothing. And that’s a shame.

Published by

Vijay Dandapani

Co-founder and president of a New York based hotel company for 24 years. Grew the firm to five hotels in Manhattan and also developed a greenfield project at MacArthur airport, New York. Speaker at numerous prestigious forums including Economy Hotels World Asia, Lodging Conference, NYU, Columbia University Real Estate Roundtable, Baruch College's Zicklin School and ALIS. President and ceo of New York City Hotel Association since January 2017.