Traveling with children is something that changes most parents’ lives. The anticipation of not knowing how a child will react to an environment and the act of stepping into unknown territory with children can leave any parent apprehensive. Family-friendly accommodations are so important because they help assuage parents’ concerns about space, privacy, safety, and entertainment.
Elsie—a mom and founder of lifestyle empire A Beautiful Mess, the ultimate resource for all things homemade—shares how making your home family-friendly can broaden your audience and increase your bookings. Based in Nashville, Elsie built her business helping parents get creative. Here, she reveals her expert advice for making your home stand out to parents searching for a place to stay—and make traveling with kids more fun.
“My sister Emma and I have always been huge homebodies who grew up staying in a lot and making craft projects together. It’s still very much like that today. We’ve turned our passion for doing things ourselves into A Beautiful Mess, a lifestyle company that inspires thousands of people around the world to create happiness through a homemade lifestyle. If you’re wondering what exactly that means, it simply means trying to do things yourself—learning, dreaming big, and being okay with imperfection. As a mom, host, and maker, I’ve created hundreds of projects for family homes over the years, which helped me realize how important it is to prepare your space for kids and families of all ages–it not only promotes well-being but also increases your bookings. ‘Stay in and make something’ is my motto. Want to try it?”
Make your home family-friendly with Elsie’s five tips:
01. Cater to the kiddies
“This is pretty simple and makes a massive difference for families traveling with young children. Sometimes, a place may be family-friendly but may lack the extra touches that make children happy.
Here are a few suggestions of things to leave out for kids:
02. Beware of boo-boos
“When choosing furniture, it’s important to ask yourself, ‘Is this durable?’ and “Is this safe?’ Stay away from pieces with a lot of glass—glass coffee tables are my least favorite things ever with a child. One time my daughter hit her head on a hotel’s sharp table corner. It was not fun.
Here are the top things to avoid:
03. Upgrade your coffee sitch
“Anytime I stay at an Airbnb, I greatly appreciate an upgraded coffee situation. Sometimes, parents are just tired. Arriving to a home that caters to your needs and likes really helps get your day off to a great start.
“My husband and I are coffee lovers, so having more than one option for how to make coffee—like an automatic coffee maker plus a pour-over set—is such a perk! It’s also nice to have an option for tea drinkers, or those who don’t drink coffee. Hot chocolate is always good too.”
04. Create a family-friendly guidebook
“A great guidebook is a game-changer. We have one at our properties with important information such as contacts, wifi password, and a list of places we love. Having a dedicated space in your guidebook for activities to do with kids makes all the difference.
“We also leave guests a map of Nashville that is custom-made. It's a little art print that they get to keep, but it's also something that can actually help with ideas of kid-friendly things to do in the city and best restaurants for families.”
05. Call it out in your listing
“Don’t forget to call out all the extra features you’ve added to your home directly in your listing. Again, families are one of the largest demographics searching Airbnb, so making it clear that your home is suited for them could help your bookings quite a bit. If you make additions to your space, don’t forget to update your listing as time goes on. Make it explicit that your listing is family-friendly to attract more bookings.
“Remember: parents love having a place to hang out when the kids go to bed—this is one of the main reasons parents choose homes over hotels. Show how great the common areas of your house are and encourage connection. We created a hashtag for our home, and people started using it. It was really nice to see their pictures and how much fun they had. People sometimes also leave a thank-you note or a little gift—it’s always sweet to see how you have positively affected their trip. I'm a big believer that when you find what you really love and stick to it, people grow to love it too.
“I hope these tips help send even more bookings your way.”
Check out the full #howtohost series here.
Cool advice for families and great to see you as sisters working together.
Like the title A Beautiful Mess!
Reading about the Glass reminded me of when my nephew and his friends were 10 years old playing tomfoolery & he fell on his back through the glass table.
I to this day have no idea how he came away completely unscathed bar a minor scratch, he was wearing a sleeveless puffer jacket and shorts.
God bless the lad, they also dive off the edge of decking into the swimming pool giving me heart failure many a time...so many little things to consider when choosing to stay in another person's home.
Happy Hosting and traveling
All the best
Thank you so much! Love working with my sister and so glad you like the name of our site. 🙂
Oh my goodness, that story just gave me goosebumps. There is so much to consider when thinking about hosting families with young children, really it can feel a little overwhelming! But I tried to put together my top tips here so hopefully that's helpful to others.
Thanks for sharing!
Great article, we are on the same page! We ensure our home is child friendly by offering a stroller, pack & play, crib & more. We also offer plenty of coffee/tea options like a regular drip, Keurig, espresso make and tea pot - so many guests are surprised to see a tea pot!
I do/have all these things yet am not in the Family Collection because we don't have a TV! We have excellent WiFi, gates on the stairs, beach toys, games, toys, books, high chair, playpen/cot, toddler bed, bath toys, kids cutlery, plates & bowls. I leave a little stuffed bear for little ones to keep. I leave snacks parents can take with them on a day out. I child-proof before they arrive and point out any dangers to parents. I give a tour to the kids to make them feel at home. But no Family Collection. 8-(
We are the same. We have no TV, and have never had any comments about the lack of one. Time for Airbnb to update this to modern life. We've actually been compliments for not having one!
I really like those extra ideas RE: children friendly, toy basket and the picture with the stuff animal. I did take the time to go our city office and get a wall map of our entire demographic city.