Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Here's looking at you, kids

Haven Holidays, the owner and operator of 35 holiday parks in the UK, has added some new features to its web site aimed at making the online experience more fun.

A few weeks ago, Travolution reported that Haven had signed up Nasdaq-listed JDA Software for a new multi-channel revenue management system. Aimed, one assumes, at making the online experience more profitable.

UK holiday and caravan parks have a number of issues to overcome, in terms of profitability as well as the product perception.

Haven – and others in the sector – are using the web to address these issues. JDA will help Haven manage inventory during to drive short break business during the parks’ less busy periods outside the school holidays.

The consumer-y features launched today include an improved kids zone channel, designed to get the kids to engage with the brand before the holiday.

As a family holiday business, it makes sense to get kids onside, although whether the web-savvy ,instant-messaging, PS3, Bebo generation will be satisfied with Haven’s offer to ‘play games, download pictures to colour in themselves and take part in competitions’ remains to be seen.

Back in the mists of time – okay, mid-2004 to be precise – Mintel released a report called 'Marketing to Tomorrow's Consumers'. 46% of parents said that their children had 'some level of influence' over the choice of the main family holiday.

Tour operators are always keen to big up their kids club products – such as First Choice’s ‘we’ve taught more than 7,000 kids to swim’ TV ad campaign – but how serious is the online travel sector about engaging kids before or after their break? And how receptive would the younger generation be?

Martin Cowen, chief writer, Travolution

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