Want to delight customers? Entertain their kids. If you can supply a service that children enjoy and that solves a parental problem, you'll be a big hit.

  • Do something fun. Holiday Inn Capitol at the Smithsonian, a 280-employee hotel, located in Washington D.C., lets kids under eight years old opt for a sleeping bag instead of a rollaway bed. "Kids just love it. They view it as an adventure," says the hotel's general manager Dean Wilhelm. This option also makes the stay easier for mom and dad, and, as an added bonus, less space is taken up by a cot in their room. The housekeepers love it, too, notes Wilhelm, because it means less clean-up for them.
  • Offer free tickets for kids. The Portland String Quartet wanted its afternoon concerts to be enjoyable for parents, but realized some adults were uncertain about spending money on tickets for their kids. As a pitch, the Portland, Maine, chamber music group now invites children under 21 to attend concerts free of charge. Families can enjoy their afternoons together, and the Quartet has an opportunity to cultivate a new generation of consumers.

Copyright 1997 G+J USA Publishing