Family friendly is a boost for hotels

Families pictured in Blackpool and (below) Pat Francioni, of the Alumhurst Hotel, on Charnley Road, is the second resort hotelier to sign up to the new scheme.
Families pictured in Blackpool and (below) Pat Francioni, of the Alumhurst Hotel, on Charnley Road, is the second resort hotelier to sign up to the new scheme.
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Family friendly hotels say they have boosted their bookings thanks to a new accreditation scheme.

The company running the scheme, Approved Family Friendly (AFF), says it now hopes to extend its name across the resort in a bid to impress tourism bosses.

Pat Francioni, of the Alumhurst Hotel, on Charnley Road, is the second resort hotelier to sign up to the new scheme.

Pat Francioni, of the Alumhurst Hotel, on Charnley Road, is the second resort hotelier to sign up to the new scheme.

The company has also won favour as the accreditation scheme of choice for Visit Cornwall, and is now hoping to do the same for Visit Blackpool.

Two hotels on Charnley Road, in central Blackpool, have already joined the scheme.

Kevin Wood, who has run the Delamere Hotel since last October, said: “I wanted to go into the family market and this has just really propelled our business, we’ve had some great reviews.

“When families come here they know it’s not going to be stag and hen parties, so we get more retired people coming here too because they have the same assurances.

“There are a few hotels that want to specialise in stags and hens but, for those that don’t, this is worth signing up to.”

Pat Francioni, who runs the Alumhurst Hotel, also on Charnley Road, Blackpool, signed up to the scheme two weeks ago.

And she says the scheme’s strength lies in its strict criteria.

She said: “They want an absolute concrete assurance that you won’t touch stag and hen parties.

“I’m interested to see how it will take off.

“I’m hoping that it’ll bring more of the families to Blackpool that we want back here.

“Blackpool won’t lose the stags and hens completely but there seems to be less at weekends now, so hopefully we’ll be getting more families back soon.

“It’s very early days yet but I’m hoping there will be some movement.

“They need to get more families aware of what this means.”

The scheme has already been taken on by Visit Cornwall.

Now the company, AFF, hopes to have similar success across the country – with Blackpool in particular being targeted.

Martin Hancox, founder of the Approved Family Friendly scheme, said: “It’s just about raising standards because if you’re in a hotel and it’s raining you can’t go to the beach so you want to be somewhere that has soft play options and somewhere you can have a nice family meal.

“When I came up to Blackpool I was a bit dismayed because I found some of the hotels were run down, but there are some really good ones too who just don’t know how to market themselves.

“What we’ve got to do is highlight and promote these hotels.”

How a hotel can secure AFF accreditation

AFF was set up in 2011 to regulate hotels which want to attract more families.

Hotels interested in joining the scheme fill out an initial application before being assessed.

To be approved the hotelier must show a commitment to being family friendly. They will then be issued with an AFF accreditation sign to display in their window.

Some of the criteria include: Sufficient baby change areas, family size showers, a member of staff trained in first aid being on site at all times, and information about local child-friendly activities and public transport routes being on display.

Anyone interested in applying to join the scheme can visit www.approvedfamilyfriendly.com for more information.

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