1. An inn in the southeast installed a “rock climbing” wall, to keep active 2-3 year olds occupied. Its features include:
A. Solid oak construction, dimensions: 4-feet high, 9 feet long, 3 inches thick.
B. “Wall” screwed into 2-inch by 4-inch wall joists, 8-inches apart, behind finished drywall.
C. Random rock pattern hand-painted on oak surface, then clear, vinyl-coated.
D. “Rock ledges,” 4-inches wide by 6-inches deep, formed from heavy, smooth rubber tires.
E. Numerous vinyl-coated gripper handles placed on either side of each “ledge.”
F. Grey foam pad, 10-feet long, 8-feet wide, 3-inches thick, stretches out at foot of wall.
A retired playground designer created the wall. At the request of the inn’s owners: his sons and daughters-in-law. The need for a safe, indoor “energy” outlet apparent. Between them, they had five children.
A sturdier “rock climbing wall, for older/larger children, ages 4-6, is under construction. Completion date: October 2015.
2. A rescued 110-room Days-Inn features a do-it-yourself kitchen and snack bar, for children 5 to 10 years old. It features:
A. Child/young junior sized appliances – all with clear, see-through doors, globes, surfaces.
. Refrigerator . Smoothie/Blender . 2-Burner, built-in cooktop
. Microwave . 4-Slice toaster, battery-operated
. Portable mixer, battery-operated
. Utensils: coated, non-sharp, non-serrated.
B. All food products are fresh, frozen or baked.
C. All foods are gluten-free, no-sugar/no-salt added.
D. Cost: Free – all food products, cooking privileges, and “classes.”
E. Hours: 9-10:30 am, 12-1:30 pm, 4-5:30 pm, 6 days a week.
F. Cooking and baking “classes” – supervised assistance – 5 days a week.
G. Kitchen is supervised by at least two hotel kitchen workers, specially trained for the job.
H. “Rain days” – Innkeeper’s version of his “snow days” in Michigan when schools were closed.
3. A third-generation fishing cottage business, on Lake Michigan’s western shore, has its own mini-ice fishing “pond,” for guests 4-8 years old.
A. A 70-feet diameter shallow fishing pond is frozen solid, November to February.
B. Eight, 2-person fishing “huts” are pulled onto the ice.
C. Construction: One-half inch plywood sides, floor, roof, joist frame; shingled roof, insulated walls; 2 eye-level windows/cased; wood doors.
D. Paint/Exteriors: Walls: Color- Bark brown, satin finish; Doors: Color – Bright red, high gloss finish. Both products: Sherwin-Williams Heavy-Duty latex.
E. Interiors: Built-in double seat; fire-proof portable heater/battery; clear plexi-6-inch high encasement around fishing “hole” in floor.
F. Cost: Free to child guests.
G. Fishing contest: Alternate Saturday afternoons, November – February. Free: Guests. Open to local children, 4-8 ($2.00 entry).
A Central Florida M.D. told me that he used to take his family to the Lake Michigan site. “We were young, and on a tight budget. Natives of the Sheboygan area. What you’d call ‘millennials with a marriage license, and kids.’”
He oriented me to the following 21st Century hospitality facts about millennials:
1. Millennial guests may have children, too.
2. Millennial guests expect the hotels where they stay to accommodate their children.
3. Millennial guests expect the hotels to provide their children with qualitative, safe, and age-appropriate full services. Commensurate with those offered to the millennials themselves.
4. Millennial guests’ budgets come in all sizes, and credit cards with all levels of buying power.
A hotel/facility painter’s millennial tips:
1. Treat millennial guests well, like guests in any age group deserve to be treated.
2. Treat the children of millennials special. Like guests in any adult age group want their children/ grandchildren/ great-grandchildren to be treated. Whatever the children’s ages.
3. Remember, the millennial guests’ children are away from home. In a different environment.
4. Say “Hi” to millennial guests’ children. Smile naturally. Look them in the eye.
5. Ask them what they like about your hotel, and their stay there. Ask nothing personal.
6. Encourage them, from a distance, to watch you paint. Ask, “Have you ever painted anything?”
7. Chat briefly with them, while you work. Tell them what you are doing. Point out to them the WET PAINT sign you’ve posted nearby. Explain why wet paint should never be touched.
8. Encourage them to ask you a few questions. Always answer them, briefly and respectfully.
9. After a reasonable time, encourage them to move on. To check back in with parents or family.
10. Say goodbye. “Thanks for stopping.” “Have a great vacation.” “Have a good trip home.”
Recently, I stopped to watch a hotel painter. He was applying a bright cranberry exterior enamel to a park bench in a children’s outdoor play area. Several children and a young family watched him work.
Everyone else moved on eventually. I asked the painter if he enjoyed his “little audiences.” He grinned. “They make my days. Make it all worthwhile.”
Yeah. “Go ahead and make my day.” Clint Eastwood.
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Thanks for visiting “Painting with Bob.” Copyright 2015. Robert Hajtovik. All rights reserved.