With one in three holidaymakers set to book their summer getaways in January and February, a new family holiday website has launched to offer parents an easy ‘one stop shop’ for choosing some of the best family friendly villas across Europe and North Africa.
Launching in January 2017, Child Friendly Villas Direct is the first website to put parents in touch directly with a wide range of independent villa agents and managers providing greater information, with the ultimate goal of providing the most cost effective, stress free solution to the perfect family holiday.
Featuring more than 100 hand selected villas across Europe and North Africa, the site features easy to use visual icons to help parents select the most appropriate villa for their family, ranging from baby friendly facilities to attractions for young travellers. The business aims to have at least 300 villas listed on the site by the end of 2017.
As part of its offering, the company is launching the World’s First ‘Teddy Travel Service’ for VIBs (very important bears), after research conducted by Child Friendly Villas revealed leaving a child’s comforter at home is one of the most stressful things parents encounter on a trip.
Research of 1,000 parents carried out by the website Child Friendly Villas Direct has revealed that despite the ‘iPad generation’, forgetting a child’s favourite teddy or comforter is the number one cause of holiday headaches for almost half of British families (45 per cent). As a result, the company is providing a service to return any special furry friends left at one of the villas free of charge.
Surprisingly, teddies ranked higher than their modern tech counterparts in the list of family holiday essentials, with only 40 per cent of parents saying forgetting a tablet device or mobile phone would cause them a holiday headache and just five per cent saying forgetting a favourite DVD would cause friction.
Sarah Davies, who founded Child Friendly Villas Direct, said: “We want to provide a new service for parents to help them with the process of finding and booking the perfect family villa, making it as easy as possible. The idea stemmed from our own problems searching for a family friendly villa – a process we found time consuming and frustrating. One size doesn’t fit all for family holidays and most sites don’t provide ready access to information regarding child friendly options, bury features in the fine print or simply concentrate on holidaying with babies.”
“We believe that child friendly holidays shouldn’t be demoted to just a filter, but should be a treasure trove of information, filled with all the knowledge and advice you need to book a family friendly villa with confidence.
“With Child Friendly Villas Direct we wanted to create a user-friendly place where busy parents can quickly discover their perfect family villa holiday, linking them directly with independent villa agents and managers to access the most cost effective deals available.”
Throughout the site families can determine which child friendly features are important to them and choose a villa to suit their individual needs, as well as benefitting from local knowledge and advice from villa agents and managers themselves.
Sarah Davies had the idea for the business while on maternity leave from her job as a solicitor. After planning a family villa holiday in Spain and struggling to find the information they needed, they arrived to find it was not suitable for a young family.
One of the first villa groups to work with Sarah was Fawakay Villas in Marrakech. The company was set up in 2005 by Dawn Boys-Stones, who, like Sarah, gave up her job to start a new commercial venture and now runs the complex of three large, sand-coloured villas in 3.5 acres of garden, perfect for family holidays.
Dawn said: “After 25 years of stockbroking in London, my husband and I had a rush of blood to the head and decided there and then that we’d leave that life behind. We brought our four children to Marrakech and created a new life here that meant we could be more of a family.
“It’s for that same reason that we’re happy to partner with Sarah and list our villas through her service. Her ethos is ‘from one family to another’, and that’s how we see our business too.”