Fed up with sketchy travel advice for families, local mum Jane Waterman launched kiddycations.com.
So what’s the big idea?
Kiddycations is a website dedicated to family travel in Asia. It aims to be a friend you can turn to to seek advice about travelling around Asia with children. With Family Pod advice, Tiny Travel tips and our Culture Shock rating, you’ll be well equipped to make a choice for your family.
We feel we go the extra mile with children’s activity sheets tailored to individual countries and can be printed off. We hope to nurture an online community with Mum’s the word. A place where families and other relevant travel bloggers can blog about their experiences and give inspiration to others.
How did kiddycations.com come about?
My family moved to Hong Kong in 2012 and we headed into the unchartered territory of holidaying around Asia. After a couple of stressful holidays, it quickly became apparent that some hotels and companies thought that having a travel cot available made them ‘family friendly’.
But as a mum, I wanted to know how close the nearest hospital is, how deep the children’s pool is, are there highchairs in the restaurant, is there a children’s menu… And my list went on and on. As I spoke to other families I discovered that they felt exactly the same. I started giving advice to my friends on places we had travelled and the idea grew from there.
I only wanted to know how close the nearest hospital is, how deep the children’s pool is, is there a children’s menu…
What challenges did you face?
The biggest challenge was starting up with no funds. I have a background in design – but that was interiors and ceramic design not web-design. I wanted my site to look professional and I wanted it to feel friendly and welcoming. Once I’d found a web design platform I researched other websites that I liked and I started from there.
Ever been involved in something like this before?
No, my background has always been centered around design, just not digital. I think the key to great design is simplicity and this I have applied to my website. My travel bug has always been there. I lived in Bangkok before Hong Kong and experience pure joy when I find an absolute gem of a place. Only now I will be able to pass this advice on for everyone else to enjoy too.
I lived in Bangkok before Hong Kong and experience pure joy when I find an absolute gem of a place.
Anything you would have done differently with hindsight?
Plenty! I spent a lot of the early days doubting my ability to actually design the site which slowed my progress. And a big one would be ‘mobile’ formatting my site as I went. I finished my entire site on a desktop only to realise that when viewed on a mobile it was a complete mess.
Designing for a small screen is quite a different skill and having to re-format so many pages took a long time. And finally I would have invested a little sooner in getting help from a professional. I used Bespoke Consultancy who gave me advice and business direction, which saved me weeks of work and gave me a clear business structure.
How are you promoting the website?
It launched in May and I am using social media to market it, including Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. As always the online community in Hong Kong is a really supportive one, and word is getting around.
What’s the next step?
The site needs to grow in terms of places to stay and the guides need to be developed further. But I didn’t just want to dump a load of places on the site. I want recommendations and/or viewings before places can make it on the site and of course before they get the kiddycations seal of approval. I have been approached by an independent travel company to help advise with making their tours child-friendly, which is something I would like to develop. I would also like to expand our reach into India.
I would also love to develop my travel writing and reviews as well as becoming a ‘family friendly’ hotel consultant. With two children and many happy holidays under my belt I’m now classing myself as the expert.