Kidzcationz.com was the brainchild of a 12 year old Australian girl called Bella.
After a recent trip to the USA, Bella noticed that hotels and restaurants were looking after customers better than she had experienced before. She believed that this was thanks to travel sites like TripAdvisor, which allowed travellers to share their personal experiences and reviews with other travellers.
However, while adults were getting a better experience, Bella was concerned these same hotels, attractions and restaurants still often completely overlooked or ignored the needs of children.
This is Bella's story:
I don't know about anyone else, but for me, it is frustrating that unless your family goes to a family holiday resort, children may as well be invisible. My family likes to use our holidays to let me experience other cultures and learn more about the history of other countries, so we very rarely stay at places where there are lots of other kids. We also eat out a lot and I like to try new things, but can't I eat a huge meal.
After our last trip when Mum was putting reviews on TripAdvisor, I asked her if I could also do some reviews of my own. I am too young to register for TripAdvisor so I did them on paper. At the end, we compared reviews and Mum was surprised that my reviews were often so much different to hers and she wondered why.
For example, while my parents had a luxurious hotel bed, I scored the 20 year old lumpy fold -out sofa which bowed in the middle or collapsed when I sat on it. While they had a vast menu when dining full of tempting delicacies, the kids' menu had the same old deep fried nuggets, dried out lasagne or tasteless burgers which came with a soft drink- not juice because that's extra- and a cheap variety of ice cream with runny topping.
In most cases kids really miss out!
What I hope Kidzcationz.com will do is make hotels, restaurants and theme parks/attractions, more aware of the needs of kids because it's our holiday too! I would like to see change in the industry, so we can have a comfy bed, the hotel staff actually notice us and restaurants offer a better childs' meal selection or even offer the same meal as adults, but in a smaller size- at a kids' price.
Kidzcationz.com is not designed to take the place of sites like TripAdvisor, but to run alongside them. So when adults are looking for a place to stay, they can look up that same hotel or restaurant or attraction on Kidzcationz.com and see what the kids think about it.
Kidzcationz.com will be a place where kids can be safe from online predators because no information is shared and direct communication to each reviewer is not available. We use avatars for reviewers' profiles- the more reviews you do will give you more access to avatars.
As much as I feel invisible at some hotels and restaurants, people with special needs are even more invisible.
My dearest wish is that Kidzcationz.com will highlight the need for hotels and restaurants to be more supportive of children and adults with special needs. It makes me really sad to know that there are families out there who would dearly love a holiday but have nowhere that is appropriate to support a child or even an adult with special needs.
Kidzcationz.com will allow reviewers who travel with people with special needs to rate that venue on how well it can support their needs. These venues may not have it all sorted perfectly, but if they are helpful, kind and flexible then that is a really good start.