SAN FRANCISCO—For parents traveling with kids, there just aren’t enough hands to carry all of the necessities. Destination Hotels has partnered with Babierge—think baby + concierge—to take the hassle out of family travel.
It all started with a novel idea. Kerri Couillard, a mother and co-founder of Babierge, found herself with a pile of baby gear her two boys had outgrown. With a mindset for technology—she has a master’s in computer science—Couillard built a simple website to see if she might be able to rent the gear to families in Santa Fe, NM.
“Kerri had her first order—for more than $300—in a matter of days, and a business was born. She continued to rent equipment in Santa Fe and began to think that she could enable other moms like herself to build a business on the platform,” said Fran Maier, co-founder and CEO, Babierge. “In 2016, she traveled to Silicon Valley to attend Women’s Start up Lab, where I serve as an advisor. Given that I grew up in Santa Fe, I knew that her success there indicated strong demand for the service. Given our complementary skills—this is my fifth startup and I have a deep marketing and brand background—we decided to work together to launch the first baby gear rental marketplace. We’ve quickly grown to offer baby gear rentals in nearly 70 markets today in the U.S. and Canada.”
Millennial families with young children travel more than five times a year, noted Maier. Yet, trudging through crowded airports with luggage, babies and bulky baby gear is an exhausting way for a family to begin a vacation. This can be a real pain point for traveling families.
“Having quality baby gear and toys available at your hotel, like comfortable full-size wooden cribs that help babies sleep through the night and age appropriate gear and toys that keep kids happily engaged during the day, helps everyone in the family have an enjoyable and memorable vacation,” said Maier. “Babierge is committed to helping families pack light, travel far and make lasting family memories.”
Gear prices and delivery fees vary by market. Typically, a full-size wooden crib might rent for $20 per night, an infant swing for $8 per night, and a toy package for $6 per night, according to Maier.
“Guests generally will find more than 30 pieces of gear to select from. Book and toy packages are customized for the child’s age and interests,” she said.
Extending the company’s reach among its core demographic, the duo teamed up with Destination Hotels to offer Babierge services at hotel properties.
“Destination Hotels reached out to Babierge because we share a common commitment to provide excellent and empathetic customer service to help families have the best possible vacation,” she said.
Destination Hotels facilitated introductions between the Babierge Trusted Partners and hotel staff at resorts around the country. These teams worked together to create a seamless process for marketing the opportunity to guests and coordinating Babierge’s delivery and set up of gear in a guest’s room, as well as the pick up on checkout day, explained Jamie Sabatier, CEO, Two Roads Hospitality, parent company of Destination Hotels.
“Hotels know that their families want more gear than just a crib or a Pack ’n Play, and we’re able to help them provide that for their guests. There is such a high volume of families that visit Destination Hotels—nearly 60% of our leisure guests are traveling with kids—and we’ve seen parents get weighed down with the hassle of packing and transporting baby gear to various destinations across the country,” said Sabatier. “Following the announcement of our partnership with Babierge in July, the guest response has been quite positive. Families are thrilled that they can order top-quality baby products to be ready upon arrival. This service is providing guests with a much more relaxed, seamless and enjoyable experience from the moment they book their trip.”
For Destination Hotels, the measured outcomes of offering this type of service to guests are qualitative and quantitative. There was no hard cost to the brand in order to cultivate and launch this partnership, he noted.
“Our agreement includes a revenue-share opportunity for our properties. We will measure success based on a combination of guest feedback, as well as feedback from team members at participating hotels and resorts,” he said. “We remain confident that this is a terrific value-add amenity that we can potentially expand to other Two Roads Hospitality brands, as it makes sense.”