Even once you've reached a desirable destination and carved out some quality leisure time with family, do you find yourself still checking your phone? Do you continue to refresh your emails even while you're "OOO" or keep tabs on social media when you should be enjoying your surroundings? For parents traveling with children, this screen fixation can especially impact the experience. Wyndham Hotels reports that 54% of children believe their parents check their phones "too often" and 32% expressed that they felt "unimportant" when parents were preoccupied with their screens.
So to address the issue, Wyndham just launched a program that offers a discount to families in exchange for locking away their phones. "We saw parents hopping on a quick conference call in the lobby, and some hotels have had to order extra pool chairs because guests are swimming less and swiping more, eschewing dips in the pool for iPad time on poolside loungers," Noelle Nicolai, who developed the Wyndham initiative, explained to Travel + Leisure. Now through September 3, five selected Wyndham Grand Hotels (Clearwater Beach, Orlando Bonnet Creek, Chicago Riverfront, Hotel Galvez, and The Mills House) are offering a 5% discount on guests' stay for opting into the Reconnected program.
Upon signing up, guests receive a lock box with a timer in which to leave their phones for a set duration so they can enjoy family time without distractions. Guests also receive a Reconnected package that includes an Instax camera, two adventure backpacks with crayons, activity sheets, a book, and a blanket fort designed by PellOverton Architects, as well as a specialized Bedtime Brigade room service menu to encourage reading stories in the fort. Nicolai notes that the initiative focuses on returning to the "fun of an analog childhood," something children and adults alike can benefit from and enjoy.