Family Travel Planning Made Easy:

Preferred Hotel Group, a premier marketing association of independent hotels, has proven that they understand that families need customized information when planning vacations. Gone are the days when stating a hotel is family-friendly and not explaining why or how is enough online. In response to a call for more and better information, Preferred Hotel Group launched, a dedicated site for families where they can discover Preferred Family Certified Hotels in a single, robust website full of invaluable tips and information.

See my interview with Preferred Hotel Group’s President, Lindsey Ueberroth about the intention behind their dedicated family programming and Preferred’s commitment to the family market. At the time of the interview, the new site was not launched. Now it’s live! I’ve combed through this new resource. My take? This thoughtful tool is a must-use gem for families planning holidays around the world.

Preferred Family Homepage

It’s All About Search on

The goal of the Preferred Family website is to enable parents to research hotels and destinations at different stages of the planning process. It’s all about ‘search’ and how families can access lists of the best hotels for their needs for a given trip.

Search for Families with a Destination in Mind

Families who have a destination and dates in mind have immediate access to a list of qualified properties right from the Preferred Family homepage. The key is that beyond the initial list of certified properties that have availability for specified travel dates, there’s an extensive set of additional filters to further refine the hotel list.

My favorite filters include check boxes for family-friendly pool, kids’ club, and very specific amenities like a kitchenette as these are essentials that can make or break a hotel stay depending on the age of the children.

Of course, there is a basic age appropriate rating for every property too. Further refinement includes fun options like cooking classes and hotel style descriptions for families that really have something specific in mind.

Search for Families Who are Dreaming

Families at very early stages of the trip planning process may not know where they want to go, just that they want a certain type of holiday like a beach or winter sports-focused vacation. The Quick Search Family Trip Planner is configured just for this purpose and pulls up a list of applicable properties for these broader categories.

One important planning component of the dreaming stage is evaluating things to do in one destination over another. Preferred Family makes this easy with their Three Days In … section, including insider scoop on popular activities, restaurants, and walks in a top destinations.

The beauty of this list as it’s also something useful to reference once a destination is selected. I love the Ten Things to Know section with invaluable tidbits that help set expectations before arrival. Like the Fly, Fly, Fly, Away bullet on the Singapore list explaining the exact journey time to the airport and the fact that taxis are actually affordable. An example of critical information that differs for every destination. Or, the Hospital bullet on the Los Angeles list giving the exact address and phone number of the Children’s Hospital in the area. Priceless.

Search by Family-Focused Special Offers

Preferred family offers a list of different customized packages for families. The real value here is that these packages are managed across the Preferred Hotel Group portfolio, just like those exclusive offers via Virtuoso and American Express.

I’m not a fan of hotels that charge families full pricing for a connecting room occupied only by children. Preferred Family Packages includes a ready list of all the hotels offering the second room at a 50% discount.

Or, the Exclusive Preferred Family Offers section lists hotels offering more extensive packages including amenities and activities. Like the Boston Harbor Hotel, a Ciao Bambino favorite, offering four tickets to the New England Aquarium, valet parking, and a welcome amenity of cookies and drinks for kids.

Printable Summary of Essential Hotel Information for Families

Once a destination and a short list of hotels have been selected, families can print and easily compare/contrast summaries of all the family-focused amenities and services offered at each hotel.

Family Blogs

Preferred Family looked outside the box and acknowledged that there are many different voices in the family travel channel providing critical and credible trip planning information to families. Preferred Family includes a live feed of articles from the top family travel bloggers with tips, advice, and destination related information. A few sentences and the title are highlighted, and then interested readers can quickly click-through the full blog article.

Live Body to Answer Questions and Help Book Rooms

It’s also important to note that families using Preferred Family can use their booking engine to check pricing and confirm rooms, or call Preferred’s 800 number, 866-990-9491 for a warm body who can answer questions or help with a booking.

Bravo Preferred for putting together a truly useful planning tool for families!

Preferred Family Three Days In Page

Preferred Hotel Group $100 Visa Gift Card Giveaway

Preferred Hotel Group has given Ciao Bambino a $100 Visa Gift Card to give away. Entering takes one-minute, literally. Simply leave a comment below (one comment per person) answering this question:

<< If you could go to any Destination on their Three Days In … list right now, what would it be? >>

Entrants must also “like” Preferred Hotel Group on Facebook and follow @PHGFamilyTravel if you have an account. Note that these actions are completed in the comment, along with the answer to the question above.


This contest will run through 9p PT on February 11, 2013. The contest is only open to residents of the US who are 18 years or older. Only one comment per person will be counted. Winner will be selected by Winners will be contacted by a representative from Preferred Family if they win and will have 48 hours to respond to the email notification before another winner is selected.

A purchase or payment will not improve your chances of winning. Void where prohibited. This sweepstakes begins on February 4, 2013 and ends at 9p PT on February 11, 2013.  The prize is provided by Preferred Hotels Group.


By entering, a participant agrees to release, indemnify, and hold harmless Sponsor, its parent, affiliates, subsidiaries, and each of their respective Officers, Directors, Employees, Agents and Representatives from any liability (including without limitation liability for any property loss, damage, personal injury, bodily injury, death, loss, expense, accident, delay, inconvenience or irregularity), cost and expenses (including, without limitation, reasonable outside attorney’s fees and costs) that may arise in connection with: (1) the entrants participation or inability to participate in the Sweepstakes; (2) typographical errors in these Official Rules or any Sweepstakes promotion materials; (3) acceptance or possession, defects in, use, misuse, or inability to use any prize (or any component thereof) (except any product warranty applicable at the time of sale); (4) any change by Sponsor or any other person providing any of the components of a prize due to reasons beyond Sponsor’s control or as otherwise permitted hereunder; (5) any interruption in or postponement, cancellation, or modification of the Sweepstakes; (6) human error; (7) incorrect or inaccurate transcription, receipt or transmission of any part of an entry (including without limitation, the entry information or any part thereof); (8) any technical malfunctions or unavailability of the site, network, computer online system, computer equipment, software or internet service provider utilized by Sponsor or its parent, subsidiaries or affiliates or by any entrants; (9) interruption or inability to access the contest, any contest-related web pages or any online service via the internet due to hardware or software compatibility problems; (10) any damage to entrants (or any third persons) computer or its contents related to or resulting from any part of the contest; (11) any lost or delayed data transmission, omission, interruption, defects, or any other error or malfunction; (12) any wrongful, negligent or unauthorized act or omission on the part of Sponsor, its parent, subsidiaries or affiliates or any of their Agents or Employees; or (13) any other cause, condition or event whatsoever beyond the control of Sponsor, its parent, subsidiary or affiliate. Each winner hereby acknowledged that Sponsor has neither made nor are in any manner responsible or liable for any warranty, representation or guarantee, expressed or implied, in fact or in Law, relative to any Prize or component thereof.

Editorial Note: Preferred Hotel Group paid us to review the Preferred Family website on Ciao Bambino. As always, our thoughts and opinions are our own.

Thank you to Online-Sweepstakes and CashNet Sweepstakes for help spreading the word about the giveaway.


  1. Three Days in Marrakech, Morocco would be my pick. Our family booked a trip to Egypt right the month before their political upheaval occurred. We never made that trip, so the exotic atmosphere of Marrakech would definitely be my first pick!

  2. Capetown South Africa! Absolutely stunning coastline and great vineyards how can you miss!

  3. Now that we live in Denver, we are loving the proximity to the mountains. I would want to spend 3 days in Vail! I like Preferred Hotel Group and follow @PHGFamilyTravel on Twitter!

  4. Great Destinations! I will vouch for Paris, France as being top of the list, but now I’d like to go to Marrakech or Capetown.

  5. I’ve always wanted to visit Key West…never been to Florida. Totally different than our Pacific beaches, I hear. (I “Liked” their page on FB; don’t have a Twitter account.)

  6. Dublin, Ireland! I have been so many times. My son went when he was 16 months old but what does he remember? I would absolutely love to share Dublin with them. Love it there! I have been a @PHGFamilyTravel follower for a long time and I like their fb page too 🙂

  7. Dublin, Ireland.I don’t really know why but I’ve always wanted to visit Ireland.

  8. Forgot to add that I follow on FB (Margaret E. Smith) & Twitter (peg42)

  9. I would like to spend three days in Dublin, Ireland (or more!)

  10. Dublin, Ireland for me!
    And i like both on fb (rich morris) and twitter (@Unevenfist)

  11. “like” Preferred Hotel Group on Facebook and follow @PHGFamilyTravel
    Rome, Italy!

  12. I would choose Dublin, Ireland.
    FB liked (Kelly D Saver) & followed on twitter(kellydpa)


  13. I’d love to go to new orleans. I like on fb (bell martin). I like on twitter (sweeper78)

  14. I’ve always wanted to see Paris!

    I liked on Facebook and followed on Twitter.

  15. Dublin Ireland! It looks so beautiful! I liked on FB and followed on Twitter!

  16. Seattle, Washington is a great city in three days. You can see all of Seattle by going to the top of the Space Needle, see how Boeing makes airplanes at the factory, eat fantastic dishes for breakfast, lunch and dinner, take a ferry to a nearby island and of course no visit is complete without a visit to Pike Place Market. The Seattle Food tours are fantastic. Always a great time in a wonderful city.

  17. I would go to Dublin, Ireland. I have heard they have beautiful Castles to view and lots of majestic places to see. 🙂

  18. 3 DAYS: I would choose L.A California! I have always wanted to go to California. I would love to see how different it is from anywhere I have ever been! I love to travel! I am a nurse and spend most of my time caring for people but if I could travel I would be doing one thing for myself! 🙂

  19. My son REALLY wants to go to New York, New York, United States.
    I like Preferred Hotel Group on Facebook – Mia Dentice

  20. Honolulu, Hawaii, United States that would be great!
    Following you on FB as Amy Orvin
    and twitter as @amyorvin

  21. I’d choose to go to Los Angeles, California, we have never been in that beautiful city, the perfect place to get away for three days 🙂
    I Like Preferred Hotel Group as Leidy Ruiz
    I follow @PHGFamilyTravel on Twitter as @neiddy_ruiz

  22. Honolulu, HI!
    Following on FB and twitter
    twitter ID @methhamfetabean

  23. Id love to go to Honolulu, Hawaii. I like them on fb as amanda sakovitz and follow on twitter @aes529

  24. Honolulu, Hawaii, United States where it is warmer than it is here
    liked on fb kathbpersons
    twitter @mkjmc

  25. I would pick Morrocco
    I like PHG on facebook as Thomas Murphy

  26. I would like to visit Paris! Thanks! I like PHG on facebook and follow on twitter.

  27. Let’s go to Tokyo. Like Preferred Hotel Group FB as Kyhere and following PHGFamilyTravel twitter as ky2here1

    ky2here at msn dot com

  28. Singapore, Singapore! I’m dying to go to the orient with my mother!

  29. Rome, Italy…. I have always wanted to go there! I follow you on FB as Sherri Caudill Lewis and on twitter as @nickieandremus

  30. I ‘d love to go to Marrakech, Morocco! I follow on Facebook and Twitter.

  31. Tokyo, I don’t even have to think about it!
    FB: Black Asphodel
    Twitter: @BlackAsphodel

    My e-mail: blackasphodel(at)yahoo(dot)com

  32. Liked and Followed….It’s a toss up between NOLA and Vegas as one best friend lives just outside of NOLA and the other is in Vegas! {@Angieleigh for Twitter, Angieleigh Eads for Facebook}

  33. I would love to go to Key West, Florida ! I have liked the FB page and followed on Twitter ! My Twitter handle is @TraumaDon.

  34. I would love to travel to Rome, ITALY – so that I can visit my son who is serving with the ARMY and is stationed in Venice, Italy (although he is currently on tour in Afghanistan).

  35. Oops! I hit “submit” too fast before including these additional (required) comments – Can I get a “Do over”?? 🙂

    Liked Family Travel Planning on Facebook: FB name – Sylvia Ortiz

    Following Family Travel Planning with Twitter; Twitter name – @foreverxoch99

    –Sorry :0

  36. I’ve always wanted to go to Hawaii. I have never been on a vacation before beleive it or not, never even been on a plane once! Thanks for a chance to win 🙂

  37. Honolulu, Hawaii. I could use some warmth right now, but I don’t know if 3 day would be enough.

  38. I would spend my 3 days in New York, NY! I follow on twitter and like on FB!

  39. I’d love to go to Rome, Italy!

    Liked on facebook: Priscilla Nascondere

    Follow on twitter: @littlebird_xo

  40. I would live to visit Dublin, Ireland

    Following on both FB and Twitter (@travelingirl17)

  41. I’m a facebook fan of Preferred Hotel Group, but don’t have Twitter.
    Dublin, Ireland would definitely be my pick.

  42. I’d take three days in Houston, TX , Like Preferred Hotel Group on Facebook – Bert Ruiz , Following @PHGFamilyTravel on twitter – @iamdadtastic

  43. Followed on twitter (@jeffltaylor2) and Facebook (Jeff Taylor) I would love to spend 3 days in London, United Kingdom. I spent 2 days there 6 years ago and just barely scratched the surface!

  44. I would go to New York , New York. I like them on FB and follow them on Twitter.
    Katie Gilliam Murray

  45. I would go to New Orleans LA to experience the nightlife and food

  46. I’d go to Rome!

    I’m following on twitter @dianemarie63 and I liked on facebook as Diane Keyser Fisher.

  47. New York, NY

    Following on Facebook under my name and on twitter as NavyBratGlass

  48. Hard, but I think I’d choose Rome. Following on facebook as Aurel Montgomery and on Twitter @aurelmedia

  49. I would choose new orleans.
    I like on Facebook
    Debra Ford

    I follow on twitter

  50. Rome Italy
    Liked on facebook Tammy Owens
    Follow on twitter @pbotzon

  51. I would choose Honolulu, Hawaii, Thanks SO much for the giveaway!!!

  52. I would go to Rome, Italy. I liked on FB and follow on twitter.

  53. I would love to go if only for the great food , happy happy .

  54. I have always wanted to visit New Orleans-to hear some good music and meet some amazing people!

  55. Marrakech always wanted to go there but for longer than 3 days. I really want to go see niagara falls on a short break though since I’ve not been there and I don’t like travelling too far for short breaks but it’s not listed 🙁

    I liked the facebook page and follow on twitter with @krazykabbage

  56. For a three day trip, I’d choose New Orleans, Louisiana, United States.

  57. Please delete previous comment. I see I didn’t answer everything. Sorry!

    For a three day trip, I’d choose New Orleans, Louisiana, United States. I “like” Preferred Hotel Group on Facebook but I don’t have a Twitter account to follow @PHGFamilyTravel.

  58. Las Vegas would be my choice. My husband and I were there about 15 years ago and I’ve been dying to go back, just the two of us.

    I follow them on Facebook and Twitter @auntiethesis too.

  59. I would love to go to Paris, France it has always been my dream.

    I follow on Facebook (Thomas Ticknor) and Twitter (@ThomasFlorida)

  60. I would choose Rome, Italy. I am a follower on Facebook with my name and Twitter @Thacker_T.

  61. Dublin, Ireland would be really cool. My ancestors are from Ireland and would love to see where they come from.

  62. I liked Preferred Hotel Group on Facebook and followed @PHGFamilyTravel with the username: @tHeDied4Ut

  63. I like them on Facebook as Mary Happymommy. I would choose Key West, Florida.

  64. My choice would have to be Marrakech, Morocco – I’ve always dreamed of going there!

    Facebook fan: Geoff K
    Twitter follower: @guettel78


  65. If I could go to any destination on their Three Days In list right now, it would be New Delhi, India – I’ve always been fascinated by the colorful blend of cultures and religions in India

    I also like Preferred Hotel Group on Facebook (my facebook url is, and my facebook name is Margie Kairis (Sandy Hill))

    I also follow @PHGFamilyTravel under my twitter handle of @_margie9

  66. I “liked” and am following, too. I would go to New York City right now.

  67. Honolulu, Hawaii is my pick, I have always wanted to visit Hawaii

    I like Preferred Hotel Group on Facebook Susan Smith
    I follow @PHGFamilyTravel on twitter susan1215

  68. Dublin, Ireland

    I like Preferred Hotel Group on facebook

    I follow @PHGFamilyTravel on Twitter @vonmell

  69. I would love to go to Hawaii. It is one of the few places in the world where you can go skiing and swimming in the same area.

  70. fb fan tony l smoaks
    twitter follower @fdp4life
    if i could go to any of the destinations i would go to Vail, Colorado, United States because i love colorado and i never been to vail!

  71. I would love to stay at the Jefferson, Washington DC.

    ‘Like’ on FB – Jill Lear

    Follow on Twitter @chipdip2010

  72. Roma, per favore!

    fb name = denise lebegue
    twitter name = @dmarie824

  73. Oops forgot to add that I like and follow both pages as Tracy Parral (fb) and @tracyparral on twitter. thanks for the chance.

  74. I would go to Dublin, Ireland!

    I liked Preferred Hotel Group on facebook as username mel989.
    I followed @PHGFamilyTravel on twitter as username mmelw.


  75. I liked FB and am following Twitter & I would like to go to New Orleans or Key West

  76. Give me the sun of Spain! we spent three days in the costa ballena and the tan hasn’t worn off yet, neither has the relax.

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Insight. We constantly hear from parents that our insight into what works well for families with kids of different ages is unmatched.

Time. The Internet is filled with too much unqualified information for time-sensitive parents. We cut through the noise to help families plan vacations better and faster. 

Customized. Everything at Ciao Bambino! is customized. There’s just no substitute for reliable one-to-one advice on where to go, where to stay, and what to do with kids.

Virtuoso. Ciao Bambino! is part of the exclusive Virtuoso network and we pass incredible values to our clients at Virtuoso Preferred Suppliers.