Trvlbees is my perfect internet space to find the best family friendly stylish hotels. It is a brand new concept by Debby van Viersen and Emma Runia, two Dutch ladies who just couldn’t stop traveling once they had a family. But they couldn’t compromise their love for stylish getaways either. So they found a way to combine both: a platform where travel parents from all over the world can tip family friendly yet elegant properties they discover in their travels from Singapore to Greece and from the Caribbean to SE Asia.
We e-met and found that we have so much in common – obviously. I tipped a property in Greece (see which here), they interviewed me and I interviewed them back. And hopefully, this is the beginning of my favorite collaboration yet!
How did TRVLBEES start? What was the initial concept or the situation/life event that initiated it?
It’s a bit cliché, but we really started TRVLBEES as a solution to our own problem.
We’ve both always loved travelling, but once we had kids (and especially once we had more than one), we found that it was difficult to find places to stay that were both great for kids and ticked the box in terms of style and amenities for us parents. We also found that the best tips often came from friends or family: They know you well and you can trust their taste. So, we thought, why not create a Travel Community of like-minded parents where they can share their tips for stylish family friendly places, preferably with a sustainable mindset?
What does it take for a hotel to make it to the TRVLBEES list?
We have our three cornerstones: family-friendly, stylish and sustainable. Every property has to tick the first box of course. And preferably the other two as well, although you will find that we sometimes add properties that are perhaps a little less stylish than our normal standards but are super family-friendly and very sustainable.
And sometimes the other way around as well, where a property is stylish and family friendly, but is still working on becoming more sustainable. We also believe that what makes a property truly TRVLBEES is found in the details: it’s the way a property appreciates and caters to our little ones, it’s the touch of character found in interior design details, it’s the feeling that you’re a million miles away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life, it’s being able to truly relax on vacation and keep your kids happy at the same time; it’s supporting a property that values sustainability and is making a positive change to their local communities and the wider world.
How is TRVLBEES helping parents make their family travel dreams come true?
Of course, once you have kids you soon realize that holidays will never be quite the same again… I can still remember that first holiday we had with our son: We spent 4 nights at this beautiful French Chateau, but our son was having trouble sleeping and the walls were paper thin. In the end we ended up driving him around in the car at night to try and let him fall asleep. Everybody knows one of these horror stories, right? But that doesn’t mean that there aren’t places out there where both you and your kids can have a fabulous and relaxing time. All the TRVLBEES properties are recommended either by a TRVLBEES member or by us. And in the reviews, we tell you the basics: what you will love about the place, what makes it great for kids and the good to knows about the place.
How are family travelers responding to the new idea?
We now have over 5,000 members from all over the world – from Dubai to Sydney and from NY to Singapore. They have shared many great tips for stylish, sustainable and above all family-friendly place. We’re adding new properties to the TRVLBEES collection each week). Currently more than 50% of our members are located in Northern Europe, but we hope that through word of mouth of our members and influencers like yourself, we will soon be able to add many more members from the rest of Europe and the other continents as well. After all, the best tips in the region often come from the people who live there, so the more our members are spread all over the world, the greater tips the TRVLBEES community will produce!
What advice would you give to mamas who love to travel and just can’t take the first step?
Start with something easy and within your comfort zone, so you can practice with what you have to take along and how your kid(s) adjust to traveling and being in another place than home. Once you’ve got that mastered, venture out of your comfort zone and go further afield. You’ll find travelling with your kids is so rewarding, they learn so much from other cultures and travelling also makes them very flexible in other areas of their lives. For longer flights, we’d really recommend the Legs Fly Up or something similar, with which you can make a bed out of a regular airplane seat. We’ve had our kids sleep for over 6 hours, which makes such a difference when you get to your destination.
What tip would you share for mamas who'd love to start a business of their own?
Just do it! It’s hard work, but so rewarding. We especially find that being able to do it in our own time, makes it the perfect combination with kids. Don’t underestimate it either though: once you have your own business, you’ll never be able to go on holidays without taking along your laptop. We generally tend to not mind though, because it’s our baby – next to our other babies of course 😉 Also, try to find a mentor, someone that’s already set up a business, who can advise you from their own experience.