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FL USA, Would love your responses you be interested in a convenience service, babysitting, meal prep during your holidays?

(29 Posts)
sunchowder Sun 12-Jun-05 17:49:27

I would love to get your responses here for an idea that I have been formulating for a while. Please be honest and candid with me and let me know your thoughts.

I live in Florida (Orlando area) and have been toying with starting a business on the side in addition to my full time IT job (something for my British DH to do if he decides to "retire"). The business would be directed at folks who come to Florida and rent the villas in the Kissimmee area. I wanted to understand if the whole point of renting the villa is so that you can get the inexpensive (or less expensive), private type vacation (rather than hotel that might offer these services) and have total choice over what you pay for and expenses you can avoid. If so, this business idea would probably not make much sense.

Would you be interested in the following:

*Ordering Ahead Shopping Service so that items are waiting for you after your 20 hour journey with children - Items like Diapers in your size, food essentials (coffee, tea, half-cream, milk, juice, eggs, bacon, bread, wheetabix or readybrek, etc)--your choice to send list ahead of time before arrival- also choice of staple British Items if you have children that are picky eaters)- Possible Gift Basket sendahead type thing also.

*Touring - out of the way sort of places (not Disney). Either just given ideas or having a tour.

*Chance to Stay over at American Home - Meet other families - see how the "real" Americans live!

*Babysitting Services- for the odd night that you and your DH might just want to sneak out for a dinner on your own while on holiday. Swim lessons, game box, etc for those rainy days or days in-between Disney when you are too knackered to leave the villa.

*Meal at your villa type service - Choice of menu and food either cooked at villa or brought in on nights when you are exhausted. American or British type meals.

It is much cheaper to go out for a meal in the US than it is in the UK, but when you are exhausted with little ones, I wanted to know if this sounded attractive to you.

Let me know your thoughts and ideas. I haven't done any research on this to even see if the Villa places already offer these services either, so forgive me if I am duplicating. We were thinking of possibly buying a property and leasing also. Looking forward to your responses.

Puff Sun 12-Jun-05 18:10:14

I like the sound of most of them sunchowder! We went to Florida with ds1 when he was 18 months. With hindsight we'd have found it less stressful and demanding if we'd rented a villa - if the services that you describe were on offer it would have been really good.

oooggs Sun 12-Jun-05 18:18:01

We rented a villa for two weeks last December when DS was 11 mths, pre ordered shopping would be fantastic and meals at your villa would also take my fancy.

A pack of other places to go, good takeaways, Americans fav restaurants in the area and supermarkets etc would also be good. Our villa has this but not as extensive as I would have liked.

I won't be staying hotel/motel again after the villa experience. We have stayed in hotel/motel about 5 times without kids ranging from bottom basic to 5* but the villa outwayed that in a different way because of children.

Hope this helps, your other ideas are also very good but we wouldn't use them, plenty of others will.

Trifle Sun 12-Jun-05 19:06:09

Dear Sunchowder

- pre-ordered goods - absolutely definitely. Must include beer. We actually got this when we went last and stayed in a villa.

- touring - absolutely definitely. I cant really be doing with the theme park thing which does tend to make Florida a bit of a waste. However, I am sure there is a lot more to Florida than theme parks but no one really tells you about them as they all assume you are there for Disney alone.

- stay in an American home - definitely not, sorry. Really couldnt be doing with all that gushing.

- babysitting - most definitely.

- meal at villa - no not really as wouldnt want the intrusion.

MeerkatsUnite Sun 12-Jun-05 19:27:09

Hi Sunchowder,

Think the ordering ahead shopping service to get the groceries in is a fabulous idea.

I think it would be good for some other families to meet the local populace (say for instance if family X were members of a particular church then they could perhaps meet up with members of that church).

Babysitting is an excellent idea also!.

Not sure about meals delivered to the villa; many companies do that already but you could draw up a list of reputable take out firms. A detailed folder giving all details re property and what to do if anything goes wrong could also be helpful to new arrivals.

sunchowder Sun 12-Jun-05 20:58:42

Thank you so much for your responses so far! Looking forward to many more. Triffe at the Americans Gushing all over you!

sunchowder Mon 13-Jun-05 15:27:40


Frizbe Mon 13-Jun-05 15:37:45

Sounds like a great idea to me, and I did say we'd stay in Kisimee next time too! keep us informed so we can use you!

SoupDragon Mon 13-Jun-05 15:41:01

Order ahead shopping - yes.
Baby sitting - yes but only by the villa owners, not random people iyswim I'd like to think I know them in some way
Tours - ideas would be good. Probably not interested in an actual tour.

All else no. If we're too knackered to go out, we order in. I shudder at the thought of staying with an American family (but I'd shudder at the thought of staying with a strange English family too!!)

Nbg Mon 13-Jun-05 15:45:38

Ordering - YES! A big massive yes.

Touring - I think the giving ideas is a much better thing to do. Maybe make it in to a social event with drinks or a meal at a nice location. We did this once and it was held on a beach with a BBQ. Gorgeous.

American home - Possibly. I think I would do it but could see why others wouldn't.

Babysitiing service - Not for me but I know alot of people would take advantage of it.

Meal at Villa - I like the idea of it brought in but wouldn't alot of people just get a takeaway?

Good luck

Twiglett Mon 13-Jun-05 16:15:08

would be interested in all of those except for the 'eat with a real american family' deal ..that makes me smile a little I must admit

Twiglett Mon 13-Jun-05 16:15:56

cleaning service as well - daily and end of stay

triplets Mon 13-Jun-05 18:34:17

Hi Sunchowder,
You may remember that we went to Florida last Oct for the first time. A welcome pack of food would be great, I have seen very few villa owners offering that service, and I have looked at hundreds of villa sites. We arrived shattered and poor Harry had to go out within 15 mins of arriving to get some basic food. What I personally think would be such a god idea is to offer a transfer to the villa after such a long flight with children. It is very stressful picking up your hire car and finding your way, esp if it your first time there, we got really lost and wasted over an hour getting back onto the right freeway! Then you could take the driver back to the airport in the morning, fresh to drive. I really think its dangerous that we all do it, and I think most will agree you are shattered when you get off that plane and eventually get out of the airport! Personally I would jump at the chance to get to know a local family, Harry would hate it! We could all come and get to know you in the flesh!

hatstand Mon 13-Jun-05 18:43:14

ordering/delivery, baby-sitting, and meals - YES YES A THOUSAND TIMES YES. haven't been to Florida, and am unlikely to, but here in Europe I have always been amazed that you can get catered chalets when you go ski-ing but there is very little along similar lines for summer holidays. With small children we go self catering, mainly for the privacy - the ability to spread your selves and your paraphenalia over an entire house, decent space to relax in the evening while kids are in bed. Anything else just doesn't work. The idea of having someone come and cook dinner, or do the shopping, would be fantastic. Especially if it was something you could book for a chosen number of nights - rather than the entire holiday - then you can decide how much being waited on you can afford. Can you come and do it in France please?

Linnet Mon 13-Jun-05 22:08:23

Hi Sunchowder,

Yes to the shopping
Yes to touring
Yes to game box/games room

The meals I'm not sure about, maybe a list of up to date takeaway menus?

I personally would say no to babysitting but I'm sure others would be happy with that idea.

Meeting an American family, the idea really appeals to me but I don't think I'd actually do it.

I've stayed in Villa's in Orlando twice, both times with my dad and his family, last time was 9 years ago and you didn't get the games rooms or computer games etc then.

Dh and I are taking our girls to Orlando this October but we're staying in a hotel on International drive because we don't drive. But maybe the next time we go we'll be able to stay in your villa.

supplying a buggy/pushchair, highchair and cot would be a good idea also. you've probably already thought of that though, sorry if you have. I'm thinking as a mother here, last time I went we were all teenagers so didn't need any of those.

Skribble Mon 13-Jun-05 22:33:48

Yes to the food ordering, us brits like our tea and cornflakes so if you can source British style items this may be popular especially familiar baby food and baby milk.

Possibly meal delivery for first night, if it was good I would probaby order more for days when we will be back later. Maybe enclose a takeaway style menu in with first meal to tempt us.

To be honest I wouldn't pay for touring info and I wouldn't fancy an escorted tour, I think I would go for a bus. You might get businesses to pay to advertise on your food boxes or to enclose leaflets.

Sorry not interested in staying over with a family.

Baby sitting if you are very clear on what traing the baby sitters have had, police/ social checks etc.

Games boxes yes for smallers things like books and jigsaws and even larger items like toddler cars, bats and ball etc.

sunchowder Tue 14-Jun-05 14:53:46

Thank you so much to everyone that has responded. All of your comments and ideas are greatly appreciated. I would love to hear from more of you if you are able to respond. Seems like spending time with the American Family is a resounding NO . But it looks like some of the other services might go over well.

Nbg Tue 14-Jun-05 14:54:37

I'll come over and spend a couple of weeks with an American family, no probs

okapi Tue 14-Jun-05 15:04:02

Sunny - we went to Orlando last yr and stayed in an apartment nr Lake Davenport, not because it was cheap (it wasn't!) but because we have 2 young children.

We would be interested in the advance groceries - it's such a pain to have to drag yourself to the nearest supermarket after that long flight.

would also have liked the baby-sitting service and the chance to have a couple of nights out alone with dh.

personally wouldn't use the Tour service as we are 'old hands' now - dh has been about 8 times, I've been 3

good luck with your ideas

Gem13 Tue 14-Jun-05 15:15:08

We stayed on Anna Maria island last year with a 28m and 10m old. We had driven down from Atlanta so different things apply but food in the villa would have been great.

Maybe a babysitter but not really bothered about that.

I'm always interested in other parent/children's groups and what I would like is a chance to attend a one-off gym session, library storytime, type activity. I like to have the children mix but not at the intense kids club level. That way I also get to meet other mothers too!

Prufrock Tue 14-Jun-05 15:23:09

I'd be interested in all except staying with an American family. We intend to do villa holidays when kids are a bit older, and it's not because of the cheapness at all- more the privacy/space.
Have a look at villas in the carribean for ideas on the extra services they provide. Personally I'd love to hire a villa that came with a kind of live-out housekeeper/babysitter. Someone to clean midweek and end of stay to save me doing it, to provide basic groceries on arrival, cook, and clean up after meals some nights, and childcare both in the evening so I could go out with dh, and available during the day. You could set yourself up as a concierge service for villa owners providing any sort of help visitors want.

sunchowder Wed 15-Jun-05 15:52:09


scotlou Wed 15-Jun-05 16:14:18

We're off to the US next week - but Cape Cod, not Florida.
I agree with other posts - yes to ordering ahead for groceries etc.
Yes to occasional meal cooked at villa - a nice homecooked meal (not made by me!) and not featuring fries, hamburger, pizza etc would be great!
Personally I wouldn't use a babysitting service or want to visit anyone's home (we're too reserved!)
A box of kids games would be quite good - had that at a house we rented in Vermont a couple of years ago and it was great.
We rent a villa to offer us privacy and flexibility - and a bit of extra space.

jamhead Thu 16-Jun-05 19:17:52

Only just seen this thread. Off on hols to Florida in 10 days time. Your ideas sound like it would be much less stressful. Especially big thumbs up to the shopping and toys/games there to play with. I think the idea of a home cooked meal brought to you is much more appealing than just take out menus (though I'd want those as well!)

Of course, price is a consideration for anyone with kids but if you had these different ideas priced up individually, people could pick what they need from a kind of menu - very useful.

We go to Florida every year to holiday and see friends so keep mumsnet posted - we'd use you.

flobbleflobble Thu 16-Jun-05 19:23:11

It all sounds great to me!

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