Wyndham Grand has teamed up with the 'phone-free' company Yondr to bring quality family time back to vacations by creating Phone-Free Zones at its restaurants and pool-sides. At the same time, the hotel group is running a promotion offering a family-friendly 5-night holiday just for unplugging and putting down those ubiquitous smartphones. This article is copyright 2018 The Best Customer Guide.

Specifically, Wyndham Grand is creating new VIP areas at its pool-sides and restaurants, accompanied by various perks that aim to promote quality time for guests at five of its hotels. The catch is simply that you can't check your phone there. They're physically locked up.

With this expansion of its existing Reconnected Family Experience, the family-oriented program encouraging "quality time over screen time", Wyndham Grand is challenging its guests to go phone-free and spend a little more time on human contact. From now until 12th November 2018, the optional Phone-Free Zones are available to those who want to try spending some time unplugged. Guests who participate will have access to special perks, amenities and prizes, including the chance to win 75,000 Wyndham Rewards Points - enough for a future five-night vacation.

No, they don't kill the signal
Wyndham Grand is collaborating with Yondr - which creates phone-free spaces using a unique locking phone case - to free guests from the temptation of checking their screens during 'family time'. For the technologically obsessive, there might be ways to 'cheat' (such as wearing a smart watch that provides a small degree of relief from smartphone withdrawal) but seeing as the program is optional, it's likely that it will succeed in restoring human interaction, even if only for a small part of the day...

"Before the pull of technology, we would never dream of wasting time on our phones instead of jumping straight into the pool and soaking up every minute of our vacation," said Lisa Checchio, Chief Marketing Officer for Wyndham. "But today, adults and kids are so glued to their devices that we've had to add more pool chairs to accommodate all the poolside swiping. With these Phone-Free Zones, we're creating unplugged oases and tech-free tables that challenge families to consciously put the phone away for an afternoon - or even just a meal - and make memories by simply being together."

Personal devices are impacting the way today's families travel, with 53% of people never unplugging or reducing their phone usage on a trip. The average American looks at their screen once every 12 minutes on vacation. Wyndham Grand hotels have seen the effect, witnessing guests toting more than 12 devices per family on a trip - which impacts hotels' Wi-Fi needs, lobby traffic patterns and pool operations, including an increasing supply of pool-side chairs.

Power down, please...
To opt in to a Phone-Free Zone, guests can check in with an attendant at the pool or restaurant, or ask any Wyndham Grand team member about going phone-free. The process is simple:

  1. Guests visit the Phone-Free Zone and check in with a Wyndham Grand team member at the pool or restaurant to receive a Yondr case that fits their handset.
  2. A Wyndham Grand team member will help the guest insert their phone in the Yondr case, which will remain locked while the guest is in the Phone-Free Zone. The phone will remain in the guest's possession at all times, but the case is locked.
  3. When they want to access their phone again, guests can simply visit the nearest unlocking station, and with a simple tap, unlock their Yondr case.
  4. Guests who participate will receive access to the space, which includes special perks - such as exclusive pool floats and various off-menu treats, along with a copy of The Nocturnals: The Mysterious Abductions to read and a chance to win 75,000 Wyndham Rewards loyalty points.

Phone-Free Zones are available at the following Wyndham Grand hotels in the US, all of which offer the Reconnected Family Experience program: Wyndham Grand Orlando Bonnet Creek Resort in Orlando, FL; Wyndham Grand Clearwater Beach Resort in Clearwater, FL; Wyndham Grand Chicago Riverfront in Chicago, IL; The Mills House, a Wyndham Grand Hotel in Charleston, SC; and Hotel Galvez & Spa, a Wyndham Grand Hotel in Galveston, TX.