With more professionals striving to achieve the perfect work-life balance, family-friendly meetings and conferences can go a long way toward providing the perfect mixture of business and pleasure for attendees.
Although some planners fear that a family-friendly meeting will provide yet another distraction to the already saturated mix, many see including family members as an enhancement to the experience. In fact, when attendees bring loved ones along, they take more time to truly relax and enjoy a destination, and as a result are more likely to arrive at the conference or meeting more refreshed and ready to take on the day. An added bonus is that attendees are less likely to be constantly connected to their devices checking-in with family back home, allowing more face-to-face time with their colleagues and peers.
Following are some tips for hosting a family-friendly program.
Drive Connections Through Family Involvement
When a meeting planner decides to move forward with a family-friendly event, the most important tool to ensuring success is a balanced itinerary. Of course, the meeting program will need to include specific business-only portions, such as keynote sessions and teambuilding activities, but it is just as important to arrange social activities that the family members can also enjoy.
One of the most impactful ways for attendees to network and connect is by spending time with each other’s families. For example, a family social hour or reception where everyone can meet and mingle helps people connect on a personal level. Interactive family activities, such as relay races or tournament-style yard games can help to forge lasting memories.
When possible, schedule some time-off for attendees so they can experience the destination with their loved ones. Allowing sufficient downtime goes a long way toward creating a trip that attendees will cherish.
Select the Appropriate Venue
When securing a destination, research sites to ensure that venues not only provide a wide-variety of activities, but also has the appropriate meeting capabilities. For example, at Hyatt Regency Lost Pines Resort & Spa, meeting space features the most updated technologies, paired with exciting and fun activities for every age—from lounging by the 1,000-foot lazy river or taking a horseback ride, to enjoying a round of golf or relaxing spa treatment.
Additionally, some destinations provide incentives or conference programs with discounted rates for groups to bring their families along while not breaking the bank.
Keep Your Audience in Mind
Tailor the experience to the attendee list. When coordinating a family-friendly meeting, request the ages of each family member who will be attending as part of the RSVP to better plan age-appropriate activities and services. For example, if attendees have younger children, it may be worth finding a venue that has special accommodations for young children and babies or arrange for child care on-site.
Providing family members with overviews or brochures of activities that they can take part in while their loved one is at the business-driven portions of the meeting can also make the trip more enjoyable for everyone.
Erin Cook is director of sales and marketing at Hyatt Regency Lost Pines Resort & Spa. She has nearly 10 years of experience working in the hospitality and meeting industries.