Many professionals attend two or more conventions, or trade shows, a year in various locations throughout the United States and the world. These events usually last three to four days, and when you add on travel time, attendees may be gone from their families for a week or longer.
This can mean each attendee must find someone to care for their children or ask their spouse to do double duty while they are gone. On top of the ask, that exact meeting participant may miss telling their children bedtime stories, attending their soccer games, or being present for milestone events like their child’s first steps or words.
For some, the solution may be to bring the family along. If that is the case for your attendees, here is a checklist of things to look for from a venue and the benefits of traveling this way.
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Ask attendees to determine how many would like to bring their families. This will help narrow down the venue. Be sure to ask about the ages and interests of the children, so you can tailor experiences to wow them.
Choose a family-friendly destination. This could mean places with fun attractions such as theme parks, zoos or historic sites.
Select a hotel or conference center with family suites. Look for multiple bedroom options, a kitchenette and a living area.
Ask about licensed childcare. When completing site visits or going on a FAM trip, determine if the hotel provides a childcare service onsite or can offer a listing of sitters who can come to attendees’ rooms. Ensure the caregivers work for licensed organizations.
Create a kid’s camp. There are all types—tech, soccer, rope climbing camps—to name a few. Kids can feel they are learning, just like their parents. You can also sync the times so everyone starts and ends their sessions together.
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Sponsor a talent show. Hire a local drama teacher or coach to allow the children to be the last night’s entertainment and give a prize to all participants.
Allow the family to attend social events. Provide a movie room showing of the latest animated movie, or move your opening reception to a pool, park or outside venue to accommodate.
A Winning Combination
Families can pair a vacation with the event. If your association members or employees were already planning to go to the meeting destination for a family vacation, this is an easy sell.
Attendees can get to know each other on a different level. Employees and association members may find their children go to the same school, have similar interests, or may forge new friendships. Same with their respective spouses.
This is a win-win for all parties. The parent gets the education they need, while the family enjoys what they want.
De-de Mulligan is a regular blog contributor for rentacomputer.com, a nationwide provider of laptop rentals for meetings and events.
As a former meeting planner who has received Ohio MPI’s Planner of the Year award twice, she brings a unique perspective to the events industry. You can find her on Twitter and LinkedIn, where she welcomes followers and connections.