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Jill Stone

Your Meeting Matchmaker Fairy Godmother

Conference + Family = Winner!

in: Travel and Hospitality


For many families, an impactful result of pandemic living was how it transformed homes into virtual work spaces and educational centers. Our worlds got smaller and more compacted. Household inhabitants were vying for bandwidth, spending every meal together and, well, spending almost every minute together.

That said, about one-third of Americans cited that being able to spend more time with spouses, children and other family members positively impacted them. Another interesting statistic to note is that two-thirds of Americans are planning significant trips for 2022. These two facts offer an opportunity to meeting planners.

There is a pent-up need to get out of the house and start exploring again! Meeting planners have the potential to capture more attendees by scheduling meetings at family friendly destinations. Here are some thoughts for you:

  • Choose accessible destinations; traveling with smaller children is hard enough, even more so when there are several flight connections to make, or that require other forms of transportations to catch like ferries.
  • Make sure the destination is easy to get around in; that families can easily get from one place to another within 20 minutes by walking, or taking easy-to-access transportation.
  • The destination should offer lots of activities. While the attendee is at the conference their family will need to be entertained.
  • Pay attention to destinations that are budget friendly as well. Also, if the conference is at a luxury hotel, consider offering a more budget friendly hotel as an option.
  • Remember the room block will need to include rooms with two beds and potentially a cot or two.
  • Engage CVBs to help with planning itineraries and understanding all the destination has to offer and include this information in your communications to attendees.
  • Be sure to plan for free time in the conference schedule so attendees have time to spend with their family.
  • Consider offering a family activity day as a separate sign up for attendees.
  • Stay in touch with your venue and CVB to keep the pulse on what is happening in their area when it comes to Covid and such. Keep in touch with your attendees and inform them of any developments they may need to know.

Of course, be prepared to pivot, it is the world we live in. And, hey, think of me! I have worked with a lot of meeting planners during this time of Covid and am well versed in what to know about contracts right now, how to help protect you from unnecessary charges and what to do if another variant shows up and messes with your plans.

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