How to Make a Meeting Family-Friendly

How to Plan a Meeting

Family - Kids

Sometimes, meetings can be hard on attendees -- especially those with children, for whom business travel requires not only stamina, but also sacrifice. For that reason, some planners are now incorporating family-friendly meetings into their event portfolios, recognizing that such meetings can boost attendance by giving delegates an opportunity to combine a business trip with a family vacation.

"If your group's demographic skews toward attendees who have children, then selecting a family-friendly venue for your next conference should be at the top of your to-do list," Kalahari Resorts & Conventions argues in a recent post on its blog.

According to Kalahari, meeting planners who want to make their events more accommodating to families should start with lodging. A hotel with a swimming pool -- or, in Kalahari's case, a waterpark -- is a must, but so is a hotel with appropriate guest room formats.

"The hotel where your attendees will stay needs to include family-friendly rooms or suites," Kalahari says. "Make sure there are options that include kitchens and tables, multiple bedrooms and bathrooms, or have adjacent rooms that can be utilized as separate but accessible sleeping areas."

The most welcoming events have more than family-friendly guest rooms, however. They also have family-friendly activities and amenities.

"Maybe kids are in vacation mode, but it might be a great life lesson to give them a small taste of the conference experience," Kalahari says. "You can make name badges for your junior attendees … And if there's a budget you could create a special swag bag for them at check-in."

You could even welcome kids to a reception with their parents. "Why not invite kids to one special event?" Kalahari asks. "Put it in the schedule that the opening party is kid-friendly. Let adults and children mingle, and make sure to include kid-friendly foods and nonalcoholic beverages on the menu."

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