Successful Meetings - March 2008 - (Page 34)

Family Programs A Family Affair As more planners see spouses and children tagging along to meetings, they’re making arrangements to keep attendees, families—and the boss—happy By Robert Carey It’s no revelation to say that the line between home and work life is more blurred than ever before. But what may be a surprise to many in the meetings business is how conferences and events are moving rapidly toward that line—and that it just might be a very good thing. Many corporations and associations have started making accommodations for attendees to come to a meeting with their families in tow. The primary goal is to keep attendees free from excessive stress while on the road, allowing them to better focus during the meeting and be more productive once they go home. “Family involvement at meetings tends to keep the late-night partying to a minimum. They go to bed earlier, so they are rested for the business sessions,” says Betsy Kang, director of sales and catering for a family resort with meeting space, the Great Wolf Lodge, outside Cincinnati. Another goal is to create goodwill by affording them the opportunity to have some personal time with their families—a mini-vacation—in a fun destination. Of course, “There are always two schools of thought with regard to productivity if the family comes along to a meeting,” says Terri Breining, former chair of Meeting Professionals International and president of Concepts Worldwide, an independent planning firm in Carlsbad, CA. “One school holds that the attendees are less anxious because they don’t have to take time away from the family to attend a conference. The other holds that they may be too distracted by family matters.” To alleviate the friction between these two views, some planners take steps to actively incorporate families into some aspects of the meeting. MARCH 2008 SUCCESSFUL MEETINGS PHOTO: SUPERSTOCK 34

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Successful Meetings - March 2008

Successful Meetings - March 2008
Editor's Note
On the Record
Planner's Spotlight
Management Matters
Mouth for Sale
Meetings Law
Tools of the Trade
On Site
Quick Tip
Critical Conditions
A Family Affair
Conference Centers We Love
CSM of the Year
Places & Spaces
Luxury Las Vegas
New York CIty
New Orleans
Oahu & Big Island
Florida Keys

Successful Meetings - March 2008