News for the Hospitality Executive
Business Trip = Guilt Trip…Not Anymore. Family-Friendly Meetings Are
|By Amanda Dennis
September 22, 2011
Over the summer, I noticed a change in the business travel landscape. Not only were travelers rushing through airports with a briefcase in one hand and a Starbucks in the other. Some had traded in their Starbucks for a small child. And many times, there was a spouse and additional children following in their wake.
In today’s world of single parents, dual-incomes and women executives, it’s not just daddy that’s packing a suitcase, kissing the kids good-bye and hitting the road. Moms are traveling, too. A report released in January by Travel Leaders, North America’s largest travel agency franchisor, found that 65.7% of business travelers combine at least one business trip with a leisure or family trip. Time-starved, multi-tasking parents are constantly searching for ways to keep the family together without sacrificing their job duties. Savvy organizations are realizing that attending a business meeting doesn’t have to mean more time on the job and less time with family members. I asked Mike Lyons, Executive Vice President of AMR Meetings & Incentives, if family-friendly meetings are a viable option. “Absolutely!” said Lyons. He considers it a natural part of the conversation with his clients. “We have an obligation as a company who puts on these events to point out these opportunities to the decision maker. It’s interesting to see their reaction,” Lyons added. “They quickly recognize that family-friendly meetings are a win-win for everyone: the company, the hotel, the attendees and the children.”
What are the benefits of having the family tag along? There’s the bonus of family time at the end of the work day…in some cases more of a treat than an expectation. It’s a terrific opportunity to spend some time reconnecting. Many road warriors say that bringing their families along erases the guilt that they experience when leaving their biggest supporters behind once again. They need some time to relax and recharge, and the upshot is a more alert, enthusiastic and productive meeting participant. Then there are the potential cost savings. Many young families can’t afford a family vacation these days. Having part (or all) of the trip reimbursed can benefit both the employer and employee. And in some cases, including the family can actually be more cost effective for an employer. Yes, there are naysayers who are concerned about family distractions or attendees cutting out early. But those things can happen with or without a family in tow. Marketing manager April Thompson has been planning meetings for one of IBM’s software portfolios for the last five years. She sees a lot of family vacations combined with meetings held in Orlando. “Lots of people bring their kids along,” said Thompson. “It’s been a consistent trend over the last five years and now families are extending their visits beyond the meeting dates. Having part of the trip paid for by the company is a great benefit.”
So, now that you know the value of family-friendly meetings, how do you compete for this lucrative market? Here are five tips to get you started.
A hospitality specialist for over 30 years, Amanda Dennis helps under-performing hotels achieve impressive gains and average hotels soar to extraordinary levels. How does she do it? By working in tandem with your team, incorporating novel positioning, leveraging traditional and modern channels for marketing and adopting inventive pricing strategies. Whether your need is basic or complex, short-term or long-term, Amanda J. Dennis & Associates will design a solution based on your needs, your goals, your market and your location. Think you can’t afford a consultant? Think again. Your potential investment return is as limitless as your curiosity. Find out more by calling (720) 379-3058 or e-mail Amanda directly. Facebook fans click “like” for daily tips, tricks and take-aways.
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