The Meshing of Family and Business Travel

Bringing family along on business trips is nothing new.  However, some US companies are seeing more of an interest in family-friendly business travel among their employees than they have seen in the past few years.  According to Tony Wagner of CWT Meetings & Events, companies are having younger workers coming in who want to include their families on work-related trips. 

A recent survey from Wyndham Hotel Group found that 52 percent of US business travelers invite family members to join them on their business trips, and 48 percent actually extend their trip to include leisure time with their family.  This is important information when it comes to planning meetings and marketing a destination.  What are the benefits to including family in business itineraries?

First, planning family-friendly meetings drives attendance.  Megan Barry of Maritz Travel has found that companies and associations who include family in their meetings and events have seen their attendance numbers increase.  For many families, due to the poor economy, annual business meetings may be the only opportunity for a family vacation, as travel costs are often offset by company travel expenses.  

Second, including family in meetings show employee appreciation.  According to Roy Saunderson, author of “The Real Recognition Way” and president of Recognition Management Institute, greater employee appreciation builds better employee satisfaction and engagement and “having the family at a meeting shows that the company values the employee’s time and they value the family.”  In essence, employees are happier and more productive when they feel valued.  And a great way to show appreciation is to occasionally include family in meetings and events. 

So, does this mean planners have to hold meetings at the Walt Disney World Resort every year?  Not at all.  It does mean, however, being prepared to answer questions that the planner may have when he or she is researching family-friendly destinations.  What are your most family-friendly hotels and restaurants?  Are they nearby?  What can the kids do when mom or dad are in meetings?  Are there activities on site?  Can you provide information for the families to find activities on their own?  By adequately marketing to employees and their families, your attendance numbers will likely increase.  A win-win for everyone.