Want to send spouses off to taste chocolate and do some shopping? Or send tagalong families to an amusement park or museum?
A good place for meeting planners to get ideas for spouse tours and family outings is a convention and visitors bureau. CVB convention sales and services staff are up on the latest attractions and tours.
Before making the call, meeting planners should jot down information about the family members for whom they are planning an outing to help the CVB better determine activities to suggest.
Here are tips on what CVBs need to know from meeting planners, shared by Chelsey Morrison of the Durham, N.C., CVB and Krista Porter of the Overland Park, Kan., CVB.
• How large is the group? Size is important because, as Morrison pointed out, attractions that work for groups of 50 don’t necessarily work for groups of 100.
• What are the participants like? “I want to know what ages we are looking at. Is the group mostly male, female? Are they 60-plus, middle age?” said Porter. CVBs also need to know how active and mobile group members are. Do any use wheelchairs or walkers? Does the group want an active event or something more sedate?
• What sorts of activities has the group enjoyed in the past? What sorts of tours have they done in other cities?
• What time of the year will the meeting be held? What time of day and day of the week will the spouse tour be offered? Weather conditions can broaden or narrow options.
For example, in Durham, the Sarah P. Duke Gardens, among the city’s top attractions, is lovely spring through fall but might prove a little nippy in the winter. Options on Mondays will be fewer as the Durham’s state historic sites are closed.
• Will meals be part of the event or tour? If so, is a sit-down meal preferred, or does the group simply want to grab box lunches or a quick meal to go?
• What sort of transportation will be required? Does the planner want an activity within walking distance of the hotel? If transportation is needed, will participants use their own cars, or will a shuttle be required?