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Pros and Cons of Holding a Meeting around a Holiday Weekend

October 21, 2016

holiday weekend, meeting, Mulligan Management Group, Dede Mulligan

With Thanksgiving just around the corner; have you given any thought to combining your meeting or event with fun family time? Wedding Planners do it all the time – they hold the nuptials over a long holiday weekend so family from faraway places can plan to attend the ceremony. 

The question is: Does this translate to corporate or association events? Below are several pros and cons when considering such an option.

Pros
 

  • If you clearly spell out “work time” and “fun time”, attendees will join in.

    Years ago, when I worked for IBM they had ½-day business meetings followed by ½-day fun times. This way, employees knew they were to work their hardest from 8 to noon during the three days we were there, but from 12 pm on was family time.

    You can do the same. Perhaps have work time from 9 to 3 and let the employees knock off early to enjoy the surroundings, their co-workers and their family.
     
  • You will have negotiating power with your suppliers.

    Generally speaking, AV and computer rental companies are slow over the holidays and welcome business during this period.
     
  • The event can be sold as a family function.

    The employees or attendees do not have to take off personal time to come to the event because they are bringing their family along with them. While they are in a meeting, their family can enjoy an amusement park, water slides or the day spa. Whatever the perk, the family receives benefits as well.
     
  • Employees can experience a venue or attraction they might not otherwise attend.

    Holding the meeting or conference at a unique destination or somewhere near multiple attractions can be exciting for attendees. If you rent iPads for your event, the computer vendor can prepopulate the iPad with social channels such as Yelp and Four Square where attendees can look at reviews of local attractions, scan the web and even buy tickets.

 

Cons

 

  • According to Andrew Jensen, President of Sozo Firm, Mondays and Fridays are the least effective days to hold a meeting.

    Therefore, planning for a Friday meeting around a fun-filled weekend may backfire for you because attendees may already be in “weekend mode”. Something to consider for sure when planning an event.
     
  • You won’t get 100% attendance.

    Some individuals plan their holiday weekends several months or even years ahead of time. In fact, according to AAA, approximately 11% of the US population hits the road over Labor Day weekend.
     
  • If your attendees don’t have a family, they may feel out of place.

    This is where you really need to do your homework and find out the demographics of your audience. How many have family at home? Are married? Have a significant other?

    You may need to find other things for single attendees to do so they can enjoy the outing just as much as the rest.
     
  • If the event is not positioned right, attendees will think it is over the top.


Make sure attendees know what the company and association will pay for and what it will not. Attendees should not expect the company to pay for an upgrade on their room, meals for the family or anything they decide to do during fun time. It is up to you to have this spelled out long before you invite them to attend the meeting.
 

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