On-Site Child Care at Meetings on the Rise

By Kelsey Ogletree, February 24, 2017

As the line between business travel and leisure travel continues to blur, meeting planners are incorporating child care into their meetings now more than ever. In fact, 54 percent of travelers taking bleisure trips bring family members with them, according to a 2014 report by BridgeStreet Global Hospitality. Last summer, investment firm Allen & Co. responded to this trend by hiring nearly 100 local babysitters to watch the children of around 300 CEOs, The Wall Street Journal reported.

It’s not only uberexclusive conferences on the front of this trend. Code4Lib—a community of developers and technologists for galleries, libraries, museums and archives—offered child care for the second time in its 10-year conference history at its two-and-a-half-day event last summer. While it was convenient for attendees, the move had a deeper meaning.

“Since women are more often in the caretaker role and underrepresented at tech conferences, this was one way to improve on our gender diversity,” says Shaun Ellis, a past sponsorship committee chair and a user interface developer at Princeton University Library, noting Code4Lib attendees are about 40 percent women—high for a tech conference. “The lack of child care at conferences prevents some of the best and brightest in the field from moving forward professionally, especially when networking and learning are important to career success.”

Code4Lib organizers worked with Philadelphia Nanny Network, which brought in toys and games. Child care was held in a room at the host hotel, the location of which was only disclosed to parents of the children at drop-off. They raised $4,000 in sponsorships from Equinox Software and CurateCamp, but also charged $10 per day, in part to avoid no-shows.

Efforts proved successful, with about 12 to 15 children taken care of each day of the conference. Ellis says they plan to offer child care again at the 2017 conference. Does he think child care at meetings will become more common? “It’s not easy to organize conference child care, and cultural attitudes still need to evolve,” he explains. But he does have high hopes for the future: “Families may see professional development and networking conferences as opportunities to spend time together rather than apart. They can see the world and share the experience with other families in those communities.”

(Visited 99 times, 1 visits today)

2019 marks the 50th anniversary of the riot that helped usher in the LGBTQ rights movement. Learn more about the Year of Pride.

In order to be creative, you must be vulnerable. Find out more tips on how to express yourself from creativity guru Timo Kiuru here.

The first step in setting goals for trade shows is determining what metrics to measure.

Explore Kentucky’s most spirited city—and host of Connect 2019—Louisville.

Ray Ezelle, vice president of sales and services at Visit Virginia’s Blue Ridge, says a metro-mountain mix is a recipe for success.

Could the next great innovation for the MICE industry be a platform that handles all contract details?

Rob Bezdjian, president of Zaven Global, aims to place the spotlight on the MICE industry through reality television.

Celebrate Kentucky’s most spirited city with a bourbon toast and a tip of the Derby hat.

Host an event that truly gives back.

Email etiquette isn't what it used to be—read our list for the best tips.

Trending