Issue #32

Family-Friendly B-to-B

How b-to-b events are embracing work-life balance with on-site child care.

Pew Research Center data shows half of two-parent households in the U.S. are dual-income, which means work-life balance is becoming an increasingly important factor for employees and for event attendees. It’s easier to make the decision to travel for an event or for work when you can take your family along, and it is why b-to-b events are embracing the work-life balance many modern offices have embraced by offering on-site childcare and other benefits for families.

C2 Montréal has embraced the trend with a PopUp Camp daycare service next to the C2 “village” for children ages 1 through 10. The daycare center is stocked with equipment, certified educators, themed activities, toys and meals. It’s $20 per hour, per child, and requires registration to secure a spot.

XOXO Fest, an annual festival and conference in Portland, OR, that “celebrates independently produced art and technology,” offers free, on-site childcare, sponsored by Slack. Professional caregivers from My Loving Nanny provide one nanny per four children. There is food provided, play stations, arts and crafts, and dedicated napping areas for the youngest ones. There’s an arcade and experiences for older kids, too. Breastfeeding moms, while “encouraged to breastfeed anywhere,” can take advantage of a private lounge and cold storage.

The Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing conference calls itself one of the first tech conferences to offer childcare, a program that started in 2011. At its annual event, attendees are offered free on-site childcare for children 13 years and younger. It’s a sponsor-able benefit, to boot, for brands to “demonstrate your dedication to inclusivity.” For this organization, providing childcare not only benefits the attendee roll, but supports its mission of supporting women in tech.

Other entities have taken a family-first approach, embracing child-friendly b-to-b events that help nurture the next generation of supporters or workers. Like the American Beekeeping Federation which this past January at its North American Beekeeping Conference & Trade Show held a “Kids and Bees” event with 300 kids, their parents and teachers, and 20 hands-on exhibits. Similarly, the National Weather Association’s WeatherReady Fest during its Annual Meeting this September will host experiential engagements for kids ranging from flight simulators through thunderstorms, crafts and building solar panels.

It’s yet another way the event industry is making it easier for attendees to hit that registration button—benefits that benefit the bottom line, too.

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