Black Meetings and Tourism

September/October 2010

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 24 of 68

BY PATRICIA ANN JORDAN F amily Reunions and military reunions, even in uncer- tain times, still result in big business for destinations, especially during summer months. Many destinations typically host four to six family reunions per month. As a result of this demand for desired summer business, the hotels and destinations continue to invent new initiatives enabling generations of all ages to continue to host thriving family and military reunions. Recently, Philadelphia’s Multi Affairs Congress (MAC) created a family reunion social website, a first for a host city. The site is the “new” home for the savvy and interactive reunion planner.The site not only displays Philadelphia’s unique reunion venues and attractions, families can develop their ownweb page and photo gallery for free,allowing themto use Philadelphia’s platformas their offi- cial family home page. It also provides reunion planners from across the nation the opportunity to interact with one anoth- er, swapping ideas and planning tips.Additional functions of the site include videos, blogs, rfqs andmore. “Family reunions are great for hotels, especially during a time when convention business is slow.Families usually come during the summer months and can stay up to three days or more” states Ed Grose, executive director of the Greater PhiladelphiaHotelAssociation.“The reunions not only book overnight rooms but also use banquet andmeeting space and spend money in the hotel bars and restaurants.” The Philadelphia ConventionVisitor Bureau (PCVB) like other bureaus, including the Greater Lansing Convention Visitor Bureau,welcomes reunions by providing a staffmem- ber that specializes in assisting reunion planners free of cost. Providing sample weekend itineraries, offering suggestions for free time and venues, and assisting in locating a host hotel for out of town guests, are among assistance offered. Dr. Ione D.Vargus, professor emeritus and director of the FamilyReunion Institute, stresses,“Families continue to have 24 reunions even during the recession because they know the importance of a reunion. They also know how inspired and uplifted family members become as a result of seeing each other, especially those froma distance that they seldom get to see.” Dr. Varguswent on to add,“Some families think it is even more important than usual to get together to draw strength from each other and are planning their first reunions.“ Other important points stressed by Dr.Vargus are that a DR. VARGUS reunion could have been in the planning stages for a while, even before the recession hit as hard. In some cases, the reunion may have been planned three to five years in advance. Some of those attending were saving and making arrangements to come and kept their goal. Economic impact of reunions can be significant. The impact varies based upon the size of the reunion. Once a family member has decided to organize a reunion, the first step is to contact the chosen city’s CVB to obtain a reunion packet. Then it is key to organize a planning/host committee.The bureau can put you in touch with hotels, din- ing, entertainment parks for family outings and attractions thatmay cater to reunions. Planners have a host of resources at their fingertips and are able to negotiate with local busi- nesses. Complimentary services available through the bureaus can include invitations; welcome messages from the mayor and governor; canvass of the hotel properties for rooms during the dates the family needs; promotional information on the city; personnel to assist with registration during the reunion; computer generated nametags for each family member; advertising specialty items for each member attending; and Black Meetings & Tourism September/October 2010:

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

Archives of this issue

view archives of Black Meetings and Tourism - September/October 2010