An afternoon with your relatives in a local public park has morphed into multi-day or even weeklong trips. Destinations range from a convenient central location to places with special family significance or a vacation hot spot, such as Washington, D.C., Orlando, Fla., or Phoenix, Ariz.
With the average reunion populated by 50 relatives, according to Reunions Magazine, a destination reunion can become a huge undertaking and quite expensive if you don't plan ahead. Ask anyone who has done it; it's a real labor of love. Fortunately, some hotels and other destinations provide reunion planning assistance and offer group discounts. For example, the moderately-priced lodging chain Country Inns & Suites By Carlson provides “virtual concierge” resources on their Web site at www.countryinns.com to help reunion planners select a destination and plan their events. The site also profiles area attractions, restaurants, events, shopping and maps for many top destinations.
“Another resource for reunion planners is the 20 great destination reunion locations we're highlighting at countryinns20years.com in honor of our 20th anniversary,” said Steve Mogck, EVP and Brand Leader for Select Service Hotels.
If you book your reunion lodging at a Country Inns & Suites location, they will create a customized Web page for you and provide you with a link to send to your reunion attendees. Attendees can visit the customized Web page at their convenience to preview event details and area information, get driving directions, as well as make room reservations. More information about booking rooms for large groups is available by calling toll free (800) 964-7905 or visiting their Web site.
Also, the hotel chain is offering a special sweepstakes for the reunion crowd. From May 14 through August 31, people can enter to win a grand prize trip for 20 to any of the 20 featured reunion destination locations. Sweepstakes details are available at www.countryinns20years.com.
In addition to planning support, the hotel chain offers many other amenities that a planner would want for their family reunion. They offer a homey atmosphere, complimentary hot breakfast, swimming pools, exercise equipment and even a “Read It & Return” Lending Library with an expanded assortment of books for all ages.
Agreeing on the location, date and accommodations are just the beginning. In most families a planning committee works together, sharing responsibility for planning and executing this large-scale event. Web sites and books on the subject recommend dividing and conquering in handling the details, research, communications and financial responsibilities of a large group event like a destination reunion. The good news is that once a family has its first reunion under its belt, it becomes much easier to plan the next get together.
Keep those family reunion memories alive with a scrapbook. It's a fun and relaxing way to create a collective memory. Creating a reunion scrapbook could even be one of the group activities planned for the last day of the reunion.
Here are a few tips to get started on a family reunion scrapbook: