Designing Spousal Programs for Corporate Events

Spousal ProgramWhile most guests involved in spousal programs for corporate events are still female, the demographic is gradually shifting and there are more and more men in attendance. Coming up with gender neutral activities and activities that are appealing for men can be a challenge.

Today, I'll provide a few tips for designing spousal programs and 40 suggestions for activities. I invite readers to add their own ideas in the comments.

  1. Get input from spouses.
    One of the most important things to remember when planning corporate events with spousal programs is that one size does not fit all, The best way to plan an itinerary with activities that hit the mark is to ask. Send out a survey and ask participants to consult with spouses and identify the types of activities that will be of interest. Then, provide a variety of options and let the guests select what they want to do.

    Definitely when asked for suggestions, participants will come up with ideas that may not cross the minds of event planners. I have put a (*) besides ideas that participants have suggested.
  2. Offer activities for a range of fitness levels.
  3. Begin with a group lunch or afternoon tea with an orientation and reception so that spouses can meet and get to know each other.
  4. Keep the first afternoon (or morning) meeting free so that spouses and children have a time to become comfortable with their new setting.
  5. Include some activities for spouses when employees are in meetings.
  6. Include some gender neutral activities:
    • Behind-the-scenes garden or landscaping tour. *
    • Theater outing with behind the scenes tour.
    • Guided sea-doo excursion. *
    • Mini-tennis tournament.
    • Mini-chess tournament.
    • Sketching workshop.
    • Photo workshop.
    • Photo safari.
    • Horse riding.
    • Polo clinic.
    • Concert.
    My previous list of 15 activities for spousal events provided some gender neutral activities as well as some activities appealing to women.
  7. Include activities that appeal to men.
    • Golf.
    • Paintball *
    • Car events.*
    • Soccer clinic.
    • Fishing trip.
    • BBQ challenge.
    • Card tournament.
    • Woodworking workshop.
    • Motorcycle events or tours. *
    • Customized spa menu for men.
    • Computer gaming tournament.
    • Vintage video game tournament.
    • Sportscar or airplane simulators.
    • Group Excursion to sporting event.
    • Ziplining or sporting event with GoPro headcam to capture the action. (Will also appeal to Millennials of both sexes.)

 What's Ahead: Immersive virtual reality games and experiences.

  1. Appeal to all ages.
    Remember more and more, corporate events will be multi-generational including Boomers, Generation X, Millennials, and before we know it, Generation Z. So have a good mix of activities.

  1. Be sure to include activities for couples of all ages.
    • Hip-hop dance workshop and contest.
    • Salsa dance workshop.
    • Twist contest.
    • Sunset cruise.
  2. Don't neglect the singles. There will always be some employees who bring a friend or relative to corporate events. It is important to make sure that they don't feel left out.
    • Nightclub outing.
    • Sunset cruise with dancing.
    • Casino rueda salsa.
    • Karaoke party.
    • Boardgame night.

Here are more tips that are helpful when planning spousal events: Bespoke Events and Experiences Essential in Internet AgeBalancing Team, Family and Free Time During Foreign Corporate Events, Designing Family Friendly Conferences, Retreats and Incentive Trips

Photo Credit: Offutt Air Force Base

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