Event Management
April 13, 2018  •  by Sean Burke

How To Create Successful And Safe Family-Friendly Events

Planning a successful and safe family-friendly event requires a lot of knowledge to get correctly. There are many more elements to developing this type event than almost any other kind because you have 2 target audiences to contend with: the children, and the parents.

-Online Ticket Sales

You could have the best family-friendly event in the world, and it won’t matter if you don’t actually sell tickets to it! Creating a strong event page that helps parents easily pick dates and tickets will do a lot to bring in traffic. Secondly, by selling most of your tickets online, you’ll have a very strong outlook on total attendees, which will help you plan more effectively.

There are several elements that you want to look at when selling tickets:

-Value. When it comes down to it, the value is what your event offers. A basic marketing principle is the Value Proposition Equation. The Equation is expressed as follows: Value – Price = Value Capture. If your event provides more value than the price of the ticket to someone, then they benefit. Providing opportunities for families to bond, to meet other people, and to have great experiences are all different value propositions you can play with as you market your event and its tickets.

-Inexpensive Pricing. Most families tend to be 3 to 4 people, so having prices that are affordable for your target demographic are key. A $20 ticket might be fine for a concert, but a family of 4 might have issues spending $80. Generally, you should shoot for prices that are the cost of a movie ticket, or less. You have to consider all of the other things that a family could do on the day of your event, and be competitive with those options. If you are providing a significant amount of value and you feel that your target demographic can handle it, you can, of course, make your tickets more expensive.

-Child Pricing. Child Pricing can be controversial, since if you’re making prices inexpensive, then families will want to attend anyway. One common option is to make it so that children under a certain age who are unlikely to benefit from the event do not require payment for entry.

-Package Deals. The key to family-friendly package deals is to make it so that adults will encourage their other friends with families to attend as well. So this might mean having a package deal for 8-10 tickets, or discounts if more than 8-10 tickets are purchased.

Elements of Successful Family-Friendly Events

When crafting your event, you should focus hard on the value proposition your event provides. However, you also need to inspire confidence in parents that the place they are taking their children is safe, fun, and affordable.

-Activities For All Age Groups

Any event focused on drawing in families can call itself a “family friendly” event. And of course, any family friendly event should have a focus on the children. However, the events that are going to be truly successful are going to be events that have different activities and value for both the children and the parents. Furthermore, by having some sort of draw for the parents, you ensure that you will get better return traffic every year. When you engage all sides, you are more likely to create an overall better and more memorable experience for everyone.

My go-to for example for having something for everyone is Disneyland. Disneyland does a great job of providing different attractions for different age groups that turns into an enjoyable experience for the entire family. It’s a holistic place that has parents as excited to go as their kids.

Another example of a great family-friendly event that Ticketbud assists in is the Austin Trail of Lights. As an annual Christmas light show, you’re going to have pretty much anyone, young or old, be interested in going. It’s simple, almost everyone likes to look at Christmas lights. However, the Trail of Lights also has specific activities for each of the demographics. For children, there are areas where they can have photos with Santa, and where they can ride a Ferris Wheel. For parents, there are numerous food and beverage options available. And of course, there is also the nostalgia and tradition element wherein the Trail of Lights has been around for so long, that it’s likely that there are parents who have been going since they themselves were children.

-Area for Lost Children

You need to have an area for families to reconvene with lost children. A plan must be created to help take care of children displaced from their family. You might even want to have special wristbands for children under a certain age. Any staff member in charge of this area should be highly trusted and be given a stringent background check – see more on this below in the Security and Safety section.

-Bathrooms/Health Facilities

Depending on the families you are planning on marketing towards, you should make sure that you have bathrooms or portables that contain changing stations. However, it’s a good idea to have it on hand, no matter what. There should also be provisions for breastfeeding.

Also, it is a good idea to have a visible First Aid station for bumps/cuts/bruises.

-Emphasis on Engaging Experiences

For families, especially younger ones, going out into public can be a stressful occasion even if the event is supposed to be fun. Creating an engaging experience where families can be relaxed and not worry about the small things is beneficial. If it’s hot out, have water and spray sunscreen on hand. If it’s raining, have branded umbrellas. By having a great experience, families can get out of the “rut” of their normal life and create some great memories in the process.

-Security and Safety

Unfortunately, events with a lot of children tend to attract certain people with ill intentions. Although it’s up to you, if you are planning on bringing in a lot of families, you may want to consider an event security team or an off-duty officer to ensure that you have done your due diligence in this matter. You should have all staff be given a background check or an initial screening. A service such as Verified Volunteers is useful for helping create something that is scalable depending on how many volunteers or staff you need on hand.


Some other questions to ask are this:

-Will smoking or alcohol be allowed? If so, it must be an area far away from the main part of the event and closed off to the general public.

-Are all of the sponsors family friendly?

-Is the area accessible to strollers?

-What kind of food will be available? Remember, peanut allergies are very common these days.

-Will there be shade available?

As I mentioned in the beginning – there is A LOT that goes into making a safe, fun, and (ideally) profitable family-friendly event. While it can be overwhelming, by following this guide, you are well on your way to having an event that will create a lot of great memories.

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