There were two distinct sides to the first Small Market Meetings Conference held October 4-6 in sunny Shreveport, Louisiana. The first was all business, the second was all fun. The meeting planners who attended from 18 states did a superb job of accommodating both.
"Work hard, play hard. That's what we tell them," said conference partner Mac Lacy. "Our office in Ohio runs a very straightforward business model for all our conferences and we followed it again for Small Market Meetings. We were all about generating new meeting business for dozens of smaller destinations during the day, and we were about enjoying each others' company in the evenings. Not a bad formula."
The business side of the conference included more than 2,000 individual meetings between buyers and sellers of meeting sites and services, three professional development seminars on topics like social media, dealing with aging boomer delegates and online RFP technology, and exploring the huge upside to smaller meeting destinations in terms of cost, convenience and service compared to larger cities.
"We couldn't be happier with the first conference," said partner Charlie Presley. "We had committed delegates who understood that in today's economy, value and service count. And our planners were here because they see a big upside in those areas to second and third-tier cities."
Kim Dolan, center, and Tammy Knox, right, registered a meeting planner at Small Market Meetings Conference
Kelly Tyner, center, and Vickie Mitchell, right, registered two meeting planners in Shreveport
Business was brisk in two marketplace sessions between planners and destinations at the conference
The Little Rock CVB sponsored a luncheon for delegates in Shreveport
Attendees learned about aging baby boomer clients during the Extreme Aging seminar in Shreveport
Volunteers described the aging process during the Extreme Aging seminar with Dr. Vicki Rosebrook, right