Small Market Meetings

NOV 2016

The Newspaper for Smaller Cities, Facilities and Planners.

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Page 5 of 35 www.sma ll mar k etmeet i Conference Report 6 T he delightful and hospitable city of Huntsville, Alabama, hosted the 2016 Small Market Meetings Conference October 2-4. A swarm of 190 travel industry representatives from CVBs, hotels, resorts and attractions from around the nation came to town to meet with 105 meeting planners whose business they crave. Huntsville was glad to have so many influential visitors at once. "We can say a lot of things and send out a lot of collateral information, but when they come to your city and can feel it and see the attractions and what we have to offer, that makes a huge difference in getting them back," said Bob Rogers, vice president of con- ventions at the Huntsville/Madison County Convention and Visitors Bureau. "We're thrilled to have everybody in Rocket City." Huntsville got that nickname from its close association with the U.S. space program. Mac Lacy, a partner in SMMC, lauded the city's many attractions during the gathering's opening remarks. "You'll be going home and enthusiastically talking about Huntsville, and I think you'll be able to easily sell it," said Lacy. Meeting Planners Find Ideas The heart of the conference was the two marketplace sessions where travel industry By Dan Dickson Southeast corridor," she said. "I'm looking for people willing to hold meetings that are eco- nomical because we're always trying to watch the [U.S.] Treasury's dollars. But I'm also always looking for that wow feature." Don Testa of Trips Ahoy Travel in Huntington Beach, California, wants to impress his select clients. "I plan meetings for small profes- sional groups like doctors, lawyers, certified financial planners, and real-estate and insur- ance brokers," he said. "What they all have in common is that they need continuing educa- tion to renew their licenses." Ed Prokopik of EJP Event Planners in Branchburg, New Jersey, was also seeking sites for his specialty clients. "We handle All photos by Dan Dickson The U.S. Space and Rocket Center fascinates delegates at the Small Market Meetings Conference. S m a l l M a r k e t M e e t i n g s Small Market Meetings C o n f e r e n c e B o o m s i n H u n t s v i l l e Conference Booms in Huntsville October 2-4, 2016 O b 2 4 2016 O b 2 4 201 6 representatives visited with meeting planners in prescheduled six-minute appointments and get-acquainted chats. The goal was to begin doing business. Rita Zagar of Perry Consulting, an event planning company in Litchfield Park, Arizona, came with her to-do list. "I hope to accom- plish fact-finding," she said. "I'm learning a lot. I gather information about the CVBs and towns around the country. We do dinners and events and other things for nonprofit clients." Rosemary Williams-Raysor of the U.S. Department of Labor in Atlanta was scouring one particular part of the country. "My goal is to work with meeting suppliers in the

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