Small Market Meetings

JAN 2017

The Newspaper for Smaller Cities, Facilities and Planners.

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January 2017 9 Great After-Hours Events Leave Lasting Impressions Courtesy Travel Juneau Meeting planners can take groups to explore the ice caves around Juneau. Wow your delegates with a dazzling venue or creative theme O ne of the best ways to ensure that a meeting leaves attendees with a memorable experience is with creative after-hours events, which can involve special tours, unique venues, team- building activities and more. "People who are coming to a destination want to experience what the locals experience, but at the same time, they want something unique and personal for them," said Erin Degulis, director of conven- tion services at Go Providence in Providence, Rhode Island. From dining in the desert to yoga paddleboarding, here are some insights that convention and visitors bureaus shared about planning original events, along with five questions that planners should ask themselves as they make arrangements. What is your organization all about? Convention and visitors bureaus often steer planners toward differ- ent ideas for their events depending on the nature of their organiza- tion. Medical groups occasionally host an evening of Tankards and Tonics at the Stabler-Leadbeater Apothecary in Alexandria, Virginia, which was one of the first pharmacies in the nation and frequented by notable figures like George Washington and Robert E. Lee. "Everybody dresses up like pharmacists with the jackets, and we have infused vodka in test tubes. It's really fun if you have a group in health care," said Lorraine Loyd, vice president of sales at Visit Alexandria. Likewise, scientific groups, such as the Society of Naval Architects and Marine Engineers, often visit Providence to take advantage of the local research facilities. "Rhode Island is a pioneer in wind farming and wind energy," said Kristen Adamo, vice president of marketing and communications at Go Providence. "So attendees were able to tour the site of a special wind project that's one of the first of its kind in the country." What can attendees take away from the experience? One way to grab people's attention is with an activity that teaches By Savannah Osbourn

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