Small Market Meetings

JAN 2017

The Newspaper for Smaller Cities, Facilities and Planners.

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Page 9 of 35 Managing Meetings 10 Courtesy Visit Marina Del Rey Visit Marina Del Rey staff can help meeting planners coordinate a variety of coastal activities. new skills or ideas to use back home. In Alexandria, planners some- times work with a company called Fetching Photos, which leads groups on a "photo safari" through historic neighborhoods. Before departing, members of the group download several photog- raphy apps and receive a tutorial on taking unique pictures with their phones. The guide then takes them past charming old homes and cobblestone roads to practice these new techniques. Afterward, par- ticipants can take home the apps as well as great new ideas on how to take better pictures. In cities known for their local cuisine, groups can test their team- work and cooking skills with a culinary challenge, which often includes a brief cooking lesson. "You break into teams of three or four, and you're given certain ingredients to work with, then you're judged on presentation, taste and so on," said Loyd. What is the main purpose for the activity? After-hours events can have a variety of goals, but knowing the purpose will help planners narrow their options. Groups traveling to Scottsdale, Arizona, often take off-road Tomcar tours through the Sonoran Desert, which is team building as well as educational. "Many times, they'll stop halfway through the tour and educate folks on the flora and fauna of the desert," said Erika Pumphrey, senior national sales manager at Experience Scottsdale. Other locations simply provide an outlet for relaxation and fun, such as the Port City Brewery in Alexandria, which won the title for best small American brewery in 2015. "They do something called Peddles and Pints, where you bike first and then come back and do the beer tour and tasting," said Loyd. In California, whale- and dolphin-watching tours are always a great way to unwind and enjoy coastal scenery, according to Lawrence Stafford, business development manager at Visit Marina Del Rey. Another popular pastime in the area is yoga paddleboarding, which takes place on a calm section of water adjacent to the beach. "People often fall off the boards," said Stafford with a laugh, "but that can make it humorous."

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