Small Market Meetings

MAR 2017

The Newspaper for Smaller Cities, Facilities and Planners.

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March 2017 13 if they have a VIP set, and very often they can bring in special decor, like flowers and elegant table settings. It is also crucial to make sure that the audiovisual presentation dur- ing the meeting is flawless, with a tech support person on hand in case of any issues. Attendees will not be happy if a meeting cannot proceed due to a malfunction with the computer or sound system. Provide a Unique Experience Most VIP groups want to experience something unique to the desti- nation, so it is ideal to find exclusive venues, such as museums, art galleries or historic homes. "VIPs love anything out of the ordinary that's not available to the general public," said Miller. In Fairfax, the convention and visitors bureau often organizes special events on the beautiful property of Mount Vernon or in the National Air and Space Museum, where attendees are surrounded by magnifi- cent displays. At Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts, groups can reserve one of the tented decks, enjoy a catered meal and schedule a backstage meet-and-greet with performers after the show. Following a private museum tour, Shea described how her team in Atlanta occasionally brought in artists or collectors to discuss their work, or coordinated dinners in the artists' homes. Other activities could involve a private wine tasting with the owner of the winery or a chef's table at a gourmet restaurant. Though it is great to highlight local culture, planners should also pay attention to the client's hobbies or passions. "Here in Fairfax, we have the Tesla dealership, so if I had a group interested in cars, I would see if we could get a tour and talk to the owner," said Miller. During one event for the American Wine Society, the city coordi- nated an opening reception with sample products from 20 Virginia wineries. They also invited a historic interpreter to perform in character as Thomas Jefferson, who is known as the father of Virginia wine. High-end and distinctive venues, such as Paradise Springs Winery in Clifton, Virginia, can make executive meetings more memorable and meaningful. WE ARE... More than sports. WE... Mean business. Meet in State College, PA Call toll-free at 800-358-5466 OR Visit www.meetinstatecollege.com for more details.

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