Small Market Meetings

APR 2017

The Newspaper for Smaller Cities, Facilities and Planners.

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Page 13 of 39 Managing Meetings 14 general package directed women to more afford- able sessions at a local church. Later in the eve- ning, both groups joined together for a worship service. "Some people want to pay for convenience, so you want to give them that option," said Ware. Give Hotels Incentives to Host Your Group If groups have a tight dining budget, planners can propose a chef's choice menu to the hotel or venue, which involves customizing the meal to meet a certain price point. "Let's say you wanted to have a three-course luncheon on a given budget. Then you would allow the chef to present some options to meet that price range," said Eble. Once the price is set in stone, the hotel can count on that revenue, which provides both par- ties an advantage to the arrangement. Since attendees often travel to religious confer- ences with their families or spouses, it is also worth noting to hotel representatives that this will mean more room reservations. "One request that is usually of high importance across most meetings we plan is the number of double-double accommodations required," said Eble. "It is rare to have single-occupancy rooms for religious meetings. This can be a benefit to hotels as they often will see increased revenue in their outlets due to the higher number of guests staying in their hotels." Make Transportation Easy Older groups and families tend to gravitate toward destinations with walkable attractions, so to make more reclusive retreats a success, it helps to provide all-inclusive meals, meetings space and transportation. Ware described how she helped coordinate an event at the Brasstown Valley Resort, which is approximately an hour from Atlanta. She arranged bus transportation from the airport by adding just $15 to the price of registration, dividing the price of the bus tickets by the number of attendees. This added convenience dramatically increased atten- dance, since many people prefer to avoid the hassle of travel, especially in an unfamiliar town or neighborhood. "It worked out great," said Ware. "We did activi- ties on the bus so everyone could get to know each other." When the bus brought everyone back after- ward, they stopped at a local church service, where they arranged a lunch and discussion with the pastor. The group was able to appreciate the shared experience, and attendees didn't have to worry about driving to each location. Allowing flexibility for group prayer or moments of reflection can be an important part of planning faith-based meetings. Courtesy Rachel Eble

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