Small Market Meetings

JUN 2017

The Newspaper for Smaller Cities, Facilities and Planners.

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Page 17 of 43 Managing Meetings 18 SQUARE FEET OF MEETING SPACE 5,600 meetings and conventions a year. 8,000 guest rooms. 90,000 square feet of contiguous exhibit space. No matter how you break down the numbers, Wisconsin Dells is one of the Midwest's top areas for your meeting or convention. With enough space for groups large and small, personalized planning, state-of-the-art facilities, and 16+ million gallons of fun in dozens of indoor and outdoor waterparks, there's no reason business and pleasure can't mix. no r ea so n bu si ne ss and MEETINGS THAT ATTRACT ANY CROWD. | | (888) 339-3822, ext. 345 The same can be said for after-hours activities. Rather than schedule a packed program from start to finish, planners can give attendees time to stretch their legs and enjoy the surrounding attractions on their own. Look to Schools for Music and Decorations Many music and art students at high schools and universities will service events in exchange for nominal donations to their programs. "Usually, you can hire student bands or choral groups for low cost, since a lot of the students just want the experience," Zientek said. Sororities and fraternities will often help with events as a commu- nity service project, which could involve anything from making deco- rations to staging a performance. Don't Be Afraid to Ask When in doubt, a planner can always ask and see what happens. "If you're thinking something like 'I don't think they'll give me a comp room for my organization's president,' all they can do is say no," said Zientek. She went on to describe how Visit Lubbock asked florists if it could borrow vases for table decorations at city events, instead of purchasing them, and then return them afterward. "So far, every florist has agreed to it," said Zientek. Likewise, planners should not be shy about negotiating discounts. Venues with in-house catering, like hotels and convention centers, will often waive venue rental fees when planners commit to a guaranteed price on food and beverage. Above: Many attendees enjoy visiting nearby eateries in lieu of catered meal functions. Facing page: A local band performs for an event in Chattanooga's Big Nine historic district. Courtesy Visit Greenville

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