MPI Perspective - Fall 2016 - 8

Size Doesn't Matter Large conferences and tradeshows often steal the spotlight, but pros who plan for small groups know their events are just as mighty! BY AMY DREW THOMPSON M Many planners are eager to share the joys of their profession, but few are as enthusiastic about small meetings as Melanie Lucero, director of sales at the Half Moon Bay Lodge. All we had to utter were two words: small meetings. "I love them because it's an opportunity for me to make the executive assistant look good," she said. Before signing on in lovely Half Moon Bay, about an hour south of San Francisco, Lucero spent six years coordinating small meetings in a place where they can easily get lost: the opulent Luxor Las Vegas, before moving on to help larger groups at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino. The juxtaposition made her realize that small meetings were her calling. And she recognized, in a town where small groups can feel that their 10-person event won't get attention in a place where there could be 1.8 million square feet of meeting space to fill, that small meetings are a wonderful niche in which a property can specialize. At more versatile properties, like the beautiful Hayes Mansion in San Jose, just because they can and do host larger groups in their 33,000 square feet of space, doesn't mean they don't appreciate the small ones. In fact, says Vi Nguyen, CMP and sales manager, they've had such an increase in small meetings, they hired a full-time corporate catering sales manager last year who's the go-to for corporate programs with less than nine guestrooms. The biggest challenge they've seen so far, Nguyen says, is "the extremely short turnaround from the inquiry stage to the start of the program." As a result, they've streamlined their proposal process. 8 | P E R S P E C T I V E | Lucero can relate to the time crunch. Often, she says, staffers like the aforementioned executive assistant are tasked with planning these events. "These requests hit their desks with only a month or a couple weeks' notice - the boss says 'We're going to have 14 people. We need to have a meeting and a dinner. You do this now.' and they are frantically looking for space." Lucero fields requests of this nature all the time and agrees that booking windows are only getting shorter. So what are some of the biggest challenges? For Half Moon Bay, a coastal property with limited access and meeting space for just 40, transportation is another concern. Building great relationships with transportation providers, Lucero says, ensures they're ready when groups have a need. Minimums can also be an issue, and while Half Moon Bay doesn't require them, "we do need at least 10 people for a planned lunch," Lucero explains. Challenges aside, Lucero says small groups often allow for fun, versatile ideas, like using suites as meeting space. "They've got fireplaces, they overlook the golf course, they're more intimate - and groups can make good use of the 55-inch flat-screen TVs, which cable easily to a laptop for visual presentations," Lucero says. Plus, they can have beanbag chairs. Wait - what?! "The first time we got a request for them, we were surprised," Lucero says with a laugh. "But then we heard it more and more and thought, 'Wow, it's a trend!'" Jennifer Clark, CMP, whose first year as senior program manager for Mosaic Event Management has included a

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of MPI Perspective - Fall 2016

President’s Message
Innovation Corner
The Challenges of Planning Smaller Meetings
10 Ways to Millennial-ize Your Meetings
MPI WEC 2016: Scholarship Recipients Share Their Experiences
Thought Leadership
What’s Trending in Event Design
New Member Spotlight
Destination: Denver
MPINCC New Members
Index to Advertisers/
MPI Perspective - Fall 2016 - cover1
MPI Perspective - Fall 2016 - cover2
MPI Perspective - Fall 2016 - 3
MPI Perspective - Fall 2016 - 4
MPI Perspective - Fall 2016 - 5
MPI Perspective - Fall 2016 - President’s Message
MPI Perspective - Fall 2016 - Innovation Corner
MPI Perspective - Fall 2016 - The Challenges of Planning Smaller Meetings
MPI Perspective - Fall 2016 - 9
MPI Perspective - Fall 2016 - 10 Ways to Millennial-ize Your Meetings
MPI Perspective - Fall 2016 - 11
MPI Perspective - Fall 2016 - MPI WEC 2016: Scholarship Recipients Share Their Experiences
MPI Perspective - Fall 2016 - 13
MPI Perspective - Fall 2016 - Thought Leadership
MPI Perspective - Fall 2016 - 15
MPI Perspective - Fall 2016 - What’s Trending in Event Design
MPI Perspective - Fall 2016 - POV
MPI Perspective - Fall 2016 - New Member Spotlight
MPI Perspective - Fall 2016 - Destination: Denver
MPI Perspective - Fall 2016 - 20
MPI Perspective - Fall 2016 - MPINCC New Members
MPI Perspective - Fall 2016 - Index to Advertisers/
MPI Perspective - Fall 2016 - cover3
MPI Perspective - Fall 2016 - cover4