MPI Perspective - Fall 2016 - 8
Large conferences and tradeshows often
steal the spotlight, but pros who plan for
small groups know their events are just
BY AMY DREW THOMPSON
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
8 | P E R S P E C T I V E | www.mpincc.org
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
The Challenges of Planning Smaller Meetings
10 Ways to Millennial-ize Your Meetings
MPI WEC 2016: Scholarship Recipients Share Their Experiences
What’s Trending in Event Design
New Member Spotlight
MPINCC New Members
Index to Advertisers/ Advertisers.com
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/ Advertisers.com
MPI Perspective - Fall 2016 - cover3
MPI Perspective - Fall 2016 - cover4