Government Connections - Spring 2017 - 20
Tier Two: Smaller City,
Smaller Price Tag, Fun Actual Size
smaller destination, such as no parking fees, no traffic, lower
He still wasn't convinced there would be enough for attendees
to do, but Texas hospitality - and a creative Mardi Gras-themed
event idea - won him over.
"We lined up a Zydeco band and arranged for King Cakes for
each table. Our staff acted as judges for the Best Mardi Gras
Costume Contest that we suggested as well. Overall, he was
impressed with and overwhelmed by our hospitality."
YOU CAN BE A BIG FISH...
Sure, it's fab that you're booked into a posh property on the Las
Vegas Strip, but do you think you're at the top of the F&B manager's
to-do list when CES is in town? And do you really need THAT much
flexible meeting space. Heading to a smaller city - Tucson, for
example - will offer many of the same opportunities for desert fun
(amazing stargazing just outside the city limits, for example) and
allow your group to take center stage at a well-chosen property.
New York and Los Angeles and Chicago all have their big-city
pros, to be sure. But they've also got big-city cons to combat -
expense, congestion and competition.
That's why so many planners are choosing Tier 2 cities for their
events like Tampa over Orlando; Beaumont over Dallas in Texas;
Richmond, Virg., over Washington, D.C.
Smaller cities are on the rise due to the cost of doing business.
And as industry attracts new residents, new residents demand
more in the way of attractions and activities. More parks, more
hotels, more entertainment, more convenience, more fun - all of
it, still, a fraction of the cost of the supposed heavy-hitters.
THE MAYOR HAS NO TIME FOR YOU
But he or she might in a smaller destination. Just ask Freddie
Willard, director of Sales for the Beaumont Convention & Visitors
Bureau. The city recently hosted a state association with
900 attendees, but at first its president was a vocal skeptic.
"I picked him up from our airport for a site visit, and he literally
told me that he was thinking about changing destinations,"
she recalls. "During the site visit, I told him I had a quick stop
to make. I took him to a City Council meeting where I had it
set up for our Mayor and City Council members to welcome
him to Beaumont and tell him how much they appreciated him
"The meeting facilities and hotels were a perfect fit, but
I had to remind him of the perks that came along with a
GOVERNMENT CONNECTIONS | SPRING/SUMMER 2017
OR A SAVINGS SUPER HERO
Looking for a destination that's rife with American history but
with hotel rates a good $30-$40 lower a night than our nation's
capital? Nearby Richmond offers scads of culture with its copious
collegiate populace, oodles of outdoor activity on the James
River and surrounding woodlands, plus historic attractions like
the Edgar Allan Poe and John Marshall Houses, the Virginia
State Capitol and the American Civil War Museum. Tax rates are
generally lower in smaller cities, as well. You can either leave
some of your client's money in the coffers or use the savings to
put together a more comprehensive event!
YOU CAN EVEN BE HEALTHIER
Smaller cities, many of them, have walkable centers loaded
down with charming independent shops and restaurants. And
seasonality will help that budget. Meeting in a place like Aspen,
Colo. - which ticks the outdoor activity box, along with walkability
and charm - in wintertime might be cost prohibitive (and cold!).
But hit up a ski town in the warm weather and you've got deals,
space and the right weather for hiking - in Tevas! Aspen, along
with Stowe, Vermont; Jackson Hole, Wyoming; and Keystone,
Colorado, recently made a USA Today 10Best list for hot ski
resorts in summer. Here, attendees can enjoy top-rate status
in the property of your choice, along with pursuits that aren't
available in the busy winter months.