Why Small Meetings Are Big Business

John-Michael Jenkins

Personalization is a buzzword in nearly every industry – retail, healthcare, food, hospitality, and more. Consumers want prompt and customized attention to all of their needs, which has created a shift in the industry to smaller meetings and events. While many venues weren’t marketing directly to smaller groups, this market segment is becoming big business.

Why Small Meetings Are Important

First, what constitutes a small meeting? In an industry survey, event planners defined a small meeting as a gathering of 50 people or less, usually for training, strategizing, or team building. Think of a board meeting, company retreat, or management training session – a meeting with a specific purpose and time-sensitive objectives. As small meetings now make up 50% of the market, these gatherings are chock full of potential for your venue.

In addition to a massive company meeting, holiday party, or conference, groups are moving towards intimate, private events. Corporations and event planners, feel that a smaller, more personal meeting is effective for communication, and more frequently accomplishes the set goal. Smaller, high-level meetings can often lead to larger, massive functions with the same client if done well. First impressions really are everything.

When planners are putting together a small event or business meeting, they are often dealing with shorter lead times. The most common lead time for small meetings is one to three months, followed closely by a two to four-week timeframe. Corporate and business event planners are under a time crunch, making this a perfect time for your venue to swoop in and save the day. If you have the capacity and staffing to handle it, hosting multiple small events on the same date is a great way to maximize your venue’s potential.

Small events are becoming more common because groups want a sense of intimacy and attention to detail and won’t book where they might get lost in the shuffle. By offering separate, unique spaces within your venue, you can cater to a number of clients with varying event types. Be wary, however, that you aren’t compromising quality for quantity. Always consider how many meetings your property can handle, and what spaces provide an experience they’ll remember.

What Small Meeting Groups Are Looking For

There’s no denying the data. Smaller meetings are trending up, but why? The answer is simple: Personalized service from the venue to the customer and personalized service from the customer to attendees. Massive, industrial-sized productions are out, and you and your venue need to deliver services that appeal to this market demographic.

It’s a classic case of wanting their cake and eating it too. Small business meetings and groups are looking for big meeting capabilities in a small meeting space. They want flexibility, attention to detail, one-on-one service, and privacy. Many companies are opting for larger hotels that can offer the “hotel within a hotel” styling. Meaning, they have their catering, housing, technical, and service needs within one location only they can access. Privacy and intimacy are a top priority.

When booking and planning their next small event, over 70% of planners are utilizing an online RFP or booking tool. The hospitality industry has seen a massive shift to the digital world, and venues not using software or an app are missing out on a large market segment.

Planners are work 24/7, 365. They want data on-demand whenever and wherever they are working from, which is often on the road. Planners’ workloads have also increased, meaning they are juggling multiple events at once. Clients reported wanting to be able to cross-reference pricing, property and meeting room layouts, along with services throughout all planning and execution stages.  Planners want to do their initial research without having to call numerous venues and managers. They require access at all times.

Using Sales and Event Management Software for small meetings has benefits for both you and potential clients. It improves marketing, garners better leads, and ultimately provides smoother service. It also frees up your sales and management team to focus on larger group events and other tasks that often go by the wayside.

Amadeus is an industry leader in solutions developed for the hospitality industry. We leverage the world’s leading CRM from Salesforce.com to enrich our products. To learn more about our offerings, contact us here.

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