Small Meetings: How to Sell Them and Why is this Big Business?

Isabel Garza

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 or never tried to sell small meeting space, this market segment is becoming big business. Before we dive in, be sure to visit our sales and catering resource hub to gain access to key trends, best practices, and complimentary resources based on global industry insights to help you and your team navigate the meetings and events industry.

Why You Should Sell Small Meeting Spaces?

Small meetings are becoming a significant force in the events industry. They serve a variety of purposes, including training, strategizing, and team building, as highlighted in a recent industry article. These meetings are characterized by specific objectives and a time-sensitive nature. According to the Q4 2023 Hospitality Group & Business Performance Index results, an impressive 70% of events booked were for groups with 200 or fewer attendees, underlining the growing importance of small meetings in the market. With experts predicting a continued surge in demand for small meetings, your property or venue can benefit from this growth, as these gatherings hold significant potential for your business.

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.

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, both from the venue to the customer and from the customer to the 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 working 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.

Jennifer Walsh, Senior Manager, Business Development, American Express Global Business Travel, emphasizes the importance of technology in streamlining the booking process for small meetings: “With nearly 50% of our client bookings falling within a 90-day booking window, there’s simply no room for delays. Leveraging the synergy of technology with a human touch, communications between suppliers and partners can be streamlined, enabling everyone to achieve more with less effort while preserving the essence of personalized hospitality.”

Using sales and catering 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.

To cater to your needs in providing exceptional service for small meetings, we’re excited to offer an exclusive special promotion for Delphi Select, a name the industry knows and loves, tailored for hotels like you. With our software, you can streamline your processes, enhance your marketing efforts, and boost your revenue from small meetings.

Discover how you can win more group business and optimize processes in a real, affordable way with Delphi Select. Contact us today.