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The Group Travel Leader Going on Faith Select Traveler

2011 in Little Rock; on to Jacksonville in 2012

Courtesy Little Rock CVB

As preparations are finalized for this month’s Small Market Meetings Conference in Little Rock, Ark., a site for the 2012 conference has been chosen.

Jacksonville, Fla., will be the site of next year’s conference on Oct. 28-30, Joe Cappuzzello, SMM Conference CEO, announced in late August.

“Jacksonville is a wonderful next stop for our growing Small Market Meetings Conference,” said Cappuzzello. “This is a mid-size city that has the ability to present itself in a personal, hospitable way — and yet the city has hosted a Super Bowl — unquestionably America’s biggest event.  So the folks in Jacksonville know what they’re doing.  Our planners will learn a lot about a Florida market that can serve them well.

“The fact that we have two longtime friends in charge there, CEO Dan O’Byrne and senior vice president Dennis Tracy, is an added plus. Those two men are professionals who will be great partners to work with in Jacksonville in 2012.”

The convention will be at the city’s Prime F. Osborn III Convention Center.

Conference kicks off Sept. 26

As contracts for next year are being signed, Little Rock, Arkansas’ capital, is preparing for the arrival of the 2011 Small Market Meetings Conference there Sept. 26-28. The conference will be at the Statehouse Convention Center; attendees will stay in the Forbes Four Star, AAA Four Diamond Peabody Little Rock Hotel.

Registration is already more than 10 percent higher than last year’s inaugural conference, evidence that meeting planners and suppliers have found value in the three days of networking, education and destination overview.

The conference is essentially free to qualified meeting planners, with conference registration complimentary for qualified meeting planners.

Planners also receive up to $400 as reimbursement for travel expenses, two free nights at the Peabody Little Rock, free meals and events, professional education sessions, and the conference’s most-popular feature, scheduled  six-minute, prescheduled appointments between meeting planners and suppliers.

Attendees at last year’s event appreciated its business-casual approach. This year’s conference follows the same format.

“People tell us that they get a lot of work accomplished, as far as investigating new venues and making contacts with convention and visitors bureaus and suppliers, but they also get to know one another on a personal level because all of our events — from meals to site tours — involve everyone,” said Cappuzzello. “We get a lot of business accomplished, but everyone has fun in the process.”

One of the most popular aspects of the conference are the prescheduled appointments.

Each attendee has about 40 appointments during the conference. The SMM Conference gives the appointments a different twist: Meeting planners man a booth and suppliers come to visit them.

For more information about the 2011 or 2012 SMM conferences, contact Kim Dolan at 800-628-0993 or or visit There are a limited number of openings for this year’s conference, Sept. 26-28 in Little Rock, Ark.