Instead of booking meeting space and hotel rooms separately, many event planners take advantage of complete meetings packages (CMPs) offered by certain hotels and resorts. Not to be confused with the certified meeting professional designation, a CMP typically includes hotel rooms, food services and event space within one preset price bundle, thus removing the headache of estimating expenses.
To learn more about some of the different kinds of meeting packages available, we spoke with representatives from several hotel properties.
The CMP at Brasstown Valley Resort in Young Harris, Georgia, requires a reservation of eight or more rooms for at least one night. The price package includes general session and breakout rooms, a Southern-style breakfast buffet, continuous refreshments throughout the day, a catered or restaurant lunch, and a catered or restaurant dinner.
For added value, planners can opt for the resort’s View From the Top Package, which encompasses the full benefits of the complete meetings package plus a customizable team-building activity such as a golf outing, a local vineyard tour or a murder-mystery game. This supplementary component requires a reservation of eight or more rooms for two or more nights.
Though some packages may not include everything a planner needs, the planner can sometimes work with the hotel to adapt some features of the package.
“There’s some cookie-cutter options out there, but if they’re missing something you need, just ask for customization, like ‘Yeah, it includes that, but I need AV or a private lunch.’ Make sure you get the most out of your time in a facility,” said Charles Burton, general manager at the resort.
The biggest advantage of using a CMP is that it removes the possibility of unforeseen costs by including all the necessary services under one master bill.
“From a budget standpoint, it makes it really convenient for the planner because they know exactly what they’re spending,” said Burton.
Another benefit of a CMP is that the hotel manages most of the planning logistics, so planners simply have to outline their primary objectives. Many hotels employ their own on-site meeting planners, audiovisual (AV) departments and culinary teams to handle event preparations.
“We want to make sure you don’t have to worry about anything other than the content of the meeting,” said Burton.
According to Burton, many groups book their packages at least 60 to 90 days before the event and begin ironing out the details with the hotel planning staff shortly after signing the contract.