At press time, final decisions were being made about whether the Small Market Meetings Summit could be held in mid-May. I applaud the optimism that gives companies like The Group Travel Family and others across the country that urge to not cancel business for our hospitality industry. To that end, I have decided to publish much of the information we had for this issue with the caveat that all of us — magazine staff, conference staff and meetings industry readers of Small Market Meetings — recognize we are dealing with much uncertainty at this juncture in our industry.
Why do that? There are several reasons:
1. Why look for something else to fill the pages we’ve allotted to this article? I’d rather devote this space to a great city, its CVB, and one of its great properties, just as we had planned.
2. The Sheraton Panama City Golf and Spa Resort was badly damaged less than two years ago (as was much of the city) by Hurricane Michael, a Category 5 storm. It has now been renovated and reopened, and its owners and employees deserve this space in this magazine regardless of the final decision made about our Summit. Take it from me: Every meeting planner reading this needs to check it out for a future meeting. When you do that, start with Visit Panama City Beach, the local convention and visitors bureau that facilitates meetings for the city.
3. The hotel industry at large is being affected perhaps as much as any American industry in our economy by this virus and the travel restrictions it has necessitated. In that sense, the Sheraton Panama City Golf and Spa Resort represents thousands of great properties across the country. As the publisher of this magazine, I have the unique ability to offer this wonderful property and the iconic city of Panama City Beach these few pages in this magazine. So let’s do it.
4. Meeting planners, like the many who read this magazine and who use smaller cities and sites across America, are also much affected by this health incident. That includes my partners, friends and associates at The Group Travel Family, who do such a superb job of planning conferences throughout the year. This is our shout-out to the meeting planning industry, which will survive this massive interruption and return with vigor when it is over.
5. One final thought: Panama City Beach in May? Count me in! If I can’t go this May, I’ll see everyone there next year!
A Note to All Readers
For the latest news on the status of the new Small Market Meetings Summit, call (800) 628-0993 or visit smmconf.com.
The 2020 Small Market Meetings Conference will be held as scheduled on October 4 – 6 in historic French Lick Springs, Indiana. For more information, or to register, use the phone number or website above.
For more about Panama City Beach and the Small Market Meetings Summit check out these two articles from the April 2020 issue: