More than 80 delegates, hosts and guests gathered in the Texas coastal city of Galveston, May 10–11, for the 2023 Small Market Meetings Summit, a small, two-day meeting designed to offer attendees a casual opportunity to build meeting industry relationships. The event was highlighted by the resort ambience offered by the San Luis Resort Spa and Conference Center, a longtime anchor property on Galveston’s Gulf of Mexico coastline.
“Visit Galveston requested to host this year’s Summit, and the San Luis Resort wanted to be our headquarters, so we were very happy to bring our attendees to this historic Texas city,” said Charlie Presley, founder of the Group Travel Family and a partner in the Small Market Meetings Summit. “We created this meeting to establish a smaller, family feel for attendees, and Galveston and this resort were perfect for that purpose.”
The resort’s beachfront views of shrimp boats on the horizon, and the coastal breezes coming from the Gulf, gave the meeting a casual feel that seemed made to order.
“Galveston Island is known to many as a beach destination,” said Visit Galveston’s chief tourism officer, Tony Lyle, “but there’s plenty to do beyond the beach. Visitors can enjoy world-class museums like the Bryan Museum; a busy harbor; attractions including Moody Gardens and the Galveston Island Historic Pleasure Pier; and grand mansions like the Moody Mansion and Bishop’s Palace. For your meeting planners, we also have the Galveston Island Convention Center, known for its floor-to-ceiling views of the sand and the sea.”
On their day of arrival, attendees enjoyed a reception and dinner, compliments of Visit Galveston, in the hotel’s Conferee Lounge. The space is designed for small, intimate gatherings and features living room-like sitting areas, a pool table, a private bar and coastal artwork.
The following day, two marketplace sessions were offered, giving delegates an average of two dozen appointments for meeting planning purposes. A breakfast that morning was sponsored by Visit Cheyenne and lunch was sponsored by the host of next year’s Summit, the DuPage Convention and Visitors Bureau in Illinois.
For delegates staying an extra day or two in Galveston, Lyle had several ideas about how to enjoy some traditional visitor experiences in his city.
“Consider a kayaking experience in the bays and inlets on the island through our local conservation organization, Artist Boat,” he said. “Or take a harbor tour in the bay and see dolphins, cruise ships and the shrimp boats that catch fresh Gulf seafood every day here.
“Galveston is the birthplace of Juneteenth,” he added. “On June 19, in 1865, General Order No. 3 was read on the island letting more than 200,000 slaves know they had been freed. There are several tours and sites that commemorate that historic day that your delegates could enjoy.”
The 2024 Small Market Meetings Summit will be held May 22–23, 2024, in DuPage, Illinois. To register for the 2024 Summit, visit smmconf.com/summit.