Skip to site content
The Group Travel Leader Going on Faith Select Traveler

Mesa Brings the West to Small Market Meetings Conference

Officials in Mesa, Arizona, the Small Market Meetings Conference (SMMC) host city, were pleased with the turnout and caliber of attendees from prime locations and properties around the United States. They believe that Mesa has the right meeting venues, hotels and spectacular natural attractions that meet the needs of even the most discerning planners.

“This is the best way to show meeting and event planners our destination and to get them to really experience the venues and attractions,” said Michelle Oden-Huebner of Visit Mesa, the local CVB. “Humans are visual by nature, so to be able to touch and feel things is the best way to experience them.”

Mesa pulled out all the stops with two spectacular evenings of food, entertainment and networking. Sunday night’s gathering was at the Commemorative Air Force Museum at Falcon Field. A hangar was full of delicious food stations surrounded by vintage military aircraft from many eras. Monday evening’s dinner and entertainment played out at Fort McDowell Adventures, outside Mesa. There were tethered hot-air-balloon rides, Western-themed laser tag, old-time photos, cowboy games, competitions in salsa and margarita making, quick-draw with a weapon and more.

“We’ve already had phenomenal response from meeting planners,” said Oden-Huebner. “They’re happy overall with their stay, the fun experiences, the evening networking and venues. Our Mesa partners really stepped up to put on a show.”

Meeting attendees couldn’t agree more.

“I thought it was fabulous and well thought out,” said Susan Murphy, director of sales at 320 Guest Ranch in Gallitan Gateway, Montana. “I really appreciated the venues and all who worked so hard to show us a good time.”

“I took the river cruise on the desert lake in between two dams, which was phenomenal,” said Sherry Scorby, convention/events sales director for the Fort Smith Convention and Visitors Bureau. “We saw bald eagles and geological things I had never seen before. We saw a magnificent hot-air balloon lighting up the sky. That was awesome.”

Next year, Little Rock will host SMMC for the second time in recent years. Why so soon?

“Small Market Meetings Conference is an organization we strongly believe in,” said Jennifer Jones, sales manager at the Little Rock Convention and Visitors Bureau. “It’s very near and dear to our hearts. We’re happy to host it again in 2015.

“We have a lot of new initiatives in Little Rock. It’s progressing tremendously. We’ll celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Clinton Presidential Library. Our downtown continues to grow.”

For more information, visit

Dan Dickson

Dan has been a communicator all his professional life, first as an award-winning radio and TV news reporter for two decades and then as a communications director for several non-profits for another decade. He has contributed to The Group Travel Leader Inc. publications since 2007.