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The Group Travel Leader Going on Faith Select Traveler

Small Market Meetings Summit Debuts in May

Meeting planners that have attended the annual Small Market Meetings Conference will have an exciting new option to consider in 2021. A boutique event called the Small Market Meetings Summit will debut May 12-13 at the Sheraton Golf and Spa Resort in Panama City Beach, Florida.

The regular Small Market Meetings Conference will still take place September 26-28, 2021, in Cheyenne, Wyoming. Planners may choose to attend one gathering or the other, but not both.

Unlike the usual conference format that features up to 50 one-on-one business appointments between meeting planners and destination providers, the Summit is one day shorter but structured to include more of the key people who can help planners select a meeting site.

“What makes the Summit unique is you have meeting planners gathering with a specific group of individuals from a single location,” said Charlie Presley, conference partner and founder of The Group Travel Family, which stages the conferences. “Planners meet with three principals who may represent a city’s convention and visitors bureau, or one or two hotels, or an upscale meeting venue, or any combination of that.”

These representatives will work together as a team to sell their city as a meetings destination. There will be a total of 25 meeting slots offered, split between morning and afternoon sessions, and they will be 12 minutes long instead of the usual six minutes.

Meeting Safely

During this time of concern over COVID-19, people are naturally assuming responsibility for traveling and gathering safely, whether in an airport, on a flight or in a hotel or conference setting. Presley said the Summit’s staff is working diligently to have safeguards ready for the safety of every participant.

“We have already hosted conferences in the COVID era and have done so safely and successfully,” said Presley. “We know what we are doing and will have safety precautions in place, as we did with Small Market Meetings Conference last October in French Lick, Indiana.”

Presley said that everyone involved in the Summit is affiliated with the travel industry and that meetings and conferences are simply going to happen.

“There is a built-up demand for them, and we all need to lead the way to a safe return to travel,” he said. “We can’t stop the world. And if we don’t lead the way, who will?”

Register Now

Registration for the Summit is open, but planners must meet certain requirements to be one of the 25 meeting planners that join the conference.

“They must be highly qualified and quite active in the small- to medium-size markets we promote for convention and conference business,” said Presley, who added that planners will also get a more detailed, in-depth look at the Summit’s host city, Panama City Beach.

To register for the 2021 Small Market Meetings summit in panamA city beach, contact Janine Emanuel at 800-628-0993, or

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.