With the first Small Market Meetings Conference, Oct. 4-6 in Shreveport, La., only six months away, we sat down with Joe Capazzullo, CEO of the Small Market Meetings Conference, to ask some questions about the first-ever conference.
He shared information about registration, transportation and the networking events that will be part of the conference.
How does the free registration offered to qualified meeting planners work? What does it include?
This conference has been designed to be as user friendly as possible for meeting planners. To register, they can go to smallmarketmeetingsconference.com and fill out the questionnaire and planner profile. The simple form allows us to assure all attendees are qualified.
After a planner is accepted and registered, the $199 registration fee will be charged to the credit card the planner provides. Planners will be notified that they are registered and they can then make travel arrangements for the Shreveport, La., conference.
When planners attend and participate in all activities and sales sessions as agreed upon (for requirements, see the conference Web site), the $199 registration fee will be refunded and airfare or mileage to the conference will be reimbursed.
We will reimburse up to $400 for airfare and up to $200 for automobile mileage. Refunds will be issued within 30 days of completion of the conference.
Airfares will be discounted thanks to our partnerships with American Airlines and Delta Airlines. American is offering a 10 percent discount on all fares with the SMM conference code. (See the conference Web site for the code and details.) More information on Delta’s offers will soon be posted at the Web site.
What is the charge for industry suppliers and representatives?
The registration fee for travel/meeting industry delegates is $1,295, which includes all meal functions, seminars, receptions, sightseeing tours with meeting planners and networking events. All conference events are open to the travel industry.
Can you give more details about what the conference will include?
The conference will be a mixture of educational and networking events. Instead of a traditional tradeshow, there will be business appointments where travel industry delegates and meeting planners meet.
Planners and industry reps will go online and request specific appointments. Generally we are very successful in matching parties that want to see one another, and we will try to create as many matches as possible.
Meeting planners will sit in booths and travel industry delegates will move from booth to booth to meet with them. We find that sellers are most amenable to moving around in these sessions, and we want meeting planners to be able to settle in at their booths.
As far as social gatherings and sponsored events, these are areas where our host city is a key component for success. I can tell you that the Shreveport-Bossier CVB knows how to host a group like this. For example, the Red River Revel Festival is taking place while we’re in town, a stroke of genius on Shreveport-Bossier’s part because the festival will provide great evening entertainment for our delegates.
Receptions, meals and off-site events are open to all attendees, which builds camaraderie over the course of the event.
We’ll have additional information and announcments regarding professional educational offerings, continuing education credits, additional sponsors and other conference-related news in upcoming editions of Small Market Meetings and on the conference Web site,