Capitalizing on the recognizable benefits, Uncovering the hidden value

Small to mid-size markets have always offered inherent value to meeting groups but in recent years, these destinations ahve come of age as planners respond to growing desires from participants for novel, fresh approaches to events. While the more obvious benefits of second- and third-tier markets, such as affordability and community access, still rank high, many planners are finding that these destinations often help them create fresh memorable experiences.

For instance, Missy Eckenberg, planner of the Rotary District 6710 Conference, recently moved her event of Paducah, Ky., a city with a much smaller footprint than the conference's previous location. "This choice represented a welcome change of scenery that allowed  Rotarians to experience another part of the state where the arts are celebrated, traffic is light and easy movement is possible with three different venues," she said, noting that the event was able to capitalize on the city's local character to create a unique experience. "Rotarians enjoyed a dinner on the stage of the Carson Center with food from a local caterer and then participated in a bourbon tasting or a horse-drawn carriage tour of downtown Paducah. The reviews were excellent from participants with the use of a variety of close venues, and local food and activities were a real hit."

By Selena Chavis, ConventionSouth

Read the full July 2019 cover story on Paducah and more small markets that are big on meetings!