Small Meetings are Big Business for Michigan!

Posted on October 11th, 2018


Whether you a planning a gathering for five executives or a corporate holiday party for two hundred, it shouldn’t surprise you that small meetings take as much time to plan as large trade shows or conventions.

Today’s blog post will share with you the common factors and challenges associated with these types of events, a timeline for planning a successful one and the many ways Meetings Michigan and our partners can help you, especially when you have a short timetable.  


Small Meeting Findings

According to a recent survey by Successful Meetings of 41% corporate, 30% independent and 29% association planners, the following information has gleaned.

  1. What do you consider to be a small meeting?
  • 38% stated between 10-25 participants
  • 31% stated 26-50 people
  • 19% said less than 10 individuals and
  • 12% said, 51-100 individuals
  1. How far in advance do you plan this type of gathering?
  • 45% answered one to three months
  • 35% stated three to six months
  • 27% said two to four weeks
  • 22% answered six to twelve months
  • 20% specified less than two weeks
  • 8% acknowledged more than one year
  1. What property types are you using?
  • 57% Downtown properties, that are close to commerce, entertainment, and dining
  • 47% Resorts
  • 43% Conference centers
  • 34% Airport hotel
  1. What sources do you use for site selection, procurement, planning, and execution?
  • 70% Online RFPs
  • 63% Destination Marketing Organizations
  1. What are the most challenging factors in planning a small meeting?
  • 63% said finding available dates
  • 53% stated negotiating room rates
  • 48% responded to finding suitable onsite function space
  • 20% said getting what they need from the A/V staff
  • 18% stated arranging the F&B


Given this information, now it’s time to move onto the execution phase of the meeting.


The Ultimate Small Meeting Checklist

  1. Be sure the “Why” is strong.
    Outline the objectives of the meeting and all the reasons it must be conducted face-to-face. Small meetings usually have one or more of three purposes:

    1. To inform participants about something important or new
    2. To entertain, a good example is a corporate holiday party or
    3. To network, which is especially important in a remote workforce arena.
  2. Put together a preliminary budget.
    At a minimum, include meeting space, A/V, guest rooms, speaker fees, food & beverage. Add other items such as excursions and goody bags if they are applicable.
  3. Identify the invited participants.
    Are you including spouses, significant others and family members? Is this a must-attend event or is it an elective? Put invitees in three categories:

    1. Those people who must attend (i.e. CEO, Vice President)
    2. Those you’d like to be there (i.e. salespersons, managers)
    3. Individuals who are welcome, but not crucial to the success of the meeting (i.e. family members)
  4. Offer three dates for potential destinations.
    Before talking to venues, be sure to obtain three different dates that will work with your attendees. Try to gain 100% concurrence on a date with your “A” category and at least 75% agreement with your “B” guest list. One note: Know how far your guests are willing to travel, especially if you are holding a day meeting.
  5. Confirm speakers and their requirements.
    Determine when each is available, his or her fee, A/V requirements, whether they need a flipchart or whiteboard and required internet speed.
  6. Send out RFP.
    Give venues and destinations enough time to respond. In a time crunch? Give us a call at 734.646.0791 for assistance.
  7. One week before your event, confirm attendance and details.
    Send the final agenda to your guests along with the venue name, address and it’s phone number. Include parking information and your contact info.
  8. On meeting day, arrive early and meet with staff.
    Have a pre-con at least one hour before the meeting to go over the flow for the event. Make sure the catering and A/V manager are in attendance to address any last-minute changes or concerns.

Meetings Michigan is your source for better meetings

Whether you’re looking for a natural setting or the excitement of an action-packed city, Michigan has it all! We have partners that welcome all sizes of meetings from three to three thousand! Call us at 734.646.0791 to get the process started!