Day meetings have a reputation for being difficult to place, but that perception is changing. While hotel space is sometimes hard to find—hoteliers want to sell guest rooms before booking group meeting space—planners are finding plenty of alternative venues. Cheryl Geid, a national travel and meeting planner for Grant Thornton LLP, a Chicago-based professional services firm, has booked her day meetings in conference centers, sports facilities, restaurants … even a bus.
And hotels are still viable venues, she says, particularly brands such as a Marriott Courtyard that “are all about meeting space. You’d be surprised at the kind of space you’ll find.”
Conference centers, particularly those that cater specifically to day meetings, are becoming the venue of choice for many planners. “We are booking so much business in day centers,” says Jody Wallace, vice president of sales and marketing for Brick, N.J.–based EMCVenues, a sales organization for independent conference centers that provides meeting planners and training professionals with one point of contact to book meetings at multiple conference centers nationwide. EMCVenues has received so many inquiries about day meetings, she says, that it plans to use “We Love Day Meetings” as an upcoming marketing slogan.
For more on finding and negotiating day meeting space, look at the upcoming October issue of Corporate Meetings & Incentives.