Tier-one meeting destinations are popular for a reason: They have big venues, plenty of hotel rooms, and a glut of exciting attractions. For smaller convention groups, however, one thing they sometimes lack is excellent customer service, according to Eliza Webb, program director for Washington DECA, a high school student leadership organization.
According to Webb, minor groups in major cities are a lot like small fish in big ponds: They often get overlooked. For that reason, she suggests that small and medium-sized groups consider tier-two and -three cities, like Bellevue, WA, where Washington DECA meets every year. Such cities, she says, often provide superior customer service to smaller conventions, and increasingly have hotel supply, airlift, and attractions that rival their big competitors.
"For a small nonprofit like ours, we get a great deal of attention from Bellevue. We are a much bigger fish here than we are in the larger cities," she tells Successful Meetings Senior Editor Andrea Doyle. "Most importantly, Bellevue treats us as a partner."