When you bring your meetings and events to Michigan, you’ll get more than just a great meeting. You’ll get an experience. Destinations throughout Michigan, and the CVBs waiting to connect you to them, are keeping a close eye on the meetings and events industry. They’re listening to what planners and attendees want and doing what they can to deliver.
Midwest Meetings spoke with Matt Alagna, Director of Sales with Boyne Resorts, about meetings and events in Michigan.
“Our groups and our planners want and expect us to really get to know them and what they’re trying to accomplish,” said Alagna.
As the conversation turned to technology, Alagna noted that connectivity is, and will continue to be, among the high expectations that attendees have for their events. Alagna also pointed out that, “There’s a number of different ways to communicate with people and our planners expect us to be nimble enough to communicate with them in the manner they are most comfortable with.
Whether it’s calling, texting, emailing, or LinkedIn, as hoteliers and people in the business, we have to be able to react to that.”
People are always looking for new and unique offerings and things to do for their groups and according to Alagna, this is not going away. “Boyne is absolutely a destination, and we’re providing that uniqueness that people are looking for.”
“Guests want to come on property, use a resort or hotel, and they want you to partner with them, where you almost become like family, especially those that offer us repeat business,” said Alagna. “It works for them, and it works for us. We each get to know each other better, and we get to a point where we are anticipating needs rather than trying to meet them.”
Amanda Toy, CMP, CGMP, GMS, CTA, Associate Director of Sales with the Greater Lansing CVB also provided some insight into meetings and events in Michigan.
“What we see is more interest from planners to do offsite activities, which is one of the main things we do here at the CVB,” said Toy. “Because there’s been so much growth in our downtown and East Lansing area, we have a lot of cool ideas to present to them.”
The Lansing Lugnuts completed a 200-person gathering space in the outfield, called The View, and it’s available year-round for meetings and events. “Groups are renting it out to do parties during the games or to have an actual meeting there for a couple days on non-game days,” said Toy. “It’s a really cool, unique venue.”
Toy added that there is also a wine and beer trail available, called Makers and Shakers. “We’ve highlighted around 10 to 15 different breweries and distilleries,” said Toy. “With that, the Lansing Brewing Company, which just opened behind the stadium, has space for 150 people and is great for offsite dinners. It highlights the grit where Lansing came from but in a trendy, open-space environment.”
East Lansing is a sports haven, with top-ranked Michigan State University and the other teams there. “Planners are tying in different functions, and we work with Spartan Athletics to help with group tickets.”
Started a few years ago and now growing like wildfire throughout the state is the Certified Tourism Ambassador (CTA) program. “Lansing was the first region in the state to start the CTA program, and one of the first in the country,” said Toy. “We have more than 500 CTAs locally in our region. It’s upping the service culture in Michigan to match the strong Pure Michigan® campaign, making sure that people coming to Michigan receive the service that goes along with the vibe of the campaign.”
The following pages offer a multitude of Michigan destinations, ready to connect you and your attendees to experiences that will leave you wanting to go back for more.