NOV 2018

ConventionSouth magazine is the leading resource for meeting planners who book all types of events, conventions, conferences and group travel in the south.

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⎜ ConventionSouth ⎜ N O V E M B E R 2 0 1 8 w w w . c o n v e n t i o n s o u t h . c o m 28 YOUTH & FAITH-BASED MEETINGS group sales director for the Peachtree City CVB. "Peachtree City really is a hidden gem, especially for people who have never been here before." Peachtree City is known as golf cart city, with the largest number of registered golf carts per resident anywhere in the world. Peachtree City also has more than 100 miles of paved cart paths, with bridges, tunnels and golf cart parking throughout the city. For planners seeking to move large groups between different venues, the golf cart option means that even the time between activities is memorable. "Peachtree City has green space, museums, picnic areas and other attractions that are connected via our multi-use pathways," Matos said. "So instead of waiting on a bus or a shuttle, you're exploring our city as you move between activities. We even offer golf-cart scavenger hunts and other ways to personalize your visit." Martisha LaCroix, event planner and owner of LaCroix Events, recently hosted a marriage retreat in Peachtree City and she said the intimacy of the destination was a big draw for her group. "For marriage conferences especially, par- ticipants want to get away from the noise and congestion," LaCroix said. "They want to be able to get out and do things at the same time they are focusing on the marriage." She said the golf carts were a great part of the experience because it allowed the attendees to experience Peachtree City as a local would. "Some of our couples never even had a honey- moon so it was a great chance for them to get out and explore a new city," LaCroix said. She said the CVB was key to her hosting an event in Peachtree City for the first time because Matos was able to show her different venues with different capabilities so she could find the one that was the best fit for her event. Matos said the best bet for planners of youth and faith-based meetings is to start with the CVBs of the areas they're considering. CVBs can help with legwork so that planners don't have to call multiple hotels in each location to try to find the best rates. "CVBs offer insider information because they know the available inventory," he said. "Once they know your group's needs, they can com- bine that with their knowledge of the available resources and find the deal that exactly suits your group's requirements." Budget-Friendly Options Amy Zientek, director of sales for the Lubbock (Texas) CVB, said that many youth and faith- based groups choose Lubbock to host their meetings because of its budget-friendly, quality accommodations, as well as its programming options. It's an exceptional location for groups operating on a budget because of its proximity to two college campuses. "In Lubbock, planners will find first-rate accommodations and facilities that provide world-class customer service but are much more affordable than first-tier cities," Zientek said. "Through Texas Tech University and Lubbock Christian University, planners have access to speakers without having to pay travel fees." Those campuses also give the city a youthful feel, helping it draw meetings such as the Church of the Nazarene's Youth-A-Rama, the Texas 4-H Roundup and the Texas FFA State Convention, which single-handedly brings more than 12,000 visitors to town. Zientek has seen a growing trend of groups seeking community-oriented projects for their participants and she said the CVB is able to con- nect them with the right people in the community based upon the kind of service they are hoping to do. "There are so many community programs who are always in need of volunteers," Zientek said. "We want to make sure we get groups plugged into a place where they feel their time, effort and contributions are well spent." CVBs are an important asset for many youth ► Lubbock Memorial Civic Center Banquet Hall Flyaway Indoor Skydiving in Pigeon Forge, Tenn. Pigeon Forge Dept. of Tourism Visit Lubbock

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