Skip To Content
Outdoor meeting space at Sheraton Phoenix.

Successful Small Meetings

Make Your Next Small Meeting a Success

An event for fewer than 50 people still takes careful planning. Here’s what to look for.

Small meetings can have a big impact. So while hosting a meeting for small groups – fewer than 50 attendees – may not be as involved as planning a conference for 2,000 people, it requires attention nonetheless.

We understand that small meetings have unique needs, and our venue coordinators will work with you to determine the right approach for your meeting, regardless of size. Whether you’re planning a corporate training, executive leadership summit, board meeting or cozy entertainment session, here’s what to consider as you partner with us to create a memorable, intimate meeting.

  • Meeting type: Will you need a space structured for lectures, as with a training? Or should the space be more geared toward discussion, like you might see at an executive summit? The type of meeting can guide you to the right room and the best furniture configuration for you. An intimate discussion might call for a horseshoe setup; brainstorming sessions might be well-served by cabaret seating.
  • Dates: Is your meeting recurring, as with an annual board meeting? Is your date flexible? Small meetings with internal stakeholders (say, a leadership forum) may have more flexibility than gatherings involving performers or speakers with limited availability.

Know what dates you want? Book your small meeting instantly with our online instant book functionality.

  • Accommodation block: If attendees are coming in from out of town, work with your venue to reserve an appropriate number of rooms. 
  • Registration materials: Whether it’s through a website registration, event registration software or a simple email confirmation, provide attendees with an all-in-one information package with everything they’ll need to know for the meeting. Include addresses, transportation information, parking, programming, food and beverage information and contact information. Ask attendees during registration about any accommodations they’ll need regarding physical ability, and communicate this to your venue.
  • Audiovisual needs: Understand what you want to happen. Will you need screens? Will there be music? Knowing this going into discussions with your venue can help your team find the right setup for you.
  • Food and beverage needs: Our teams will work with you to find the right catering for your meeting. You can also streamline the process with Event eMenus, a one-stop platform.
  • Signage and name tags: Your venue may be able to coordinate signage to help get people to the right spot. Small meetings are primed to have name tags serve as conversation-starters: Have attendees write in their hometown, a significant date or a one-word description of why they’re there. 
  • Communication to all stakeholders: You can’t overcommunicate to anyone who plays a special role at a meeting of any size (speaker, facilitator, caterer, etc.). At small meetings, everyone plays a special role. Be clear at all points about what everyone is expected to do, even if for attendees that’s just having an agenda available in multiple formats. 
  • Staging the event: Work with your venue coordinator to make sure all equipment you need will be available: lectern, whiteboards, ample seating and more. If you want to rent special pieces to add to the decor, alert your venue coordinator that you’ll be bringing in your own pieces. Arrive at the venue well ahead of time so you can coordinate last-minute details with A/V team members or caterers, chat with any greeters or volunteers about their duties, check signage placement and place any promotional items or swag so that attendees walk into a pitch-perfect space. 
  • VIP service: Our hotels can provide a particular level of concierge-style service for designated VIPs, which may be useful for executive summits.

With the power of smaller “everyday events” becoming more a part of organizations’ toolkits, you’re part of a growing trend when you work with Marriott Bonvoy to host a small meeting. Group gatherings are about connection, after all – and sometimes the best way to do that isn’t through breadth, but through intimacy.