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Take 5: Cypress Planning Group talks with SmartMeetings about Innovative Event Execution and the Art of Event Storytelling

February 29, 2024


The following excerpt is from an article published in Smart Meetings on February 21, 2024, where Cypress Planning Group was featured.

Meetings and events expert opens up about innovative event execution

Angele du Passage has been a dedicated leader in the hospitality industry for over 30 years. After earning her degree in Hospitality and Tourism Management and becoming an experienced leader in hotel sales, du Passage and two partners made the decision to launch Cypress Planning Group (CPG).

As a CMP and partner of a meeting services organization, du Passage gives insight on how her background and values contribute to the success of CPG events. With meaningful experiences through personalization and client satisfaction as the focus, du Passage and CPG embody experience, compassion and professional execution as they enter into 2024.

Q: What inspired you to get into the meetings and events industry?

A: I’m probably a “rainbow unicorn” because I actually went to college for what I am doing. I graduated from University of New Orleans and received a degree in hotel, restaurant and tourism. I took one of those little personality tests and it basically told me I should be in the hospitality industry. So, I changed my major and changed my college. And the rest is history.

Q: You are a native of New Orleans. Has that contributed to your focus on storytelling and dynamic experiences as a CMP and partner of Cypress Planning Group?

A: Oh, no doubt. I come from a destination that is very essential in hospitality, storytelling and emotion. We are very expressive and all about experiences and memories. I guess its kind of serendipitous that I grew up in New Orleans and fell in love with the hospitality industry.

In this industry, more than every other industry, everything is about communicating and telling a story. The best way to promote your brand is to let them know who you are and give them some background on what you’re all about and what you can offer. People remember stories. I can give you facts and figures, but if I’m telling you a story, you’re going to remember who I am and what I can bring. Then those people can tell your story to someone else.

Q: Is that also true for the events we plan?

A: As meeting planners, we are telling a story through our conferences. When we help with site selection or “the art of matchmaking,” I find joy in learning about my client’s program, understanding their needs and finding that absolutely perfect property that is going to become the backdrop of their story and their experience. I feel privileged to be able to partner with clients and be the matchmaker of the destination, the hotel, my client and our conference.

Q: What are some unique qualities Cypress Planning Group can offer to clients?

A: I’ve had the privilege of being on both sides. I’ve worked in the hotel industry and I know their pain points. I know how hard it is to either fight for a client and believing this is a good piece of business, or having to tell difficult news about renovation or relocating a group, or something is double booked. So many things that can happen. That experience helps me be more empathetic and understanding of where hotels are. It also helps me to explain to my clients what is happening. I really try to bridge the gap and be a good partner.

Q: What’s next for Cypress Planning Group?

A: We just purchased Vicky Johnson and Associates. She is an industry veteran based in D.C. with almost 20 years of experience. We purchased her company as she is retiring, but she’s staying on with us for about a year. She found us and we found her—it has been a really great experience.

This article appears in the January 2024 and January/February 2024 issues. You can subscribe to the magazine here.

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