What we have all known intuitively since we entered this industry, the importance of meetings to our economy, has now been proven by the Convention Industry Council. The Economic Significance Study demonstrates that meetings matter to our local, national and in fact the global economy. The research quantifies the economic contributions made by the 1.8 million meetings, trade shows, conventions, congresses, incentive events and other meetings that take place across the country. The key findings of the study are:
- 1.8 million meetings
- 205 million participants
- $263 billion in direct spending
- $106 billion contribution to the GDP
- 1.7 million jobs
Historically, our industry has been overlooked as a vital industry. According to Roger Dow, President and CEO of U.S. Travel, much of the industry’s woes come from perception at home and abroad. Domestically, travel has taken a back seat to other industries, such as manufacturing or automobiles. “One in nine Americans has a job in the travel industry,” says Dow, it’s two and a half times bigger than the auto industry, but have you ever heard one person say, ‘Gee, I wonder how the travel industry is doing’?” But with the recent study we now have significant numbers that places our industry above many industries including the often discussed auto industry. Please read more on this study at the link below:
Face-to-Face meetings will continue to be an important way to meet potential customers, business partners, build relationships and share valuable information. These face-to-face meetings were described in Association Meetings Magazine with the following bullet points:
- Historically, the term ‘meeting’ has been broad-based and often used to refer to a wide range of events of varying sizes and types, during which a number of people came together in one place to confer or carry out a particular activity.
- The key purposes of meetings are to motivate participants, conduct business, share ideas, and learn. Frequency can be on an ad hoc basis or according to a set pattern (e.g. annual general meetings, committee meetings, etc.).
- Based on further refinement by the UN World Tourism Organization, the term ‘meeting’ refers to a gathering of 10 or more participants for a minimum of four hours in the contracted venue. Meeting types include conventions, conferences, congresses, trade shows and exhibitions, incentive events, corporate/business meetings and other meetings that meet the aforementioned criteria.
According to the Cornell Hospitality Report, the face-to-face meeting is most likely the best approach in the following business situations:
- To captivate attention, particularly when you want to initiate something new or different;
- To inspire a positive emotional climate, as a way to catalyze collaboration, innovation and performance; and
- To build human networks and relationships, realizing that information can increasingly be shared virtually whereas the greater value is in people networks and relationships.
As key contributors within our industry, we can stand proud knowing that our industry plays a key role in our country’s economic well being. Stephen Perry, New Orleans CVB, commented in a article recently which best describes how all of us feel and I am sharing his final thought- ‘What we do and the visitors that we bring in create the markets that allow city after city to have performing arts theaters, venues, museums and attractions that can improve these communities. You are changing the world every time you advance travel and the mixing of different cultures. That makes me wake up every morning’.
So what does all of this mean for YOU? It means that meetings matter to our economy. It means that your role matters within the industry. It means you chose a career in an industry that is not only exciting, but serves a great purpose. It also means that YOU have choices within this industry. You can work as a meeting planner, hotelier, at a CVB, as a supplier of services and products to the industry or on your own. The choice is yours and I can help you realize the best place for you to realize your hopes and dreams by utilizing the experience and talents you have accumulated. Yes, face-to-face meetings matter…and so do YOU!