At this week's PCMA Convening Leaders conference at David L. Lawrence Convention Center in Pittsburgh, leaders of the Meetings Mean Business coalition—which showcases the tangible value that face-to-face meetings, conventions, and trade shows provide to people, businesses, and host communities—revealed what coalition co-chair Julie Coker Graham called the group's "activation strategy" for 2019. "Our goal is to try to mitigate the threat to the events business" from potential economic slowdown as well as travel restrictions that can reduce international business travel, said Coker Graham, who is also president and CEO of the Philadelphia Convention & Visitors Bureau.
Designed to continue the progress and momentum of the first 10 years of the group's advocacy work—the coalition came about at the start of the Great Recession in early 2009—this year's plan focuses on four areas. First, Global Meetings Industry Day, organized by the coalition in just four cities a few years ago, will take place on April 4 this year across 41 countries, featuring 210 events to educate public officials and business leaders about the importance of meetings and events to their local workforces and economies. Second, a checklist of tips and best practices related to crisis situations, such as travel bans or other situations that can affect event attendance, is being created so planners can design a communications plan and execute other damage control for their events, if necessary.
The other two elements of the 2019 plan for Meetings Mean Business are focused on gaining a higher profile in three critical industries: healthcare, high-tech, and banking/finance. First, a content bank is being created so that planners from organizations in those fields can use their own groups' examples to demonstrate the benefits of meetings to their organizations as well as to the host properties and the entire city. Second, an advisory council is being formed, comprising about a dozen veteran meeting and event professionals from those three industry sectors, to ensure that content related to the value of meetings reaches the upper echelons of their organizations. The goal is to have top executives in those fields understand the value of meetings, and become champions for them. This advisory council complements MMB's present ambassador program, which encourages younger employees in any industry to promote the value of their meetings and events both to their bosses and to professionals outside the events industry.
For more information, visit MeetingsMeanBusiness.com