New Campaign to Market Face-to-Face Launches at PCMA

A consortium of travel-related associations and for-profit entities has initiated a campaign to promote business travel with the name “Meetings Mean Business.”

The announcement came Tuesday at a general session of the Professional Convention Management Association’s (PCMA) Convening Leaders meeting in Boston.

“This reflects the importance our industry has placed on ensuring that our value is well understood by all our customers, stakeholders and policymakers,” says Larry Luteran, a senior vice president with Hilton Worldwide and co-chair of the newly formed Meetings Mean Business coalition, in a statement.

The new marketing and publicity campaign will focus on three elements: creating personal connections, driving positive business outcomes and building strong communities.

Associations besides PCMA involved in the campaign include:

• U.S. Travel Association

• American Society of Association Executives

• Convention Industry Council • Cruise Lines International Association

• Destination Marketing Association International

• International Association of Exhibitions & Events

• Society of Independent Show Organizers

Companies participating in the campaign include, among others:

• Caesars Entertainment

• Helms Briscoe

• Hilton Worldwide

• Maritz Travel

• Starwood Hotels

A major component of the campaign will focus on communicating to all levels of government agencies the benefits of face-to-face marketing. Today’s announcement coincides with a hearing before the U.S. Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs that is examining conference and travel expenses in the federal government. Coalition members are expected to testify during the hearing on the benefits of face-to-face meetings.

Among other things, they will cite a recent report prepared by Oxford Economics indicating such things as:

• For every dollar U.S. companies invest in business travel they realize $9.50 in new revenue.

• Of the surveyed business leaders, 57 percent said cutting back on travel budgets during the recent economic downturn hurt their companies’ performance.

• More than three-quarters of survey respondents believe tradeshows and meetings help them gain industry insight (78 percent) and develop partnerships (76 percent).

“Meetings Mean Business will change the discussion by presenting the airtight case for the irreplaceable value of face-to-face collaboration,” says U.S. Travel Association President and CEO Roger Dow in a statement.

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Posted by Michael Hart

Michael Hart is the executive editor of Expo. Reach him at mhart@accessintel.com.... View all articles by Michael Hart →