CLIA's Christine Duffy Explains Why Meetings Mean Business (VIDEO)
When the Meetings Mean Business campaign launched at PCMA's Convening Leaders conference in Boston, David Peckinpaugh, president of Maritz Travel and co-chair of the Meetings Mean Business coalition, told International Meetings Review that the group would offer "a single-voice approach" to the challenges the industry is facing.
Over the past month, members of the initiative have taken steps to promote the value of meetings to a wider audience: MPI released a commercial that ran on broadcast TV, and the Convention Industry Council Economic Significance Study identified growth in a number of areas between 2009 and 2012. U.S. Travel also released a study of how its IPW conference (formerly known as International Pow Wow) affected the overall economy of host city Las Vegas and the country at large.
But while the campaign is enjoying high visibility across the meetings industry, there remains a lot of work ahead if the U.S. government is to reverse its current approach to business events. IMR's James Latham caught up with Christine Duffy, president and CEO of the Cruise Line International Association (a member of the coalition), to get her insights on the campaign and what meetings mean for both organizations and the communities that host them.
As Duffy noted, the CIC data (which found that meetings’ contribution to GDP increased by almost 9 percent, providing more than $115 billion towards the economy) only goes so far in telling the story in direct economic impacts. "People don't have meetings to drive economic impact," she said. "We have meetings to deliver specific business results, or provide professional education, or to motivate people to communicate. We've got to be able to quantify those returns in the same way that we quantify economic benefits."
Duffy called for more case study material and supporting data to provide insight into the value of the outputs of meetings and events—the business results, the professional development, and the adult education that results from face to face meetings and which collectively fuel the US economy.