Meeting professionals gathered in force on Global Meetings Industry Day 2022, delivering a resounding affirmation of the importance of business meetings and events.
Meetings Mean Business, the coalition focused on raising awareness on the value of face-to-face meetings, reported more than 40 million impressions across social media platforms this year, quadrupling last year’s engagement, reaching more than 8.5 million users. MMB added GMID events were hosted in more than 25 countries across the world, more than doubling last year’s global event count. The association reported that sites that wrote or posted articles about GMID garnered a total of 283 million readers. In all, GMID 2022 broke records with significant increases in engagement on all social platforms, media coverage, in-person events, new organization engagement and elected official outreach, the U.S. Travel Association said.
GMID takes place every April, an annual event devoted to advocacy around the value that business meetings, trade shows, incentive travel, exhibitions, conferences and conventions bring to people, businesses and communities.
“As we wrap up another Global Meetings Industry Day, I remain more optimistic and excited for our industry than ever before,” said Michael Dominguez, President and CEO of ALHI. “The energy, the enthusiasm and human connections have been missing for two years and can never be replaced in other environments.”
Dominguez joined other industry leaders for a week of legislative meetings in Washington, D.C., participating in Destination Capitol Hill, client lunches, Member Open House and a U.S. Travel Association board meeting.
“Throw in a great dinner with friends that included conversation until we were the last in the restaurant and it felt like a pre-COVID time,” he added.
But the clear focus of GMID for the industry leaders was working with legislators to get action on key industry issues related to the post-pandemic recovery. Topics discussed included:
· Workforce assistance, specifically with seasonal, temporary employment tied to H2B Visa programs
· Incentives for the return of business travel and professional events
· Focus on the return of international travel as the visa process has been dramatically impacted and problematic with certain parts of the world delayed by 300+ in processing
· Asking for support of the Omnibus Travel and Tourism Act of 2021 (S. 3375), which establishes an Assistant Secretary of Travel and Tourism at the Department of Commerce
U.S. Travel released a new survey during GMID showing that 84% of business travelers expect to take at least one trip to attend conferences, conventions or trade shows in the next six months. The Quarterly Business Travel Tracker also revealed that, while less than one in 10 U.S. business travelers are uncertain if they would travel in the next six months, the top reason for uncertainty was that meetings and events are not occurring. Corporate policies restricting business travel was the second-highest reason for uncertainty. Business travelers also expect to resume traveling at a slightly slower pace compared to pre-pandemic levels, averaging about 1.6 trips per month (compared to 1.7 monthly trips pre-pandemic).
While U.S. Travel forecasts that business travel spending was still down 60% from pre-pandemic levels in 2021, the survey's data shows a clear shift in American business travelers’ desire to return to in-person meetings.
Here’s a sampling of other events that took place on GMID:
Highlights: Panel discussions at the Omni Dallas Hotel focused on moving forward with in-person meetings and supporting the concept that the Dallas Metroplex is the center for meetings, conventions and tradeshows. More than 150 meeting professionals attended the event.
Reporting: Ashly Balding, Chief Sales Officer, ALHI
Highlights: More than 30 meeting professionals attended the event at Imagen Venues, which included a panel of CVB representatives from Texas cities Galveston, Houston, The Woodlands, and Fredericksburg. The key message: Business is back, RFP volume is strong (back to 2019 levels), and groups are meeting in person.
Reporting: Staci Currie, Director of Global Sales, ALHI
Highlights: More than 60 people attended the education and networking event at Two Bit Circus in Los Angeles.
Reporting: Mai Lim, Director of Global Sales, ALHI
Highlights: Rip Rippetoe, CEO of The San Diego Convention Center Corp., and his team was recognized for their work at the GMID event held at the San Diego Air & Space Museum. As a top U.S. travel destination, San Diego’s Hospitality, Tourism and Meetings Industry hosts more 35 million visitors each year who spend over $11 billion annually and generate $848 million in state and local transient occupancy, sales and property taxes as well as employing nearly 200,000 San Diegans. The San Diego Convention Center is the recipient of the Best Convention Center in the Western United States Award from Prevue Magazine. About 150 people attended the event.
Reporting: Jaime Lee Tiffany, Director of Global Sales, ALHI
Highlights: Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney spoke to the group at the Pennsylvania Convention Center emphasizing how critical the meetings industry is to the city’s economy. Brad Magarity served on a panel themed “Unconference” by crowd sourcing pressing topics from the 100 attendees at the event The panel then debriefed and presented feedback on these topics, which were mainly focused on the challenges facing meeting professionals going forward.
Reporting: Brad Magarity, Vice President, Sales, ALHI
Highlights: Amber Voelker, Regional Vice President, ALHI, and Joe Martino, Director of Sales & Marketing at Pasea Hotel & Spa, spoke to 50 students on behalf of Junior Achievement at Western High School in Anaheim, Calif., about career opportunities in the hospitality field.
Reporting: Amber Voelker, Regional Vice President, ALHI
Highlights: About 200 meeting professionals attended the event focused on how the meeting and events industry is back.
Reporting: Shelley Bartie-Reed, Director of Global Sales, ALHI
Highlights: The event at the Reagan Building and International Trade Center in Washington, D.C., was a celebration of inclusion, diversity and community in the meetings industry with a focus on to meet successfully, it takes a global village of advocacy, storytelling and understanding. More than 200 attended in person and online.
Reporting: Daniel Ketelsen, Director of Global Sales, ALHI.
Navigating the Road to Success
Highlights: An alliance that included MPI Greater New York Chapter, SITE Northeast USA, NY Area Chapter of PCMA, NYSAE, HSMAI Greater New York, Live Events Coalition and ILEA NY Metro Chapter resulted in more than 100 meeting professionals registered for the event, which included a virtual component. Sessions included panels with planners sharing insight on how they coped through the pandemic and how they will approach future challenges and a session entitled “Tales from the Trenches” where frontline workers shared personal stories.
Reporting: Elaine Morena, Regional Vice President, ALHI
2022 MIC Global Meetings Industry Event
Highlights: About 100 attendees in Denver heard a discussion on issues such as the importance of advancing diversity and safety in the workplace.
Reporting: Bill Light, Vice President, Sales, ALHI