Meetings Mean Business Coalition Previews Advocacy Initiatives for 2019
The Meetings Mean Business Coalition (MMBC) has announced its plans to continue promoting the intrinsic value of face-to-face meetings and events while protecting the industry from financial or reputational threats.
During a press conference at PCMA’s Convening Leaders conference, held Jan. 6-9 at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center in Pittsburgh, Penn., MMBC Co-chairs Julie Coker Graham and Trina Camacho-London shared the coalition’s approach for building on the momentum of 2018, a year they described as a record success, and how they will be laying the groundwork for 2020.
“We made a concerted effort last year to create deeper, more sustained engagement among those who influence the meetings economy,” explained Coker Graham, MMBC co-chair and president and CEO of the Philadelphia Convention and Visitors Bureau.
She continued, “To do this, we introduced a new advocacy strategy and tailored our communications to the motivations of our target audiences – including decision makers outside of our industry in business and government.”
According to Coker Graham, this year MMBC will be growing its advocacy programming in four ways:
- Mobilizing internal audiences to engage external ones – and making it easier for industry professionals to become advocates
- Recruiting highest-priority validators from business and government
- Deploying new messaging and materials that are tailored-made for seven target markets
- Socializing proof points about the industry’s value by leading with economic impact data and influencers’ stories
To meet these objectives, she said, the coalition will expand what works, build engagement from the inside out and create shared value through new and existing programming, including Global Meetings Industry Day (GMID).
On April 4, GMID will bring together industry professionals from around the world for the fourth consecutive year.
“GMID helps raise awareness of the industry’s value all over the world,” said Camacho-London, MMBC co-chair and vice president of Global Group Sales at Hyatt Hotels Corporation.
She added, “It also helps promote involvement in MMBC from our global partners.”
MMBC’s second international chapter, Meetings Mean Business India, will launch in 2019, she added.
The coalition’s first international chapter, Meetings Mean Business Canada, will also continue operations and recently unveiled a new growth strategy.
In the U.S., a focus on reaching business leaders and policymakers will continue to guide the MMBC’s work, especially as the nation gears up for the 2020 elections.
Supporting this work will be new content and engagement opportunities, including:
- Explainer videos, including one for policy elites that was debuted by the coalition at PCMA
- A new Advisory Council to tap into the expertise and professional networks of 10-12 director-level industry professionals who work at companies in MMBC’s priority business sectors: healthcare, financial services and technology
- A suite of resources to help meeting and event planners prepare for and respond to travel bans and boycotts, based on 2018 research commissioned by Destinations International and MMBC
“MMBC remains an insurance policy for the meetings industry,” said Roger Dow, president and CEO of the U.S. Travel Association and founding member of MMBC.
He continued, “The coalition’s work safeguards against potential threats, which we know could include anything from an economic slowdown to a security issue to the weaponization of meetings through a travel ban or boycott. I’m thrilled with the plans to expand our program of work this year.”
Meetings Mean Business is an industry-wide coalition that showcases the undeniable value that business meetings, trade shows, incentive travel, exhibitions, conferences and conventions bring to people, businesses and communities.