Meetings Mean Business Coalition Previews Advocacy Initiatives for 2019

January 11, 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:

  1. Mobilizing internal audiences to engage external ones – and making it easier for industry professionals to become advocates
  2. Recruiting highest-priority validators from business and government
  3. Deploying new messaging and materials that are tailored-made for seven target markets
  4. 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.

Go HERE to learn more about MMBC and how to get involved in 2019, and check out what the coalition accomplished in 2018 by watching this video.


Don’t miss any event news! Sign up for any (or all) of our e-newsletters HERE & engage with us on Twitter, FacebookLinkedIn & Instagram!

Add new comment

Partner Voices
Less than six months ago, Lisa Messina joined the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA) as the first-ever chief sales officer after leading the sales team at Caesars Entertainment. A 12-year Las Vegas resident, Messina is a graduate of Cornell University’s School of Hotel Administration and serves on MPI International’s board of directors. TSNN had a chance to catch up with this dynamic leader and talk to her about her vision for the new role, current shifts in the trade show industry, creating more diversity and equity within the organization, and advice to future female leaders. Lisa Messina, Chief Sales Officer, LVCVA With Las Vegas becoming The Greatest Arena on EarthTM, what are some of the things you’re most excited about in your role? Our team was at The Big Game’s handoff ceremony earlier this month, and I couldn’t help but think, “We’re going to crush it next year!”  These high-profile events and venues not only drive excitement, but also provide unmatched opportunities for event planners. Allegiant Stadium hosts events from 10 to 65,000 people and offers on-field experiences. Formula 1 Grand Prix will take place in Las Vegas in November, after the year-one F1 race, the four-story paddock building will be available for buyouts and will also offer daily ride-along experiences that will be available for groups. And, of course, the MSG Sphere officially announced that it will open in September, ahead of schedule, with a U2 residency. It’s going to be the most technologically advanced venue as far as lighting, sound, feel, and even scent, and it will be available for buyouts and next-level sponsorships inside and outside. There’s no ceiling to what you can do when you’re doing events in Las Vegas.  Allegiant Stadium As the trade show and convention business returns to the pre-pandemic levels, what shifts are you noticing and how do you think they will impact the industry going forward? Our trade show organizers are very focused on driving customer experience. Most of our organizers are reporting stronger exhibitor numbers and increased numbers of new exhibitors, with trade shows proving to be almost or above 2019 levels. Now our organizers are really doubling down on driving attendance and focusing on the data to provide that individualized, customized experience to help attendees meet their goals and get the best value. Some companies continue to be cautiously optimistic with their organizational spend when it comes to sending attendees, but I think it will continue to improve. As the U.S. Travel Association makes more progress on the U.S. visa situation, we also expect a growing influx of international attendees. What are some innovative ways the LVCVA helps trade show and convention organizers deliver the most value for their events? We focus on customer experience in the same way that trade show organizers are thinking about it. We got rave reviews with the West Hall Expansion of the Las Vegas Convention Center (LVCC), so over the next two years, we will be renovating the North and the Central halls, which will include not just the same look and feel, but also the digital experiences that can be leveraged for branding and sponsorship opportunities.  Vegas Loop, the underground transportation system designed by The Boring Company, is also a way we have enhanced the customer experience. Vegas Loop at the LVCC has transported more than 900,000 convention attendees across the campus since its 2021 launch. Last summer, Resorts World and The Boring Company opened the first resort stop at the Resorts World Las Vegas , with plans to expand throughout the resort corridor, including downtown Las Vegas, Allegiant Stadium and Harry Reid International Airport. The LVCVA also purchased the Las Vegas Monorail in 2020, the 3.9-mile-long elevated transportation system that connects eight resorts directly to the convention center campus. This is the only rail system in the world that integrates fares directly into show badges and registration. For trade show organizers, these transportation options mean saving time, money and effort when it comes to moving groups from the hotels to LVCC and around the city. Also, the more we can focus on building the infrastructure around the convention center, the more it supports the customer experience and ultimately supports our trade show organizers. Scheduled to debut in Q4, Fontainebleau Las Vegas will offer 3,700 hotel rooms and 550,000 square feet of meeting and convention space next to LVCC.  What are some of the plans for advancing DEI (diversity, equity and inclusion) within your organization? We’re currently partnering with instead of working with a leading consulting firm, to lay the foundation and create a solid DEI plan and be the leader when it comes to DEI initiatives. The heart of that journey with the consulting firm is also talking to our customers about their strategic approaches to DEI and driving innovation in this space.  What are your favorite ways to recharge? My husband and I have an RV and we’re outdoorsy people. So, while we have over 150,000 world-class hotel rooms and renowned restaurants right outside our doorstep, one of my favorite things to do is get out to Red Rock Canyon, the Valley of Fire, and Lake Mead. Five of the top national parks are within a three-hour drive from Las Vegas, so there’s a lot you can do. We love balancing the energy of Las Vegas with nature, and we’re noticing that a lot of attendees add activities off the Strip when they come here.  Valley of Fire What advice would you give to women following leadership paths in destination marketing? I think it’s about being laser-focused on what you want to accomplish; building a team around you that lifts you and helps you achieve your goals; and being humble and realizing that you do it as a group. No one gets this done alone. Thankfully, there are a lot of women in leadership in this organization, in our customers’ organizations, and in this city that we can be really proud of. We’re a formidable force that is making things happen.   This interview has been edited and condensed. This article is exclusively sponsored by the Las Vegas Convention & Visitors Authority. For more information, visit HERE.