The U.S. Travel Association (USTA), which launched its Let’s Go There campaign earlier this year, is now turning its eye to the beleaguered meeting industry. As domestic travel heads toward full recovery of its pre-pandemic numbers, the work isn’t done until other segments of travel are also seeing similar gains.
As such, USTA has launched its Let’s Meet There, a campaign that targets the struggling business travel and professional meetings and events (PMEs) sectors. According to data from the association, the US saw a decline of more than $200 billion last year in direct spending generated from business travel (of which roughly $100 billion was directly due to declines in meetings and events), leading to the loss of nearly 1.5 million jobs and $28.8 billion in tax revenue.
The segment’s revival is crucial to chauffeured transportation's long-term health as well as the overall travel economy. Business trips account for a majority of air travel and lodging, with 500 million trips taken in 2019 alone, representing 2.5 million American jobs and a massive $348 billion in spending. Polls show, including those from the Global Business Travel Association, show that business travelers are itching to get back on the road, and that their employers are steadily moving toward it. This campaign aims to convince reluctant C-suite executives that travel is imperative to company success as face-to-face meetings tend to be more productive and business-building than phone calls or even video conferencing.
According to the campaign’s website: “Let’s Meet There will seek to elevate the economic importance of PMEs—and the fact that it is possible to resume PMEs safely—to state and local policymakers, as well as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, to encourage a reassessment of guidance for PMEs. As stated in a review of current best evidence led by scientists at The Ohio State University, PMEs have the advantage of being structured and well-organized large gatherings where mitigation factors can be enforced to protect the health and safety of those in attendance.”
“We have a lot of work ahead of us, but I am confident that we can accelerate the recovery of this crucial sector of the travel economy,” says USTA President & CEO Roger Dow. “The same energy, focus, and collaboration that made Let’s Go There such a great success will carry the Let’s Meet There campaign through this next chapter. I am looking forward to continuing working with all of our partners and know this will be an important part of our industry’s comeback story.”