The meetings industry marked the annual Global Meetings Industry Day (GMID) on March 30, highlighting the value of trade shows, conferences, and face-to-face business meetings across the world and celebrating the planners, destination management companies, and other related professionals who make it happen. Multiple organizations dedicated to the advocacy of the meetings and travel industry held events in conjunction with the day, including Meeting Professionals International (MPI) and the US Travel Association (USTA), which launched the initiative several years ago. Using the hashtag #MeetingsMatter and #GMID2023, the social media efforts reached up to 10 million people worldwide, according to USTA.
According to a fact sheet released by USTA, meetings and events in 2022 alone generated nearly $100 billion in travel spending in the US directly supporting 600,000 American jobs. But the data also show that it not only advantages travel and tourism, but also American businesses: For every dollar invested in business travel, US companies experience $5.90 ROI, according to an Oxford Economics study that followed 14 industries over two dozen years.
“Business leaders know the most persuasive communication doesn’t happen through a screen—it happens when you meet face to face,” said USTA President & CEO Geoff Freeman in a press release for the event. “Even in a tight economy, face-to-face meetings matter for businesses and workers.”
He added, “When you think about it, there is practically no industry sector that doesn’t rely on professional travel to advance its business or goals.”
While there is mostly positive news on the travel front, the sector has yet to recover fully to 2019—which is blamed on several factors including record inflation, businesses reining in on travel costs or preferring digital conferences, and the lagging unemployment in travel and hospitality jobs. Additionally, excessive visa wait times for first-time visitors have impacted inbound US travel.
Just ahead of the event, MPI released its Winter Meetings Outlook. Among its findings:
- Live-event attendance expectations remain near all-time highs; those indicating favorable virtual attendance expectations are the weakest we’ve seen and respondents citing “negative” virtual attendance projections remain near all-time highs.
- Overall business projections remain incredibly positive with only 5 percent of respondents expecting a negative near future; 37 percent of all respondents project business conditions will be more than 10 percent better. Although projections dipped between spring 2022 and summer 2022 outlooks—90 percent and 81 percent, respectively—that number has rebounded to 85 percent.
USTA has put together a fact sheet to help businesses share the value that meetings, conventions, and group business travel bring to the global travel economy, which can be found here. The next Global Meetings Industry Day will be held April 11, 2024.