I realize that may not be shocking news to anyone, especially those that follow me here in the Hospitality Hive where I discuss and diss about all aspects of the hospitality industry – many times from my perspective as a professional meeting planner. But to further prove the economic impact of why meetings and events matter, let’s chew on a few of these recently released facts [2015 data from the US Travel Association]:
- meetings and events is one of the largest sectors of the entire U.S. business travel industry, accounting for over 12.9% of all travel spending in the U.S. economy
- there are over 1 million U.S. jobs connected to the meetings and events industry
- those jobs result in an annual payroll topping $31.9 billion
- most recent figures show attendees at meetings & events spending a whopping $121.9 billion dollars [out of a total of $296.3 billion spent overall on business travel], all going into the U.S. economy
Wow. That’s a whole lotta numbers. And if you’re like me, meaning you generally lose track of zeros once they surpass whatever is in your current [tiny] paycheck, then you might already be wondering why I’m bothering to make your head spin with all those stats. Well, April 6 has been designated Global Meetings Industry Day, and that designation is not just here in the Hive territory of Central Florida, it’s everywhere. Worldwide. The entire planet, thus the inclusion of the adjective ‘Global’.
Yep, the biz of meetings is booming just about everywhere. So much so that in 2009 the U.S. Travel Association finally got really serious about it (perhaps because the economy was tanking back then?) and created a coalition called, the MMBC – Meetings Mean Business Coalition – to showcase the value and impact the meetings industry has on businesses, economies, and communities. Whatever the reason for the birth of that coalition, it was about time.
Of course here in Orlando none of this is really news to us. Even though we are oftentimes referred to as the family vacation capital of the world, we are also one of the most popular convention destinations, ranked consistently by meeting and convention planners in the top ten most desired cities to host a business program of any size or format.
So, what are we doing here in Orlando to celebrate GMID? So glad you asked! I’m very proud to be a founding member and two term Past President of the local chapter of Meeting Planners International, the premiere global association for meeting planners and suppliers worldwide. This year our chapter is sponsoring a top notch educational program called Harnessing the Power of Partnerships. MPI has, for years, been the affirmative voice of the industry, and our local chapter offers multiple programs on a monthly basis that educate members and newcomers to the industry on the business of meeting management.
And while we’re on the local topic, here’s another statistic that might blow your mind: according to the 2014-2015 Annual Report from our Orange County Convention Center, delegates attending conventions and trade shows hosted at the OCCC spent more than $2.2 billion in our local community during that fiscal year.
So I thought it fitting that on this one day of the year devoted to Global Meetings I’d mention all this as my way of continuing the dialogue started by the U.S. Travel Association. You can call this little education your entry level class to Meetings & Events, 101. And if you’re interested in some of the global events taking place here is a link to many of those: http://meetingsmeanbusiness.com/gmid/events