The Year Ahead

January 30, 2018
By Julie Coker Graham, President and CEO of the Philadelphia Convention & Visitors Bureau and Co-chair of Meetings Mean Business

2018 will be an important year for the Meetings Mean Business Coalition. True to our mission, we will mobilize industry advocates to engage leaders outside of the industry, with a focus on those who influence the meetings economy in key industries and congressional districts. To do this, we will:

  • Build our capacity to reach stakeholders online;
  • Increase participation in Global Meetings Industry Day;
  • Reframe Worth Meeting About as a constituent campaign for policymakers; and
  • Amplify the value of face-to-face through new stories and statistics.

Critical to our efforts will be the Events Industry Council’s Meetings Significance survey. The survey results, scheduled for release next month, include data from Oxford Economics, Longwoods International, the National Travel and Tourism Office and STR. Respondents include:

  • 1,300 planners, venues and exhibitors;
  • 9,000 domestic business travelers;
  • 50,000 international travelers; and
  • 11,000 hotels.

We released preliminary findings at PCMA’s Convening Leaders Convention earlier this month. Here’s a look at the key takeaways: In 2016, there were…

  • 1.9 million meetings in the U.S., including more than 250 million participants and representing 10 percent growth relative to 2012;
  • $330 billion in direct spending (or business sales), up from $280 billion in 2012; and
  • More than six million international participants, generating spending of $18.3 billion nationwide.

How does that compare to data from other industries?

According to the Events Industry Council, direct spending supported by meetings in the U.S. was greater in 2016 than the sales of businesses in the air, rail and water transportation sectors – combined. It was also greater than the output of businesses in the arts, entertainment and recreation sector.

What does that mean for us?

The meetings economy is strong and continues to grow. Data is a critical part to communicating our industry’s value proposition, especially to decision makers in business and government. The full report will be available next month and we’ll provide an exclusive briefing to review the data.

Please keep an eye out for more details on the report release and contact us to get involved in MMBC’s work this year. We’re excited for what’s ahead!