In October 2008, less than a week after
accepting an $85 billion government bailout, insurance giant AIG held a now infamous weeklong executive retreat at the St.
Regis Resort in Monarch Beach, Calif. That
retreat set the stage for a barrage of criticism, at the center of which are meetings
and events that members of the media
and Congress have deemed frivolous,
extravagant and wasteful.
In response, travel industry associations have developed a public awareness
campaign called “Meetings Mean Busi-
ness” ( www.meetingsmeanbusiness.com),
which uses grassroots organizing and paid
advertising to promote the value of meetings and events. The campaign makes
the points that meetings and events are
economic stimulants that encourage
workforce development, create jobs and
generate valuable tax revenue for the
communities that host them.
“Our campaign will challenge poli-cymakers to tone down the dangerous
rhetoric, embrace sensible guidelines
for companies receiving assistance and
promote travel as an economic solution,”
says Roger Dow, president and CEO of the
U.S. Travel Association.
Although public criticism has been primarily focused on companies receiving
federal economic aid, a recent survey by
Meetings and Conventions magazine found
that more than 20 percent of organizations not receiving taxpayer assistance
have canceled events due to the threat of
To reverse the trend, the associations
behind the Meetings Mean Business campaign — including the American Hotel
and Lodging Association, the Destination
Marketing Association International, the
International Association of Exhibitions
and Events, Meeting Professionals International, the National Business Travel
Association, the Professional Convention
Grand Ballroom, Navy Pier
with the Industry’s
Best and Brightest
A unique evening
and a World of
Silent Auction Items
Forum Honors Gala—
the most prestigious event for
the Chicagoland association community.
It all starts From Here!