The Professional Convention Management Association (PCMA) has announced the launch of the Meetings Mean Business campaign, which aims to highlight the meetings industry’s role in job creation and as a powerful economic engine.

The campaign will surround three key points: Creating Personal Connections, Driving Positive Business Outcomes and Building Strong Communities. These are designed to highlight the value of face-to-face meetings, show how they deliver profits while increasing new business and to further develop the positive impact the industry has on communities across the country, creating thousands of jobs and generating billions of dollars of revenue. The overall goal is to engage stakeholders, media and policymakers with these three points to help create a more positive public perception toward the meetings industry, and to show its true benefits.

“The launch of this industry-wide campaign is an exciting moment as diverse voices from across our industry unite behind a powerful, singular message to communicate the benefits meetings bring to communities, businesses and the economy,” said David Peckinpaugh, president of Maritz Travel and co-chair of Meetings Mean Business.

The announcement was made during PCMA’s Convening Leaders conference in Boston, and in conjunction with a panel discussion that featured several meetings industry leaders, including Deborah Sexton, president and CEO of PCMA; Roger Dow, president and CEO of the U.S. Travel Association; Michael Gehrisch, president and CEO of DMAI; John Graham, president and CEO of ASAE; David Dubois, president of IAEE; and Paul Van Deventer, president and CEO of Meeting Professionals International. One of the points highlighted by the panel was the need to continually push the message to right the perception of the meetings industry.

“This has to be an ongoing message,” said Sexton. “We have to push this out every year. Let’s get a consistent message out there that makes a lot of sense and educates a lot of people.”

During the discussion, Dow highlighted the importance of educating advocates on the hard statistics about the overall economic impact and job-creating power of the travel industry in order to help spread the message, especially in a time when negative news reports continue to threaten public perception.

“Let’s begin getting our proponents involved now,” Dow said. “In 2009, we couldn’t get a single corporate person to advocate. We ought to begin getting that cadre together now so they’re ready to go.”

“If we went back five years ago, we didn’t even know how many meetings were held,” added Gehrisch. “It was all anecdotal information. Now we know. We can really tell the true story.”

The launch of the Meetings Mean Business campaign coincided with a hearing before the U.S. Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Government Affairs, which highlighted the damage across-the-board cuts to the travel budgets of key federal agencies has caused. The launch was also accompanied by the release of a video highlighting the campaign’s goals.

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