Leading Meeting Professionals

Professional Convention Management Association

September 23 2013

Here’s What the Meetings Industry Needs to Start Promoting

By David McMillin

meeting promotion

As a writer, I’m constantly reviewing press releases, and the topics tend to run together: new hotels, new convention centers and new awards. This isn’t surprising. This is a competitive industry, and convention centers, CVBs and hoteliers are making plenty of exciting moves to create more compelling places to host big groups. However, the cycle of promotion can get stale. Writers like me know that readers like you don’t always care about this news.

That’s why I was pleasantly surprised to receive a note from Mac Daniel at the Massachusetts Convention Center Authority about the MCCA’s Community Assistance by Responsible Events (C.A.R.E.). The program is designed to link exhibitors with local non-profits. Rather than paying to ship unneeded goods after a show or throwing them away, exhibitors can donate those goods to non-profit organizations. It’s an incredible program that makes a difference in and around Boston and turns trade shows into experiences that do a whole lot more than attract sales leads. In fact, it just paved the way for exhibitors at the Orgill Fall Dealer Market to donate 61 tons of products to the Habitat for Humanity Greater Boston Chapter.

There are many other organizations in the industry that are making efforts to make a difference in their communities. Take a look at Fairmont Hotels where employees are currently celebrating Community Connections Month at properties around the world. From fixing homes for senior citizens in need to cleaning parks to hosting a food drive for a local food bank, the hotel is leaving a serious stamp of CSR everywhere it welcomes guests.

SEE ALSO: How to Ensure Your Meeting’s CSR Activities Actually Make An Impact

Still, the public doesn’t hear enough about all this incredible work. We constantly promote our economic impact (which, yes, is important), but we fail to adequately highlight the great work we do that falls outside the realm of dollar signs and employment figures.

We’ve entered a new era that requires businesses to be about more than their own business. In a survey of more than 3,300 MBA students conducted by non-profit Net Impact, 85 percent of respondents said that they would take a 15 percent pay cut to work for an organization with values that match their own. Ninety-one percent of them said that social and environmental issues matter to a business’ long-term success.

SEE ALSO: Top 5 CSR Initiatives in the Meetings Industry

Meetings do a whole lot more than bring people together. They also leave lasting positive impacts in their host locations. Take the time to think about your own experience in the industry. How has your organization encouraged giving back? How has your job given you the opportunity to do something greater? What has your meeting done to make a difference? If you have a good story, send me a note. I want to hear about it. Others do, too.

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