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.


  1. 1 Marvin McTaw 25 Sep
    Thank you David for creating and sharing this article. I too agree that the industry as a whole does a lot to help their communities. Usually (and I know you will probably hate me for saying this given the tenor of the article) they are shown in the economic impact studies. The reason these studies are important is because meetings, for better or worse really are just businesses. I'm not trying to diminish the tenor of the article but ultimately, what you're discussing is PR which only helps to support the event more and ultimately has a positive economic impact.

    Now, in regards to the example you discussed from Mass. with the Exhibitors, one question I have is what do the Exhibitors get out of participating in this program? I would guess that unless its substantially easier for the Exhibitors to participate in the program, they probably aren't doing it. It's got to have some sort of material economic impact and/or save material amounts of time for most exhibitors to even bother participating in an event like this. That does not diminish the impact or motives of what they are trying to do but I would guess that if this program was incredibly expensive for the MCCA they would cut it out all too soon. 
  2. 2 Constanza Orias 25 Sep
    Excellent article - we, as an industry, should be actively accompanying
    the global trend of shifting the perspective from economic revenue to benefits
    for our society as a whole.
    "The best species (or companies in this case) are not the fastest or strongest, but the ones that adapt the best to their environment" (quote originally - and mistakenly - atributed to Darwin; but to the point, nonetheless).

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