@MPIGNY- Summer 2014 - (Page 8)

#feature CHANGING THE CONVERSATION - Meetings Mean Business BY ROGER DOW PRESIDENT AND CEO OF U.S. TRAVEL ASSOCIATION T he story of the meetings and events industry is untold. In recent history, it has been defined mostly by isolated incidents of abuse by a few unscrupulous individuals, which have driven breathless media coverage and politically-charged rhetoric. While headline-grabbing phrases like "the AIG effect" are catchy, by no means are they representative of the meetings and events industry and the value it brings to businesses and economies. Meetings mean relationships, business deals, collaboration and stronger communities, among many other positive outcomes. As a result of the national conversation, a coalition of industry leaders, including the U.S. Travel Association, Maritz Travel and more, joined together to push back against the negative commentary. Through the creation of the Meetings Mean Business (MMB) campaign, the coalition launched a national movement to change the conversation around business travel and explain to customers, associations and businesses the true value of meetings and events. Defining the Value of Meetings The true value of face-to-face business meetings, conferences, conventions, incentive travel, tradeshows and 8 @MPIGNY SUMMER 2014 exhibitions comes in many forms. Faceto-face meetings create opportunities to build relationships and drive collaboration across industries. Simply put, there's no technology available that can replace a handshake. MMB sees these vital interactions happening every day at events across the country. Through conversations with coalition members and industry leaders in various sectors, MMB has found that the sidebar conversations held during a tradeshow or exhibition often prove to be the most fruitful. And you never know where a casual cup of coffee with a business partner or new acquaintance might lead. Paul Van Deventer, president and chief executive officer of Meeting Professionals International (MPI), can attest to this fact. With more than two decades of corporate experience, Paul has learned that the most productive forums for business are often the most unexpected. Just recently at a global conference, Paul said that a simple cup of coffee with a new acquaintance opened the door to huge opportunity for his organization. "During a break in the schedule, a friend of mine introduced me to someone I hadn't previously met," he said. "We had one thing in common - we both had leadership roles with large associations. So we grabbed a cup of coffee, sat down and just started talking." As the conversation progressed, it became apparent that both organizations had some of the same goals and same ideas when it came to breaking into new markets. "As we sat, we started to think about ways that our associations might be able to work together," he said. "By the end of the break, we'd mapped out a way to pull in a third group and create an entirely new go-to-market strategy that will be a huge benefit for everyone involved." Through this chance meeting, MPI found two new partners that have the potential to open up a whole new world of business. "The best benefits are often the events that you never anticipate - the unplanned conversations," said Van Deventer. "The friends that I've met, the business contacts I've made and the ideas that have come up during a conversation in the hallway or over a drink go so far beyond what happens in any other environment. That's the real power of face-to-face." What MMB Stands For Meetings Mean Business is a proactive, best-foot-forward campaign, drawing support from leaders across business, professional associations and destination marketing organizations (DMOs). The campaign is centered on three pillars that prove the substantial value

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of @MPIGNY- Summer 2014

Ask the Board
President’s Message by Carvie Gillikin
Changing the Conversation – Meetings Mean Business
From Carry-Ons to Conference Shoes – Conference Style at Its Best
What’s in My Travel Bag
Day Trips and Weekend Getaways From NYC
Why It’s Time for a Paradine Shift
Rooftop Refreshment
If Trade Shows Were Uber
Meet the 2014-2015 Board of Directors
28th Annual Auction & Mixology Madness
Member Spotlight a Conversation With Marissa Lynn Pilku
Notes From the Field
New Members
Advertiser’s Index

@MPIGNY- Summer 2014