MPI Perspective - April 2009 - (Page 28)

Planners and Suppliers Unite! By David Kliman, CMP, CMM President, The Kliman Group I’ve just returned from MPI’s 2009 MeetDifferent Conference in Atlanta, where it came as no surprise that the dominant topic of conversation throughout the meeting was the economy and its impact on the meetings and events industry. But what truly impressed me was the consolidated meetings industry response authored by MPI, US Travel Association, AH&LA, DMAI, IAEE, NBTA, PCMA and SITE to address the media and government frenzy which is lambasting meetings as evil and economically counterproductive. The recent high-profile cancellations of meetings by AIG and Wells Fargo are just the tip of the iceberg. Ask any meeting or event professional and you’ll hear that their portfolio of business (planner and supplier alike) is down; and for many, this equates to massive economic losses. Let there be no mistake, in a time when we are all rightfully irate that poor performing corporate executives have received huge payouts in the face of miserable performance, we need to focus our anger on those inexcusable excesses while simultaneously communicating support for meetings and events that reward rank and file employees (and independent agents and contractors) of companies who excel and help their companies perform more profitably. The travel, tourism, meetings and events industry is one of America’s largest employers and should be recognized as a major catalyst for economy recovery. Meetings and events have a significant impact on local economies and the tax dollars generated by meetings help fund basic services in our community. Meetings provide employment for hotel employees, shuttle and taxi drivers, restaurant workers and others while offering educational and networking opportunities for attendees. Travel and meetings are not inherently bad, and I urge the media to stop slamming companies which have meetings when these events are held for the right reasons: recognizing peak performers, improving organizational efficiencies, providing training and enhancing profitability. We have an obligation to take a stance on these issues. The following are talking points crafted and approved by MPI and other industry groups which I urge you to share widely; talk them up with your friends, family, colleagues, clients, bosses and politicians: • Meetings and events are critical to American economy – Corporate meetings and events are absolutely critical to strengthening the American economy. Meetings and events are responsible for 15 percent of all travel in America, create more than $100 billion in spending annually, generate one million American jobs and provide $40 billion in tax revenue. • Communities, workers, unintended victims of cuts in meetings and events – The current environment of demonizing corporate meetings and events is hurting local communities across the country and is contradictory to fixing America’s economy. If we’re serious about creating jobs and strengthening the economy, we have to encourage companies to get out on the road. • Ask your political leaders to help by embracing responsible travel – There are three ways you can help protect meetings and events: (1) ask your political leaders to tone down the rhetoric, (2) ask that no legislation is passed that would further weaken the economy by placing fear in the hearts of those that have and have not taken emergency government lending, and (3) embrace the standards for responsible meetings and events that our industry put forward as a means of ensuring that beneficial activities continue. Surf to this link for access to these standards: www.mpiweb. org/CMS/uploadedFiles/Inside_MPI/ Press_Releases/2009_Press_Release/ E xamplesModelBoardPolic yand LegitimateMeetings.pdf. If you’re a corporate meeting professional or serve the corporate market – take note below. You’ll find a model policy for the approval of meetings, events and recognition travel. These were developed by MPI, US Travel Association, AH&LA, DMAI, IAEE, NBTA, PCMA and SITE and specifically address the meetings, events and incentive travel industries. These offer clear, workable guidelines designed to ensure responsible business travel practices for companies whether they received emergency government lending or not. I urge you to use them to create a business case for managing meetings and events during and beyond this economic crisis. Model Board Policy for Approval of Meetings, Events and Incentive/ Recognition Travel • General policy statement: The CEO shall be responsible for implementing adequate controls to assure that meetings, events and incentive/ recognition travel organized by the company serve legitimate business purposes and are cost-justified. • All proposed meetings, events and incentive/recognition travel organized by the company must serve one or more specified legitimate business purposes. Each proposed meeting, event or incentive/recognition travel with a cost exceeding $75,000 must be supported by a written business case identifying a specific business purpose. • Total annual expenses for meetings, events and incentive/recognition travel shall not exceed 15 percent of the company’s total sales and marketing spend. 28 | MPINCCperspective | VOL. 27, NO. 5

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of MPI Perspective - April 2009

MPI Perspective - April 2009
President's Message
Positive Charge
Facebook: Mixing Business with Pleasure
The Socialbees Guide to Saving Face on Facebook The Dos and Don'ts That Can Make or Break Your Image Online
The 21st Annual MPINCC Trade Show
Connecting with - Ms. Lindsey Roberts
Student Affairs Committee Sets Up Scholarship Fund
Member Pearls
Chapter Chatter
Sponsor Spotlight
Planners and Suppliers Unite!
Index to Advertisers

MPI Perspective - April 2009