Meeting News - June 22, 2009 - (Page 12)

Viewpoint Industry Should Hold Itself To A Higher Ethical Standard ECONOMIC CONDITIONS around the world are horrific. In the United States in particular, the meetings and hospitality industry is struggling to maintain some strength while all around us meetings are canceled or do not attain the attendance sought and expected. The fallout has meant that many people have lost or are losing their jobs and communities are suffering from the lack of tax revenues from hotels, casinos, restaurants and related businesses. Many are working to bring our industry back, and we all applaud them. What we are not doing well is addressing the ethical behavior of some who, in a down economy, stretch the limits of what have been questionable practices in our industry. Some things I’ve heard: 1. At an industry trade show, an exhibitor from a hotel was seen taking business cards from the fishbowl at another exhibitor’s booth. The exhibitor from whom the cards were taken did not confront the thief. Rather the act was reported to the sponsor, who contacted the thieving exhibitor and the person’s employer without any return calls or acknowledgement. 2. One hotelier told me that some third parties who work on commission [disclaimer: I am considered a consultant or third party and work on a fee-forservice basis] have called after contracts are signed and asked for an additional 10-plus percent “on the side.” The reason? With rates so low for short-term business, the planner didn’t feel it was enough for his or her efforts. 3. Expense accounts are being padded. Meals that are otherwise paid for, cabs that are not taken and other expenses are being submitted with faked receipts for reimbursement. 4. Fam (familiarization) trips are still offered (“We need to fill the seats”) and accepted (“One day I might use the property”). In a time when DMOs—destination management organizations, also known as convention and visitors bureaus—are cutting staff, isn’t it appropriate to more stringently qualify customers and for customers to be very careful about accepting? Those of us who belong to one or more of the industry organizations that make up the Convention 12 MeetingNews June 22, 2009 J u n e 2 2 , 2 0 0 9 Vo l u m e 3 3 , N u m b e r 9 Corporate/Sales Nella Veldran, Vice President, Travel Group Phone: (646) 654-7325 Southeast/Mid-Atlantic/Ohio By Joan Eisenstodt Eisenstodt Associates Larry Mischik, Ad Director/Account Manager 3054 Four Oaks Drive, Atlanta, GA 30360 Phone: (770) 604-9641 N.Y./N.J./New England/Bermuda/Caribbean Diane DiMaggio, International Advertising Director 770 Broadway, NY, NY 10003; Phone: (646) 654-7332 Florida/Cruise Industry Council have agreed, by virtue of our membership, to abide by a code of conduct or ethics. Of all the industry associations, only a few have methods in place to deal with those who do not abide by those codes. For those in the industry who hold the Certified Meeting Professional designation, the CIC refers any ethics violations back to the constituent member organization. It’s a vicious circle. The New York Times on May 29 published an excellent article headlined, “A Promise to Be Ethical in an Era of Immorality,” about Harvard MBAs who have pledged an oath to “create value responsibly and ethically”and are encouraging other MBAs to do the same. Where are we as individuals and as an industry? Would we be willing to take an oath and live up to it? Are we willing to talk with those whose behavior reflects badly on the individual’s reputation, on their employer’s and on our industry’s? Is it time to say,“Enough!” and demand ethical behavior? I’ve always spoken out about behavior I believed to be unethical. Being outspoken is scary—it makes one vulnerable to criticism. After attending a “Moral Courage” seminar this past spring, at which I participated with ethics officers from universities, not-forprofit and for-profit organizations, government and other consultants, I made a commitment to myself and the group to continue to speak out. Greed never pays. Think Enron, MCI and, even in our industry, the various CEOs of DMOs who have been convicted of unethical behavior. What say you? Join me in making a pledge, even if not written, to behave ethically and to discuss the issues more with others. We can improve our reputations, individually and collectively. r Arthur Hyman, Associate Publisher/Account Manager 1267 Via Fiume, Boynton Beach, FL 33436 Phone: (561) 736-5374 CA/HI/Colorado/Arizona/Nevada/NM Sharon Freeark, Account Manager 2950 31st St., Ste. 100, Santa Monica, CA 90405-3037 Phone: (626) 578-0700; Fax: (626) 578-0720 Digital Sales Jared Smith, National Account Manager 770 Broadway, NY, NY 10003; Phone: (646) 654-5520 International Diane DiMaggio, International Advertising Director 770 Broadway, NY, NY 10003; Phone: (646) 654-7332 Canada Cyndy Fleming, Publicitas APR 468 Queen St. E, Toronto, ON M5A 1T7 Phone: (416) 363-1388 Western office: Rosalind Genge, Publicitas APR 1281 W. Georgia St., 502, Vancouver, BC V6E 3J7 Phone: (604) 688-5914; Fax: (604) 689-0703 Mexico & Latin America Veronica Castro, CASS Media Corina No 31-B; Col. Del Carmen Coyoacan, Mexico, DF 04100 Phone: 52-55/5605-1757 Singapore Lavender Tan, Al Media 733 Bukit timah Road #03-05, Singapore 269748 Phone: (65) 6469-9321; Fax: (65)6469-8028 Malaysia, Thailand, Philippines Annie Blanchard & Assoc Unit 9A #8 Wack Wack Rd. Condo-minium, Wack Wack Rd., Greenhills E, Mandaluyong City 1550, Metro Manila, Philippines Phone: (632) 646-2497; Fax: (632) 647-1853 Korea Jung-Won Suh, Sinsegi Media Inc. 4-13, Yoick-dong, Kandungpo-gu, Seoul, Korea 150-890 Phone: +82 2 3275 5969; Fax: +82 2 785 8225 Japan Hiroko Kujime, Pacific Business, Inc. Matsuda Building, 2-4-6 Nihonbashi Kayabacho Chuo-ku, Tokyo 103-0025; Phone 81-3-3661-6138 Fax: 81-3-3661-6139; Taiwan Ye Chang & Paula Liu, Epoch Ltd 3F-4, 189 eelung Road, Section 2, Taipei 11054, Taiwan Phone: +886-223-779108, Spain Luis Andrade, Luis Andrade Publicidad Internacional Plaza Descubridor Diego de Ordas 1, Madrid, 28003, Spain Phone: +34-91-441-6266, Fax: +34-91-441-6549 Portugal What Is Your Industry View? Send comments, letters and opinion pieces of no more than 650 words to Paulo Andrade, Ilimitada Media International Av. Eng. Duarte Pacheco; Amoreiras Torre 2, Piso 5 Sala 1, Lisbon, 1070102, Portugal Phone: 351-21-385-3598/45; Fax: 351-21-388-3283,

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Meeting News - June 22, 2009

Meeting News - June 22, 2009
Collier County Insert
Meetings Spotlight
MeetingNews Research
Association Watch
Construction Cites
Meeting People
Event Profile
Travel Dashboard
Dateline: Bermuda
Dateline: New York
South Regional
Las Vegas Insert

Meeting News - June 22, 2009