January 2017

Meetings Mean Business Reveals Plans

Richard Harper and Paul Van Deventer, MMBC


The Meetings Mean Business Coalition (MMBC) summarized its 2016 activities and 2017 initiatives at PCMA’s Convening Leaders, held at the Austin Convention Center from Jan. 8-11.

Key successes in 2016 included a “Worth” advertising campaign that ran during the Democratic and Republican National Conventions, and the final presidential debate in Las Vegas.

Although Richard Harper, executive vice president at HelmsBriscoe and co-chair of Meetings Mean Business, said it is hard to quantify the success of the campaign, “there’s been little to zero negative [coverage] of the meetings industry in the last year, so we must be doing something right.”

Other 2016 successes included the first Global Meetings Industry Day, with efforts in 30 countries, and the creation of a Meeting Planner Task Force that seeks to get planners more involved with MMBC.

MMBC now counts 60 partners in its fold, with plans to grow that number aggressively in the 2017.

Also in store for 2017, MMBC has created a licensing agreement so other countries can join the effort. According to the coalition, about a half a dozen countries have so far expressed interest, with three firmly involved in creating their own MMBC effort. Another priority in 2017 will be to further communicate the ROI various meetings segments bring to communities. Harper said MMBC’s board meeting at Convening Leaders was packed with participants, which bodes well for industry participation in the new year.

Addressing the health of the industry, Paul Van Deventer, president and CEO of MPI and co-chair of Meetings Mean Business, said that forecasts are still positive, but are not as optimistic as those from a couple years ago.

“There’s still a positive outlook, but it’s come down a bit,” Van Deventer said.

In other Convening Leaders news, PCMA released the 2016 Impact Report from the PCMA Education Foundation, which directed $409,000 back into meetings and conventions industry support such as scholarships for students, other educational programs and charity efforts.

A highlight of the Convening Leaders opening general session was a surprise visit by actor and Austin native Matthew McConaughey, who extolled the virtues and core values of his hometown.

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