Wednesday, April 28, 2010

The Value of Meetings

Meeting “different” has been the theme for the past couple of years. Meeting professionals have always known the meeting in person is a far more effective networking tool than meeting electronically. When meeting and conference evaluations are compiled, often the highest rated component of a meeting is the networking opportunities. Now we can quantify the value.

Oxford Economics USA recently completed a study for the U.S. Travel Association. The focus of the study was to determine the return on investment for business travel when workers travel for meetings, conventions, training, or as an incentive. Studies show that businesses spent over $200 billion dollars in 2008. The findings for this study show that for every dollar invested in business related travel, $12.50 in incremental revenue and $3.80 in new profits is realized. Check out the U.S. Travel Association website for more information.

In other news, legislation was introduced in Congress this February by Representative Sam Farr (D-California) called The TRIP Act (Travel Regional Investment Partnership). This legislation creates a matching grant program in the U.S. Department of Commerce that will promote domestic tourism through local and regional partnerships between convention and visitor’s bureaus and other community tourism entities. Hopefully this will be an incentive to get tourism back on track in the future.

Those of us in the meeting industry are eager to see a return in business travel and especially the return of business meetings and events. Hopefully studies like the one done for the U.S. Travel Association and legislation offering incentives for travel will help.

- Linda Begbie, Meeting Planner • RDL enterprises