To the Point

Spreading the Word

Making our voices heard on the power of face-to-face events.

In an unprecedented display of unity, meetings and events leaders from around the globe will come together next month to showcase the real impact that face-to-face meetings have

on people, business, and communities. Global Meetings Industry Day (GMID) — April 14, 2016 — marks an expansion of North American Meetings Industry Day, which was launched last year by the Meetings Mean Business Coalition (MMBC). 

I’m so looking forward to this year’s event — or events, I should say, which last year included more than 80 advocacy sessions, rallies, proclamations, and press conferences. This year, events are already scheduled in destinations as far away as Kenya, Colombia, Belgium, Sweden, and Croatia, and many more are in the works. Both in North America and around the globe, these events are being spearheaded by different meetings industry organizations, DMOs, and individual associations. 

When it comes to promoting the value of meetings and events, our voices are much louder when we speak together. I hope as many people as possible make the effort to participate in local events and/or help create a buzz on social media on April 14. You can find more information at And if you’re looking for new data on the value of meetings, take a look at the results of MMBC’s recent survey of C-suite executives ( Among the findings: Eighty-six percent of executives believe that face-to-face meetings help improve the bottom line, and 97 percent say they deliver a return on investment.

Although our industry has rebounded from the intense scrutiny of a few years back, we must keep pushing to champion the impact of meetings to the whole wide world — and within our own organizations. The open-ended responses to Convene’s annual Meetings Market Survey indicate that meeting professionals still feel challenged to prove their worth internally. Although attendance and exhibitor numbers have increased over the last several years, meeting budgets remain fairly flat and planners say they lack the funds to take their events to the next level.

We also have to be cognizant of the state of the global economy. While the U.S. economy seems to be in good shape, Americans are much more dependent on global markets than ever before. And that goes for many meetings that are seeking to expand their attendee base with internationals, whose own economies may prevent them from traveling to their events.

The work our industry does now to promote the value of face-to-face meetings will help that much more as new challenges appear on the horizon. We must keep reinforcing our footing, discovering new toeholds, and spreading the word every chance we get about the incredible impact face-to-face meetings have on people, business, and communities.

Deborah Sexton

Deborah Sexton is president and CEO of PCMA.