Did you know there’s a Facebook group for the Meetings Mean Business campaign of the U.S. Travel Association?
This seems like a great call to arms for the travel-and-tourism industry around a topic that’s hitting close to home for so many. It gives some grass-roots legs to the MeetingsMeanBusiness.com site, which is more about stats and facts.
Through this group, I just found out the USTA announced a Faces of Travel contest to find a spokesperson for Meetings Mean Business.
We here at HotelNewsNow.com are here to help, too.
Today, you’ll see an article about marketing meetings to locals. Learn from your peers about how to find business when business is difficult to find.
You’ll also recall our columnist John Fareed wrote “We’ll meet again.” John is a respected marketing expert. He advises hotel operators to keep up the sales and marketing efforts during this crazy time. Even HSMAI president Bob Gilbert commented on John’s column, saying, “Marketers must be persistent in their efforts to find the business that’s still meeting—in spite of all the negative publicity.”
Our parent company, STR, is on the front line working with the USTA to capture and track the volume of meetings business that has been cancelled. In this week’s NY Times article, “Conference Industry Fights Wave of Cancellations,” the figure used by the USTA was US$220 million of room revenue lost in January and February as a result of cancelled events. This number will be updated as March reports start coming in—and you can be sure we’ll be sharing that information with you as it’s available.
And while you’re all working hard to find new meetings business, you might be surprised to learn about who’s supporting meetings. For example, Ben Stein used his regular column space in the New York Times for “Don’t Blame the Business Trip,” which advocates meetings as a relevant and productive means of doing business. The staunch Republican argues that most meetings aren’t trips to the spa, but rather long days filled with real work. (And don’t we know it!)
“It would be harsh in the extreme to kick the hospitality industry when it’s down by frowning on business meetings, thereby making hotels lay off cooks and waiters and maids,” Stein said.
And for a guy who writes a column directed toward business leaders, could you get a better cheerleader?