Hotel, travel groups highlight importance of business travel

The U.S. travel industry—and meetings professionals around the world—celebrated Global Meetings Industry Day, the annual international day of advocacy showcasing the value business meetings, trade shows, incentive travel, exhibitions, conferences and conventions bring to people, businesses and the economy on March 30. The day emphasized that face-to-face meetings and business travel creates measurable benefits for companies and organizations—from increased revenue to lasting and effective professional relationships.

“Business leaders know the most persuasive communication doesn’t happen through a screen—it happens when you meet face to face,” U.S. Travel Association President and CEO Geoff Freeman said in a statement. “Even in a tight economy, face-to-face meetings matter for businesses and workers.”

A 2021 Oxford Economics study featuring statistical modeling over 26 years and 14 industries determined that for every dollar invested in business travel, U.S. companies experienced a $5.90 return in terms of revenue.

According to a survey from J.D. Power and Tourism Economics, 81 percent of executives view business travel as essential to company operations—with good reason. A study reported in the Harvard Business Review found that face-to-face requests are 34 times more effective than emailed ones.

Downstream Impact on U.S. Economic Sectors, Jobs

Professional meetings and events fuel economic growth and local job creation as well. In 2022, there was nearly $100 billion in meeting and events-related travel spending—representing 38 percent of all business travel expenditures. That spending supported 600,000 American jobs.

“Professional meetings are critical to the success of other industries like manufacturing, education and healthcare, bringing together decision makers across the public and private sectors,” Freeman said. “When you think about it, there is practically no industry sector that doesn’t rely on professional travel to advance its business or goals.”

The federal government has a significant role to play in jumpstarting these business travel activities and should be encouraged to return to the office and get back on the road.

“The federal workforce can provide incredible value to meetings and events while simultaneously setting the tone for private sector companies looking to return to the road,” Freeman said.

Organizations around the U.S. travel industry celebrated the power of meetings:

  • Hilton invited organizations to share their meeting success story for its “The Meeting that Meant Everything” contest.
  • PCMA New England partnered with MPI New England to celebrate Global Meetings Industry Day 2023 in Greater Boston with an educational presentation and networking opportunities.
  • Meeting Professionals International hosted a 12-hour broadcast featuring industry leaders sharing insights and experiences on the impact of meetings on the global economy.
  • Visit Orlando filmed a video message in downtown Orlando on the power of meetings and events.
  • New Orleans & Company hosted an interactive panel on the power of meetings.

GMID is powered by the U.S. Travel Association’s Meetings Mean Business Coalition, co-chaired by Martha Sheridan, Meet Boston President and CEO, and Stephanie Glanzer, MGM Resorts International senior vice president and chief sales officer.