GMID 2023 Champions the Power of the Business Events Industry With Record Engagement
On March 30, the industry came together with record-breaking participation to celebrate Global Meetings Industry Day (GMID), an international day of advocacy that showcases the undeniable value that business meetings, trade shows, incentive travel, exhibitions, conferences and conventions bring to people, businesses and communities.
This year’s activation carried the theme #MeetingsMatter and created 45 million impressions worldwide on social media, with 70 events held in 35 countries.
GMID 2023 spotlighted the importance of in-person gatherings to create measurable benefits by advancing understanding in critical fields and strengthening connections between people.
“Business leaders know the most persuasive communication doesn’t happen through a screen — it happens when you meet face to face,” said Geoff Freeman, president and CEO of the U.S. Travel Association, which powers GMID through its Meetings Mean Business Coalition. “Even in a tight economy, face-to-face meetings matter for businesses and workers.”
A 2021 Oxford Economics study featuring statistical modelling 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, Freeman added.
Meanwhile, according to a survey from J.D. Power and Tourism Economics, 81% of executives view business travel as essential to company operations, and a study reported in the Harvard Business Review found that face-to-face requests are 34 times more effective than emailed ones.
Professional meetings and events fuel economic growth and local job creation as well, according to U.S. Travel. 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.”
Following are some of the many ways industry associations and destinations celebrated GMID 2023.
Meeting Professionals International
Meeting Professionals International (MPI), which marks its 50th anniversary this year, hosted a 12-hour broadcast featuring industry leaders sharing insights and experiences on the impact of meetings on the global economy.
A State of the Industry session featured panelists including Paul VanDeventer, CEO of MPI; Julie Coker, president and CEO of the San Diego Tourism Authority; Chris Meyer, CEO of George P Johnson, Michelle Allgauer, senior vice president of Financial Services Institute; and Robert Weddepohl, group venue director, Stage Entertainment B.V.
Meanwhile, several entities held intriguing sessions, including
- IMEX: Human Nature and Its Impact on the Global Meetings Industry and the World
- CEIR: B2B Exhibitions Top Trends
- Cvent: Two Truths and a Lie: Lessons from 17 Years in Meetings and Events
- SITE: The Future of Incentive Travel
- IAEE: Industry Advocacy in Washington, D.C.
- Hilton: Workforce Development and Emerging Professionals
- Webex Events: Creating Experiences on Tighter Budgets With Higher Attendee Expectations
- Sports ETA: A Sneak Peek Into the High-Flying Sports Events and Tourism Industry
Professional Convention Management Association
Several chapters of the Professional Convention Management Association (PCMA) joined meetings and events industry professionals from around the world for GMID 2023. Chapters held keynotes, panel discussions, legislative sessions and other events.
In addition to chapter events, Sherrif Karamat, president and CEO of PCMA, was joined by Lauren Parr, senior vice president, meetings and learning, American Geophysical Union; and Ryan E. Tucker, deputy executive director, Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, for an interactive panel discussion moderated by Stephanie Turner, senior vice president of convention sales and strategies for New Orleans & Company, and Tim Hemphill, vice president of sales, marketing and events for the New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center.
Meeting and convention industry leaders in Las Vegas united to celebrate GMID 2023 by serving local charitable organizations, signifying the positive impact meetings have on the community.
“Our local tourism industry is only as strong as our community,” said Lisa Messina, chief sales officer of the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA). “[GMID] is our opportunity to thank our trade show, meeting and convention customers for choosing Las Vegas.”
Las Vegas has been named the No. 1 trade show destination in North America for 26 consecutive years, according to Trade Show News Network (TSNN), the world's leading resource for the trade show and event industry. The destination’s combined 15 million square feet of meeting and event space is more than any destination in North America. Many trade shows choose Las Vegas because of its commitment to community engagement and sustainability.
To celebrate GMID, the LVCVA coordinated a unified effort for local resort sales teams and Las Vegas meeting and convention customers to give back to a variety of local charities.
- Caesars Entertainment employees assembled 2,000 hygiene kits for Communities in Schools.
- Wynn Las Vegas employees served meals to more than 250 people at Catholic Charities, and joined Virgin Las Vegas employees and area meeting and convention customers to fill 1,296 backpacks at Three Square for food-insecure Clark County School District students.
- MGM Resorts International, Station Casinos, Fontainebleau Las Vegas and Resorts World Las Vegas employees assembled more than 5,000 hygiene kits for Catholic Charities.
- Team Members at The Venetian Resort Las Vegas organized more than 1,000 meals for HERO School, City Impact Las Vegas, Las Vegas Rescue Mission, and New Day Adult Care.
"As a company that understands the power of face-to-face interactions, the GMID theme of Meetings Matter resonates deeply with us at MGM Resorts,” said Stephanie Glanzer, senior vice president and chief sales officer for MGM Resorts and co-chair of U.S. Travel’s Meetings Mean Business Coalition. “We are proud to join forces with our industry colleagues this year to showcase the positive impact we make within our communities as it relates to sustainability and community engagement.”
Since its inception, GMID has always been about making a difference and supporting communities which is also a core tenet for Caesars Entertainment, according to Kelly Gleeson Smith, vice president of sales at Caesars Entertainment.
“Our team volunteered more than 55,000 hours last year within their local communities. We are incredibly proud of our team and industry colleagues for getting involved this GMID by making an impact in their community as well as spreading the message that Meetings Matter,” Gleeson Smith said.
Las Vegas hosted nearly 5 million convention attendees in 2022, and with a robust schedule of meetings, trade shows and events is looking forward to an even stronger 2023. During a normal year, spending by visitors attending conventions directly supports 43,000 jobs in Las Vegas and results in a direct economic impact of $6.6 billion.
“Meetings matter. Not just because of the jobs they create and the impact on the economy, but because of their influence in our communities,” said Tony Yousfi, chief sales officer of The Venetian Resort Las Vegas. “Our groups continue to want to make a difference here — whether through food donations, hygiene kit builds or partnering with a local nonprofit to organize a day for their attendees to get involved in other ways.”
The meetings and conventions industry is ever-changing, making Las Vegas one of the most sought-after trade show destinations in the country” according to Chris Flatt, executive vice president of hotel sales at Wynn Las Vegas.
“As a leader in this field, it’s our duty to reinforce our dedication to improving our local community," Flatt said.
The Orlando community, joined by Visit Orlando, Orange County Convention Center (OCCC) and destination partners, celebrated the indelible impact of meetings and events on the local economy with several activities on GMID 2023.
Continually ranked as the top meetings destination by Cvent, visitor spending from Orlando’s meeting industry, which includes city-wide and in-house events, can contribute approximately $4 billion to the destination. In destination’s meeting and convention market is off to a strong start as group segment hotel bookings for the first quarter of 2023 are 41% ahead of the first quarter of 2022, and major shows have taken place at the Orange County Convention Center, including PGA’s Merchandise Show 2023, The NAFEM Show 2023, Sunshine Classic 2023 and MegaCon 2023.
Orlando activities throughout GMID 2023 included:
- Orlando destination partners participated in a new #OrlandoIsMeeting social media campaign to celebrate the importance of meetings and events to Orlando, featuring messages from Visit Orlando President and CEO Casandra Matej, and OCCC Director Mark Tester.
- Matej joined Amanda Armstrong, senior vice president of Encore, for a GMID panel discussion during MPI’s 12-hour virtual broadcast.
- Visit Orlando’s Chief Sales Officer Mike Waterman participated in a pre-event webinar, during which participants shared their efforts to amplify the value of the crucial industry segment.
“As a top meetings destination in the country, our community benefits tremendously from the events held within our destination as they help drive our local economy and support the thousands of jobs in the hospitality sector,” Matej said. “Global Meetings Industry Day gives us the opportunity to celebrate this vital part of our business and show meetings truly matter.”
The destination continues to expand and evolve to offer new options for groups to consider for their next event. In 2023, Orlando will welcome several brand-new hotels, including the Conrad Orlando, which is part of the expansive Evermore Orlando Resort, and increased accessibility for business travelers with the addition of high-speed Brightline rail connecting Miami to Orlando.
This year, the Orange County Convention Center will celebrate 40 years of leadership in the meetings business. Overall, this fiscal year, from October 2022 to September 2023, the center is projected to welcome 159 events, with more than 1.5 million attendees and a total economic impact of $2.8 billion to the region.
“The Orange County Convention Center was excited to celebrate Global Meetings Industry Day, as this is a valuable opportunity to showcase the impact that face-to-face conventions, trade shows and meetings have on our economy, according to OCCC Executive Director Mark Tester.
“GMID brings our stakeholders, industry partners and advocates together to reconnect and exchange best practices,” Tester said.
Philadelphia celebrated GMID 2023 with educational programs and networking at the Pennsylvania Convention Center, spearheaded by Greater Philadelphia chapter of PCMA. With more than 150 attendees, it was the largest Global Meetings Industry Day event in Philadelphia since U.S. Travel created the annual industry day of recognition in 2016.
Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney was on hand to tout the immense value of meetings in the city. In Philadelphia in 2022, meetings and events booked by the Philadelphia Convention and Visitors Bureau generated a total economic impact of $345 million, helping to support the region’s hospitality workforce of 171,600 employees.