GMID19 Demonstrates the Power of Meetings and Events

April 8, 2019

On Thursday, April 4, meeting professionals around the world came together to celebrate our great industry on Global Meetings Industry Day. More than 230 GMID events spanning 42 countries were held on this international day of advocacy.

Research from Oxford Economics affirms that face-to-face meetings across 180 countries contributed $1.5 trillion of GDP in 2017. The research also shows that meetings support 25.9 million jobs worldwide.

I had a great time at the Bay Area GMID networking event, catching up with old friends and making some new ones. Here is a quick recap from #GMIDSF and three other U.S. cities’ #GMID events:

San Francisco

Co-hosted by Giants Enterprises, San Francisco Travel and Hilton San Francisco Union Square, the Bay Area GMID event (GMIDSF) was supported by 11 participating industry associations. The event, held at Hilton San Francisco Union Square, was designed to reflect some of the Bay Area’s many neighborhoods.

Food stations ranged from fresh tuna and salmon poke to pizza (Italian), dim sum and duck (Chinatown), while the more adventurous could try pressed peanut butter and jelly paninis, tapioca chips and alcoholic popsicles. The impressive platter of salumi and cheeses and doughnut wall were also hard to pass by.

GMID SF Chinatown  GMIDSF doughnut wall

Selfie backdrops and stations were scattered throughout the ballroom. Face artists affixed plastic jewels, a plate spinner brought to mind planners’ ability to keep everything moving seamlessly, and a contortionist showed that flexibility is key to success.

cheeseA number of organizations and hotels offered raffle prizes. I bought $50 worth of raffle tickets and was lucky enough to win the prize from Visit Oakland — a stay at the Claremont Club & Spa and two tickets to the Oakland Zoo — perfect for a staycation!

While the event was primarily focused on networking, there were also a few brief presentations.

Tom David, executive vice president and chief sales officer for San Francisco Travel, underscoring the value of meetings, said that the Bay Area hosts an average of just under 4,000 meetings per year, with a combined spend impact of $1.75 billion.

Danny Hughes, Hilton Americas president, talked about the hotel chain’s mission to change the world in a small way through travel. The concept of “Think globally, act locally” — along with the need to continuously earn the support and trust of customers — is something he says has not changed over Hilton’s 100-year history.

Net proceeds from GMID 2019 will be shared between two beneficiary organizations — one global and one local. ECPAT-USA is the leading anti-trafficking policy organization in the United States, and for the Bay Area, the St. Anthony Foundation is a privately-funded organization that supports homeless and needy individuals within the Bay Area. GMID 2019’s gift will support the foundation’s purchase of much-needed capital equipment.

GMIDSF group shot. Photo Credit - Orange Photography


The annual GMID Industry Xchange brought together nine local industry associations and hundreds of hospitality professionals. Carol McGury, executive vice president of event and education services at SmithBucklin, was master of ceremonies.

The event featured presentations including “Crisis Communications in the Age of Social Media,” by Little Bird Told Media’s Alex Plaxen; “Human Trafficking in Our Backyard: A Conversation,” by Sandy Biback; and a moderated discussion on the economic impact of meetings and events.

Chicago GMID
Dianne Budion Devitt (The DND Group), Carol McGury (SmithBucklin), Tony Lorenz (PRA) and Alex Plaxen (Little Bird Told Media) take a break at the Industry Xchange in Chicago as part of GMID19 - photo credit, SmithBucklin

Las Vegas

Las Vegas meeting professionals believe that GMID should stand for “Global Meetings IMPACT Day.” This shift in verbiage is intended to amplify the mission and purpose of GMID and the Las Vegas event: educating the public about the wide-reaching positive impact face-to-face meetings have on global economies and driving business forward.

CEN’s sister publication, TSNN, recently recognized Las Vegas as the No. 1 trade show destination in the country — for the 25th consecutive year.

Las Vegas GMID 2019
Jeremy Aguero of Applied Analysis presenting on how the meetings industry can capitalize on sports and major events to increase attendee engagement and participation, at Las Vegas GMID19. Photo credit: LVCVA

New York

Meanwhile, NYC & Company, New York City’s official destination marketing organization and convention and visitors bureau, worked to once again light up New York in blue (the signature color of Meetings Mean Business, the founder of GMID) in honor of GMID.  

Participating buildings included Javits Center’s glass-enclosed 15-story Crystal Palace; the Empire State Building; the spires of One Bryant Park and 151 West 42nd St; One World Trade Center; and Pier 17. New to the lineup this year was Brooklyn’s Coney Island Parachute Jump.

NYC & Company also hosted its annual Tristate Meeting Planner Event, which brought together 250 planners from across the region for an evening of networking.

Pier 17
New York's Pier 17 lights up blue for GMID19. Photo credit: Pier 17 New York .


Special thanks to MPINCC for helping to facilitate my participation at #GMIDSF and this article. 

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