Honorable Mention Chapter Award
Honorable Mention Chapter Award

Let’s meet there!

Oct 18, 2021, 10:50 AM by Blair Potter
Safety. Trust. Confidence. All those elements are driving successful face-to-face business meetings and events every day.

Our friends at the U.S. Travel Association—Roger Dow, Tori Emerson Barnes, Nan Marchand Beauvois and their entire team—deserve a huge thank you from the meeting and industry for launching the Let’s Meet There campaign.

The initiative has stirred a movement within our profession to shout what many of use firmly believe: It is safe to travel to/from and gather at business meetings and events.

The data behind the campaign are compelling. We know too well the impact the pandemic has had on our industry, our economy and our jobs. U.S. Travel reports the while corporate travel and professional meetings, conventions and events are expected to take as many as four years to fully recover to pre-pandemic levels, business meetings and events are helping drive the recovery now. As the industry has implemented health and safety protocols to prevent the spread of COVID-19, in-person business meetings and events pose a near-zero (0.001%) risk of transmission to attendees, even for large events, according to scientific modeling by the Exhibitions and Conferences Alliance and Epistemix.

“Safety. Trust. Confidence. All those elements are driving successful face-to-face business meetings and events every day.”

While virtual meetings allowed us to continue engaging at a certain level, there is no replacement for face-to-face, in-person meetings. Face to face is the gold standard. There are societal, psychological, emotional and business benefits that simply cannot be replicated virtually.

Meetings are “essential to building relationships, converting and retaining customers, networking and learning about the latest products, technologies and competitive offerings,” U.S. Travel said.

We have an opportunity to make an impactful statement on behalf of our industry. Go to IMEX America at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino next month in Las Vegas. The 10th edition of the signature gathering for meeting industry professionals returns for the first time since 2019.

“It’s going to be quite emotional for our whole team, to be honest, to see a whole industry just being built up again,” Carina Bauer, CEO of the IMEX Group, told me. “It’s just going to be quite momentous for us. Hearing that buzz on that first morning of bringing people together—ultimately, that’s what we do, and our whole team is going to be quite emotional.”

We have full coverage on IMEX America in this issue, including a preview of Smart Monday education powered by MPI and a profile on keynote speaker Dr. Shimi Kang.

All attendees must provide proof of full vaccination against COVID-19 to gain entry to the show and currently masks will be required in all indoor public spaces. Our next Meetings Outlook quarterly research, which will publish during IMEX America, will show that 92% of respondents say they are fully vaccinated, up from 84% in the previous quarter.

Safety. Trust. Confidence. All those elements are driving successful face-to-face business meetings and events every day across the U.S. and increasingly in Canada, Europe, Latin America and around the world.

Let’s meet there…now!

Watch MPItv videos in this edition, sponsored by the Greater Miami CVB, that accompany “Who We Are,” “A big moment” and “The importance of down time.” Listen to our MPI EVENTalks podcast—The true meaning, beauty and power of diversity—in which we celebrate Global Diversity Awareness Month with John Ehlenfeldt and Omark Holmes from Visit Huntington Beach, Surf City USA. The podcast is sponsored by Huntington Beach.

Until next time…

Rich Luna
Editor in Chief
rluna@mpiweb.org

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