Meeting Mentor Magazine

December 2018

Initiative for Action

CIC’s Advocacy Hub Aims to Harness
Meeting Industry’s Collective Power

Hundreds of meeting professionals already have signed onto the Convention Industry Council’s new Meeting Industry’s Advocacy Hub since its introduction in June at the CMP Conclave in Spokane, followed by more promotion at the Americas Incentive, Business Travel & Meetings Exhibition in Orlando. Advocacy consultancy Voices in Advocacy is CIC’s partner in this venture.

Barely a month later, Rep. Michael Fitzpatrick (Pa.) introduced HR 2643 “Stay in Place, Cut the Waste Act of 2013.” The bill aims to cut federal agency travel expenses by up to 50 percent beginning in 2017 through the use of videoconferencing — “a largely untapped means of saving taxpayer dollars” — and further impede government participation in worthwhile face-to-face meetings. And as July closed, the House passed HR 313, the “Government Spending Accountability Act of 2013,” which mandates cuts in federal agencies’ travel expenses by 70 percent of their 2010 levels, starting in 2014 for five years. It also caps spending on a single conference at $500,000 and limits the number of U.S.-based employees who can attend an international conference to 50.

However, new research from U.S. Travel Association and Rockport Analytics makes a strong case for the efficiency, productivity and economic value of government meetings and travel:

• Spending on government meetings and conference operations was significantly lower than that of the private sector — $173 per delegate per day on average compared to $339 for the private sector.

• Three-quarters of private sector executives surveyed said that meetings and conferences where government employees are present add value to their firm through knowledge transfer.

• According to government respondents, meetings and conferences add value to employee development and training (85%); knowledge transfer and bridging information gaps (71%); and strategic planning (51%).

The Advocacy Hub is the ideal vehicle for disseminating such data, since CIC’s goal is to build a strong grassroots initiative comprised of passionate advocates who will protect and defend the meetings industry and effect change, said Karen Kotowski, CAE, CMP, CIC’s CEO.

“I have signed up because I feel that the value of what our industry and community does is vastly understated and not very well understood,” said Kent Allaway, CEM, CMP, vice president, meetings and trade shows, PMA, and immediate past chair, Professional Convention Management Association. “I have a lot of respect for both Karen and Roger (Rickard at Voices in Advocacy) and hope that this will take the work that has already been done by several associations to the next level to make our voice heard and value known.”

Through the online hub, CIC will educate advocates about key issues affecting the industry, engage them with tools and tips, and provide opportunities for them to act when needed. This will be done through industry action alerts, legislative and media alerts, industry position statements, and unified meetings industry messaging and talking points. “Our advocacy cause is not a sprint…it is a marathon,” Kotowski noted. “We as an industry need to work together for the future and growth of face-to-face meetings and events.”

Sign on at cic.advocacyhub.info. — Maxine Golding


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