I feel fortunate to be part of our vibrant, exciting industry that creates so many job opportunities for individuals at almost every level in such a wide variety of categories. I’m proud to be a part of it for many reasons – the opportunities we get to make a difference, the ROI we provide, the knowledgeable professionals that make up our hospitality community and the enthusiasm for the work that we do. I am also now proud to be a part of our efforts and gains around industry advocacy – in raising awareness and support for how meetings and events help drive the global economy, jobs and knowledge sharing.
Prior to 2009 and the US financial crisis, advocacy was not a word generally heard in connection with the meetings, events and incentive travel industry. When money seemed like it was flying everywhere but into our pockets or strengthening our businesses, when meetings were being cancelled and planners laid off, our first thoughts were not of advocacy but of survival. In an industry where sole proprietors, and companies of all sizes could do what they loved and earn a good living, the financial meltdown was an unpleasant, unexpected shock and a wakeup call of massive proportions.
The industry had suffered downturns before but this was different. The severity of the situation made us realize it was time for action and since then, the meetings industry has made some substantial progress.
The US Travel Association has served as a consistent voice for the value of business travel and meetings and its direct link to the future health and growth of the US and global economy.