A Golden Opportunity for the Industry

Events

Global Meetings Industry Day has only begun to tap its potential

Global Meetings Industry Day has blossomed in the past 22 years from a regional event in Canada to a vast worldwide celebration. The number of participants and programs offered by GMID keeps growing every year, but the event has only begun to tap its potential impact.

“We’ve come a long way in just a few years, and constantly look for opportunities to grow participation in GMID and awareness of the industry’s value,” says Paul Van Deventer, president and CEO of Meeting Professionals International and co-chair of Meetings Mean Business Coalition. “For example, in 2019, we look forward to engaging more participants outside of the industry, including elected officials and business leaders who can champion the role of face to face and serve as important facilitators.”

GMID’s mission is to highlight the value of face-to-face meetings and events, and the work that industry professionals do to ensure that meetings and events deliver positive business results, build stronger communities and help people throughout the world to establish connections.

This year, GMID was celebrated on April 12 during 206 events in 41 countries, by 50 organizations. The hashtag #GMID18 generated more than 54 million internet impressions and 8,743 tweets.

A Variety of Celebrations

Celebrations varied widely—they included rallies, press conferences, speaker panels, educational events and awards presentations.

“One of the best parts of GMID is the flexibility it affords event hosts to tailor events to their specific needs, locations and audiences,” says Julie Coker Graham, president and CEO of Philadelphia Convention & Visitors Bureau, as well as co-chair of Meetings Mean Business. “The aim of every GMID event should be to celebrate the hard work of meeting professionals, inspire attendees to become stronger meetings advocates and educate stakeholders about the value of face to face. But how each organization gets there is slightly different.”

Van Deventer says that some celebrations have been very imaginative.

“Organizations are being bold and creative through their events, whether they involve hosting a rally on the steps of the Dallas City Hall, organizing a networking event with government officials in Japan or turning New York City blue by illuminating city landmarks such as the Empire State Building and One World Trade Center,” he says.

The Las Vegas event, which I attended this year, attracted some 200 meeting professionals to The Venetian Las Vegas, where they heard industry leaders briefly speak on selected topics.

  • Chandra Allison, senior vice president of sales for Sands Corporation—innovation and entertainment
  • Brian Burton, president and CEO of Three Square Food Bank and Edyta Jankowski, vice president of sales for Opportunity Village—the impact of meetings for local nonprofit organizations
  • Mike Dominguez, senior vice president and chief sales officer at MGM Resorts International—health and wellness
  • Erik Hansen, director of energy procurement for Wynn Las Vegas—green initiatives and solar projects
  • Lisa Messina, vice president of sales for Caesars Entertainment—corporate social responsibility
  • Mamie Peers, vice president of digital marketing for The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas—technology

Following the presentations, attendees were invited to view an interactive exhibit of significant recent developments at major Las Vegas properties.

GMID’s Unlimited Potential

It was a wonderful event, but just as with the GMID gathering in Atlantic City, New Jersey, that I attended in April 2017—which was a panel discussion involving some top industry leaders—I left feeling that it has the potential to be even more compelling.

Meetings Mean Business has done considerable research showing how business meetings, conferences, conventions, incentive travel, trade shows and exhibitions boost communities. GMID is a golden opportunity to more fully emphasize these findings and the importance of the meetings industry.

The possibilities are virtually limitless—more in-depth presentations by speakers, interactive sessions with attendees, workshops and role-playing exercises are just a few of the options. And, as Van Deventer suggests, engaging more participants outside of the meeting industry is critical. GMID celebrations could more fully expand the awareness of those within the industry, and better illuminate for others the importance of meetings in general, as well as the significance of planners and other key personnel.

This isn’t to say that GMID hasn’t been extremely successful in accomplishing its very ambitious mission.

“Global Meetings Industry Day has accomplished a lot since its inception,” Van Deventer says. “It galvanizes grassroots advocates across the globe, fosters increased collaboration and engagement with industry organizations, engages local officials and the media, and serves as a platform to promote the industry’s value with important stakeholders.”