With the launch of the first North American Meetings Industry Day (NAMID) in April, the Meeting Mean Business Coalition united leaders across the meetings and events industry to reveal what's behind the curtain, to show the real impact meetings and events have on businesses, economies, and communities.
NYC & Company took the calling to share this message by enlisting the voices of people throughout New York City whose businesses and livelihoods are supported by meetings and events. Their video, "Make it Face to Face, Make it NYC," which captures these unique testimonies, has received over 11,423 views on Facebook and 578 views on YouTube. NYC & Company's official Meetings Mean Business hashtag #MMBNYC and video received more than 50 tweets during the day. With such numbers after the innaugural celebration of the impact of meetings and events, Jerry Cito, Senior Vice President, Convention Development of NYC & Company, joins us to answer a few questions and impressions from the DMO's activities to broadcast the Meetings Mean Business message.
The year's North American Meetings Industry Day was the first of its kind to rally multiple meetings stakeholders - even across international borders - to showcase the size and impact of the meetings industry. Can you describe why this effort was important for NYC & Company to support?
As a leading meetings destination and proud member of the Meetings Mean Business Coalition, it is important for NYC & Company to recognize the meetings industry year-round, and especially on North American Meetings Industry Day. Meetings and conventions brought in an estimated 6.1 million delegates last year to New York City, who spent approximately $5.3 billion, an important economic driver for the City’s tourism industry. A larger number of our nearly 2,000 member business benefit directly from MICE travel, so it is important for us to support the meetings industry on their behalf.
When considering travel and New York City, one doesn't automatically factor meetings as a large contributor. Is that perception changing?
NYC & Company and our member businesses strongly feel that New York City is the ideal place for a meeting, convention or incentive trip, and our growing numbers show that more and more people agree. We feel that more people are realizing that what makes New York City such a well-known leisure destination – our hotels, attractions, shopping, museums, dining, theaters and more – are great reasons to bring a meeting or convention to the city, as they are an added draw for meeting and convention attendees, and can inspire great meeting content. The opportunity to extend a trip or have “Only-in-NYC” meetings experiences, all while meeting with business people of all nationalities in the nation’s leading destination for overseas visitation, make New York City’s five boroughs one of the best places to do business in the world.
What are the ways that you and your team at NYC & Company communicated the impact of the meetings industry on New York City for NAMID? Can you describe the arsenal of tools you use to determine impact and how you make sure that's understood by your community and local officials?
In celebration of NAMID, NYC & Company created a “Make it Face-To-Face, Make it NYC” video, highlighting the importance of meetings. In the video, delegates and exhibitors explain why they choose to do business face-to-face, and why New York City is the best place to do so. We successfully shared the video via NYC & Company’s social media channels and engaged with New York City businesses using the hashtag #MMBNYC, to spread the message citywide. And, in Times Square, the Meetings Mean Business and NAMID logos were displayed throughout the day on a Clear Channel billboard. “Make it Face-to-Face, Make it NYC” can be found on NYC & Company’s official YouTube channel, www.youtube.com/nycvisit.
Are there any lessons learned from this first industry rally day? What would you recommend your fellow DMO sales leaders to do to join you next year?
We believe that connecting with local businesses and highlighting the importance of meetings in New York City is critical, and it was extremely encouraging to see the level of engagement we received on NAMID. In the future, it would be wonderful to see the conversation continue to grow even larger, nationwide.
Thinking more broadly about a DMO sales professional's role, advocacy (or community and stakeholder relations) isn't often cited under the job description of a DMO sales professional. Do you think that is changing and if so, in what way?
In any line of business, communicating the importance of your work and engaging with relevant stakeholders is imperative. Being an advocate for your industry within your network and community benefits the industry tremendously. Including your partners in the meeting and sales process leads to a cohesive relationship between businesses and the community. NAMID assisted with this effort in allowing this segment to communicate together on what the industry means locally and nationally.
Thanks to Jerry for sharing how DMOs can continue to share the impact of meetings and events to businesses, economies, and communities alike. You can see NYC & Company's video here: