The Victorian Government’s plan to dedicate the week of AIME in Melbourne this year to meetings is testament to bodies around the world beginning to embrace the meetings and events sector as a legitimate revenue earner to all and most economies globally.
While the week will probably earn few column inches in national papers it remains a positive for an industry which according to one report at least generates $350 billion in global spend.
The report, mentioned in this month’s article by Elizabeth Rich (page 21) is, according to some, conservative.
And, when you take into account how much value many hotels place on the business event sector it’s not hard to see why.
A chat with the Accor head office, for example, points to the group receiving up to 30 per cent of its revenue in its “meetings-focused” hotels. And these are just city-based properties.
Many small boutique regional centres place as much if not more importance on the value of their meetings and events business than any other sector. Sure they might be on expedia or tripadvisor or wotif or hotels.com in an effort to attract the weekenders and the overnight markets, but give them a mid-week conference that fills up their room inventory and has their chefs and banquet staff preparing breakfasts, lunches, dinners and everything in-between, and you have a very happy owner.
Not to mention the local community which can also clearly benefit from small, medium and large groups hitting their slice of paradise for a short time.
And so next time you’re at a party or social gathering and somebody asks you what industry you work in remember to tell them that you are part of one of the biggest in the world. The US Travel Association estimates (via a PWC study) that the meetings business in the U.S. is bigger than the car industry. And that can’t be a bad thing.