As part of its yearlong Vote Travel campaign to educate policymakers, industry, and local communities about the value of travel—including meetings—to the economy, the U.S. Travel Association has just released a new Keep America Meeting tool kit for meeting professionals and venues.
Operating on the premise that the more elected officials understand the meetings industry the less susceptible it will be to anti-meeting rhetoric (like the attacks faced in 2009 as a result of conference excesses by a few companies receiving federal bailouts), the tool kit is aimed at creating a dialogue between lawmakers and the people who work in the meetings industry and suggests three strategies:
Tours: U.S. Travel is encouraging meeting professionals to invite government officials to their events, and the tool kit includes a document explaining five steps to coordinating a back-of-the-house tour. Among the advice: Prep a few employees to share their stories of why the travel industry matters to them and secure a room where the member of Congress can be briefed.
Visits: If the Congress member can’t come to you, U.S. Travel is urging you to go to them. They have developed a tool kit for in-person visits to lawmakers, a one-page leave-behind document on the economic impact of meetings, and other resources on the business benefits of holding meetings.
Writing: U.S. Travel is also encouraging the meetings industry to write to the media and to elected officials, and the tool kit includes ideas for an employee letter-writing day and two sample Op-Ed articles.
Keep America Meeting is one of five goals that U.S. Travel is working toward as part of the Vote Travel campaign. Its platform also includes
- bringing more visitors to the U.S. by improving the visa process and making the entry process more welcoming overall,
- reducing travel hassles by making airport security more efficient, revamping travel tax policies, and improving America’s travel networks,
- lowering energy costs for travelers, by advocating for a national energy production strategy, and
- encouraging Americans to travel by protecting vacation days and promoting the benefits of travel to families’ well-being.