Faced with sweeping layoffs and record revenue losses suffered by the hospitality industry post September 11, the Convention Industry Council had a lot on its plate when the group held its Issues Summit, December 3, at the Hyatt Regency McCormick Place in Chicago.
"The short answer to the outcome of the summit is that the 160 participants agreed unanimously that we need to speak with one voice to promote the value of face-to-face meetings to the CEOs and CFOs of this country—meeting planners already know the value—in order to encourage them not to cut this type of business travel from their budgets," reports Mary E. Power, CIC president and CEO. CIC will launch and fund a public relations campaign with this goal in early 2002, she says.
Powers says the campaign will be coordinated with a global effort being spearheaded in Europe by Reed Travel Exhibitions and the International Congress and Convention Association. (See related news article, Meeting Industry Fights Back, by Betsy Bair.)
CIC, which consists of more than 30 industry organizations in the hospitality, meetings, and travel fields, organized the summit by focusing on nine critical issues facing the industry, and by having participants break out into five discussion groups, each of which had a trained facilitator as well as a laptop with Powerpoint to summerize their findings. Randy Pennington, founder and CEO of Pennington Performance Group, was the event facilitator.
Besides voting to speak out with a united voice to encourage meetings and conventions, participants also voted to have CIC develop safety and security information that would reassure the general public and the meetings industry. They also voted to have CIC develop a tool kit that would help planners and suppliers deal with new marketing, communications, and safety issues in the post 9/11 world. CIC plans to act in all these areas, Power says. For more information, visit the CIC website at www.conventionindustry.org.