The 250 meeting planning and destination management company executives huddled around roundtables at Washington, D.C.'s, J.W. Marriott one weekend this summer had no small task: They were plotting how to thrive in the new “meeting” economy.

The Fifth Annual Global Events Partners Retreat brought together corporate and association planners, third-party planners, and DMCs for the three-day event, co-hosted by the Marriott and Williard Inter-Continental Hotel. Eighty representatives from 48 DMCs, based all over the world, belong to Washington, D.C. — based GEP, a network that allows them to share referrals and more. The new ethical code issued by the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) was one of the most talked about trends. Joann Kerns, associate director, Global Meetings Management, Bristol-Myers Squibb Co., Plainsboro, N.J., during a panel discussion said, “The code addresses the types of venues where we place business and also the recreation and entertainment options we offer.”