Joint Meetings Industry Council Releases 'Manifesto'

The new document lays out guidelines as well as evidence for the economic importance of meetings and conventions.

The Joint Meetings Industry Council has released a Meetings Industry Manifesto, which makes the case for why conventions, trade shows and other business events are key to driving a global economic recovery. Leaders from the 18 industry associations and events around the globe that form the JMIC worked together to develop the manifesto as a resource for industry professionals to advocate for the safe reopening of business events in their respective communities. 

"COVID-19 has again highlighted a core weakness of the global business events industry: We struggle to share a joint message, to stand as a united industry, when it matters", said JMIC president Kai Hattendorf, who is also managing director and CEO of UFI, The Global Association of the Exhibition Industry. "With policymakers, this puts us at the end of the queue of industries seeking to showcase their respective roles for economies and societies."

The manifesto includes 15 ways that business events create strategic advantages for markets during economic recovery and renewal. These include:

  • Driving innovation and reinvention
  • Creating an impact across multiple sectors
  • Restoring relationships and building trust
  • Contributing to self-sufficiency and diversification
  • Assisting with transition and renewal
  • Attracting talent and investment
  • Creating a path to sustainable development
  • Requiring highly controlled environments that are conducive to implementing strict safety measures
  • Supporting the tourism economies for the communities in which they are held
  • Providing measurable ROI

The manifesto's authors also asked authorities to take into account the unique importance of business events as they lay out public health and economic protocols. Unlike public gatherings, the authors underscore, business events are "highly controlled assemblies and should be classified and distinguished as distinct from generic mass gatherings for the purposes of reopening policies." What's more, the authors continue, business events should "be seen in the context of trade, economic development, social and investment policies rather than tourism policy."

The manifesto concludes with 10 "critical success" points that meeting professionals can follow to advocate for their industry on a local and regional level. These are:

  1. Get organized.
  2. Do your research.
  3. Identify the top issues in your community.
  4. Organize your data and "stories."
  5. Access available industry resources.
  6. Do the "translation" (i.e., tailor your message to your particular audience).
  7. Create a demonstration project.
  8. Choose an occasion/use your contacts.
  9. Practice your "elevator conversation."
  10. Provide feedback to your colleagues.

"We know that the decisions to utilize business events as a vehicle for economic stimulation and diversification, and to reactivate events under appropriate health measures, will always be local," reads the manifesto. "By adapting general principles to the specific needs of individual countries and destinations, the result will be destination-specific strategies that activate the power of business events for economic stimulation for the most urgent priorities and policies of local and regional governments."

Download the full manifesto here.