Meetings Mean Business will soon welcome a chapter in India, the coalition announced at the annual Convening Leaders meeting of the Professional Convention Management Association, taking place this week in Pittsburgh. MMB co-chairs Julie Coker Graham, president and CEO of the Philadelphia Convention and Visitors Bureau, and Trina Camacho-London, vice president of global group sales at Hyatt Hotels, were joined by U.S. Travel Association president and CEO Roger Dow to outline the organization's expansion and objectives for 2019.
The addition of an India chapter indicates the organization's growing international influence. While MMB remains focused on advocacy and initiatives in the United States, an increasing number of global destinations want to be part of the coalition, according to Nan Marchand Beauvois, U.S. Travel's senior vice president of national councils. India will be the second international chapter, following Canada's launch this past year, and industry professionals from Malaysia and Germany have expressed interest as well.
In addition to expanding its global reach, MMB intends to make deeper inroads in select industry sectors at home this year. The coalition will launch an advisory council, consisting of 10 to 12 professionals from the high-tech, finance and health-care industries. Those representatives will provide ongoing counseling, explained Camacho-London, and ensure the messaging and content delivered by MMB is relevant and reaches the upper echelons of executives in those fields.
Also in the works for the coming year, the coalition will provide a suite of resources to help professionals combat the weaponization of travel. Among the collection of tools will be a checklist for steps planners should take before a travel ban, as well as messaging they can use when any kind of ban or boycott takes place.
In addition to building off the coalition’s success in 2018, added Coker Graham, "We want to challenge destination brands to think outside the box about how they can convey the value of what we do as an industry."