Joint Meetings Industry Council Makes Meeting Measurement Recommendations

Measuring and reporting meetings' value continues to be a major priority for the meetings industry, according to the Joint Meetings Industry Council (JMIC), which last month released a research report commissioned to determine the state of industry value measurement and make recommendations as to how those measurement processes can be enhanced in the future.

"Good and consistent measurement procedures are essential to maintaining industry credibility in the face of increasing expectations in this regard from governments, organizers and participants," said JMIC President Philippe Fournier. "In a time when the meetings industry has a great deal to contribute to global economic recovery and development, we need to be able to advance our value proposition as effectively as possible and demonstrate the ability to measure our value in terms that will resonate with the broader global community."

Executed by Dr. Leo Jago — a former research professor at the Universities of Victoria and Nottingham who now serves as Australia's chief economist for tourism, as well as general manager of Tourism Research Australia — the study involved an analysis of representative value measurement models from around the world to determine how well these served existing and future needs. It also included recommendations for how any identified gaps could best be addressed.

Among the study's conclusions:

1. The calculation of national economic contribution estimates is well served by the use of an approach originally developed under the auspices of the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) and applied successfully in a number of countries since;

2. The use of this model was limited by the substantial cost of collecting the necessary data and the difficulties of applying the results to local or regional situations where investment decisions relating to the industry are most often made;

3. The need for models with regional or local application requires a different approach. It was noted that a number of models have been developed in recent times to assess the economic contribution of business events at the regional or local levels;

4. The "beyond tourism" or legacy value of business events is substantial but very difficult to measure in a credible fashion. The contribution of these values, which include the economic, professional, academic and business advancements benefits of business events, are more effectively demonstrated via case studies rather than trying to convert them to a financial equivalent;

5. Acceptance of the economic contribution of business event figures is greatly enhanced by using models or approaches that are consistent with an endorsed approach.

"The completion of this report puts us in a position to provide some guidance to jurisdictions that are now looking for credible ways to document their contribution to the economy and to supporting local business, professional and community aspirations," Fournier continued. "It will also provide us as JMIC with a framework for documenting and communicating the values we see as associated with our sector and facilitate the completion of a directory of value models and a 'toolkit' for using such data in advocacy."

JMIC was established in 1978 as a forum for the exchange of information and perspectives amongst international associations engaged in various aspects of the meetings industry. According to the council, it is now engaged in the process of "building better communications and linkages amongst member organizations" and advancing the industry's profile "along with a greater appreciation of the value the industry brings to the global economy." Its members include many of the major meetings associations in the United States and abroad, including Destination Marketing Association International (DMAI), Meeting Professionals International (MPI), the International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA), the Professional Convention Management Association (PCMA) and the Society of Incentive Travel Executives (Site).

For more information, or to download the "JMIC Report on Meetings Value Models," visit www.themeetingsindustry.org.

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