Last Friday, Donald J. Trump became the 45th President of the United States. And while much turmoil and rancor surrounded his rise to the top, he is now our President at least for the next four years.
What will his presidency mean for the meeting and event industry? Meetings Today interviewed five top influencers in the industry to get their take on President Trump. Let’s explore the findings of these influencers as well as my own conclusion of how the meeting industry may progress or decline due to the president’s actions.
Event & Meeting Industry Initiatives
Here is a summary of the initiatives that top meeting influencers would like President Trump to focus on or leave alone. In the interest of simplicity, they are listed as DOs and DON’Ts.
Meeting Initiatives Dos:
- Improve our nation’s airports, rail lines and roads. Good domestic infrastructure improves the ability of attendees to travel in a safe and timely fashion.
- Allow for the further implementation of Open Skies Agreements. This provides airline globalization which means maximum operational flexibility for international alliances.
- Continue the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) which permits citizens of 38 countries to travel to the United States for business or tourism and stay of up to 90 days without a visa.
- Recognize the value the meetings industry brings to the U.S. economy and work harder to ensure fair and equitable pay for this vertical segment.
- Provide mechanisms for aggressive U.S. job growth.
- Remember you are a hotel owner and a businessman, we are counting you to stay true to your roots.
Meeting Initiatives Don’ts:
- Allow deceptive online booking practices to go on. These deceptive marketing practices are hurting the hospitality and events industry because guests think they have booked a guest room for a conference, only to find out their credit card was processed and no room has actually been booked.
- Be so unpredictable. This is one thing the media and other entrainment outlets have thrived on. Take a fact-based stance and stick with it.
- Promote isolationism (building a wall) and protectionism (increasing tariffs). Remember, 52 million foreign visitors came to New York City alone in 2016. Setting a policy that does either of the above, can have a trickledown effect on hotels and meetings, discouraging the attendance of international travelers.
What does it mean for Event Planning?
While President Trump is very new to his role, the five influencers interviewed are very optimist about his influence in the event industry primarily because of his role as a businessman and hotel owner. However, as Michael Dominguez, Chief Sales Officer for MGM Resorts International reminds us, “It is just a bit premature to know (what Trump will do)”. I couldn’t agree more.
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