Contact Us | 1-866-488-4474 |

The Economic Impact of the Meetings Industry in Canada vs. the USA

C  Users doreen.GREENFIELD Desktop Website Theme Photos meetings mean business logo resized 600
In 2008 the Canadian meetings industry generated more than 673,400 meetings involving 69,749,000 participants and resulting in just over $71 Billion in industry output, directly accounting for 222,900 full-time jobs (source: Meeting Professionals International Foundation Canada, 2008).

Recently a coalition of 14 U.S. tourism and meetings industry associations (including MPI, PCMA, ASAE, DMAI) released its own study of the economic impact of its meetings.  Working with 2009 data, research firm PriceWaterhouseCoopers USA (PwC) found the U.S. meeting industry had 1.8 million meetings, with 205 million attendees, producing $907 billion in output (direct, indirect and induced), and supporting 1.7 million jobs.

Comparing data between Canada & the US is dangerous because we are looking at difference years (Canada 2008 and U.S. 2009).  Still Canada's $71 Billion total industry output vs. $907 Billion in the U.S. means that the Canadian meetings industry represents 7.8% of the U.S.  This, while the Canadian population represents 11% of the USA.

I for one was a bit surprised at these results.  We're having fewer meetings in Canada when compared to the U.S.?  Or maybe we get to attend more meeting in the U.S. and not here!

So we’re starting to understand what we represent in economic terms, which is important possibly for lobbying purposes when it comes to taxes and infrastructure.  But what does it mean for individual hotels, CVBs, or planners themselves?  Well until we have historical trends, it may be a bit early to tell.

But where are we in terms of understanding what meetings represent in human terms?  Or as the program for National Meetings Industry Day organized by the Montréal-Québec MPI Chapter asked recently, what does the meetings industry represent to the socioeconomic landscape?

Proving the true value of face-to-face meetings is the next challenge for the meetings industry.  We need to better understand why and when a meeting should be face-to-face (F2F) vs. virtual or nothing at all.  We need scientific evidence.  Are we up to the challenge?

Managing Expectations for Hospitality Lead Generation Campaigns

Sales Funnel
My job entails working with our clients to set up their project.  In doing so I often find myself clarifying expectations and discussing the anticipated results of the lead generation effort.

Yes, the main part of our role is to conduct solid days of prospecting.  We find new business opportunities for our clients, and our team commits to conducting 8-hour days of prospecting on their behalf.

However, to manage expectations, we have to set them up at the outset.  Our clients need to know what to expect from us in connect rates, lead averages, and overall interest levels.  So, here are a few things I provide clients so they understand what to expect.

Unless you plan on calling each person on your list until you do have a conversation (good or bad), no list is ever 100% reachable.  In hospitality lead generation campaigns, we typically see an average of 65-70% connect rate, resulting in either a positive outcome (potential business) or a negative result (no interest).  This percentage is based on 3 to 5 call attempts, though it will vary widely depending on the management level targeted (the higher up the corporate ladder, the harder executives are to reach), and the quality or age of the data. 

It would be great to get a lead out of every contact; but from a goals perspective, it is not feasible.  When I say lead, I am referring to a prospect who can consider your hotel or resort, and has provided specifics on an event.  AND they are interested and would like to continue to hear from you.  With this type of project, we see  average lead rates between 2-5%, which varies depending on the type of hotel and destination, as well as the types of clients we are calling upon.  It can be higher; but this is the typical range we have experienced.
Some contacts may not be able to provide meeting or event specifications at the time of the call, but are interested in your facilities or destination.  We deem these "interested prospects" and always recommend that these be placed on a regular nurturing list to receive an e-newsletter, promotional mailings, etc.

This follows our Funnel Activator philosophy which says that most new business relationships must be built over time, increasing trust with each interaction.  Typically, if the list we are working with is relatively good, we expect to produce an additional 5-10% of contacts who are interested in continuing building a relationship with the supplier.

So, if you were working with a list of 1,000 records, you could expect to finish with 650-700 definitive outcomes, 20-50 leads, and 50-100 additional contacts interested in receiving information about your company.

How does this line up with what you are doing?