Campaign: Travel Helps More Than Just the Bottom Line

A new advocacy campaign sponsored by the U.S. Travel Association will illustrate the benefits travel can have on Americans, including the value of face-to-face meetings.

Travel in the United States has obvious positive economic and business effects, but the U.S. Travel Association also wants to make people aware of some of its other benefits.

In a new multiyear, multimillion dollar advocacy campaign launched last week, USTA will employ research findings and studies to illustrate the value of travel on relationships, health, and education—as well as businesses and the economy.

“What we’ve long known anecdotally, we will prove through authoritative research: travel has a measurable and positive effect on health, relationships, business performance, and the well-being of communities,” Roger Dow, president and CEO of USTA said in a statement. “And since travel supports 14.4 million American jobs and $1.9 trillion in economic output, the more we get people traveling in the U.S., the more we can improve our well-being as a nation.”

As part of the Travel Effect campaign, USTA plans to conduct its own research on the value of travel, including a report on the effects of travel on relationships set to be released in February. Other planned studies will look at the bottom-line impact of business travel as well as the impact of government meetings on government operations, private-sector development, and local communities.

The campaign will also use paid advertising and social media to promote existing research highlighting travel benefits.

For example, on its website, the campaign cites a 2011 study “The Economic Significance of Meetings to the U.S. Economy,” to promote the benefits of face-to-face meetings. The study, which was conducted by PricewaterhouseCoopers  and a team of industry researchers that included ASAE, states that not only do businesses reap economic benefits from meetings, but the average American business loses 17 percent of its profits in the first year of getting rid of business travel.

The value of face-to-face meetings is not news to associations. Besides profits, these meetings provide valuable networking opportunities, grow stronger communities among members, volunteers, vendors, and staff, and facilitate better engagement among members.

“Much of [the] value is in the unplanned, chance encounter on the tradeshow floor, in the corridors between sessions, on the bus to an offsite venue, or with sandwich in hand on a convention-center patio,” Mary W. Ghikas, CAE, senior associate executive director of the American Library Association told Associations Now of the specific benefits of annual meetings. “It’s the person you didn’t know you wanted to talk with, who happens to be standing next to you momentarily.

(Martin Poole/Stockbyte/Thinkstock)

Katie Bascuas

By Katie Bascuas

Katie Bascuas is associate editor of Associations Now. MORE

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