It’s been interesting to see the PR counter-offensive by the U.S. travel industry against the tide of criticism against so-called business junkets. A couple of weeks ago I saw full-page ads in several major papers suggesting that cancelled meetings translate into millions of lost jobs. The “Meetings mean Business” campaign includes a major PR and advertising push, a new Code of Conduct for companies using taxpayer dollars, personal video vignettes, advocacy outreach, a robust website, etc. The campaign appears to be working, at least in terms of political leaders like Barney Frank and even President Obama urging caution in branding travel as ill-advised spending. This may help differentiate the egregious retreats by AIG and other TARP recipients from the legitimate trips by thousands of organizations investing in their staff.

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