How a Destination’s Political & Social Values Can Impact Group Business

group business
San Francisco; Photo Credit: Erondu/GoodFreePhotos.com

Just how important is finding a destination that aligns with your group’s values?

Incorporating the destination into your meeting has never been as big of a priority as it is now. That means that a destination’s values also have to align with that of the meeting group more than ever, with political and social issues having an increasing effect on group business.

In early July, reports circulated that a major medical association that typically held its annual event in San Francisco opted not to return to the city due to its rising issue with homelessness. The groups five-day conference would draw 15,000 attendees and boost the local economy by about $40 million, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

“Like other major cities, we face issues that present challenges; however, San Francisco continues to drive record attendance for conventions.”

While Joe D’Alessandro, president and CEO of San Francisco Travel confirms that the association opted for another city listing homelessness as a reason, he also says, “San Francisco continues to be one of the most popular cities in the United States for meetings and conventions. Like other major cities, we face issues that present challenges; however, San Francisco continues to drive record attendance for conventions. In fact, 2018 is shaping up to be our strongest year ever, and we have more definite group nights on the books in 2019 that we have ever had in the history of San Francisco.”

Regardless, the opening of San Francisco’s newly expanded Moscone Center next January is contributing a great deal to the growth in its group business, according to D’Alessandro.

In Cleveland, it’s still up in the air on whether or not the 2016 Republican National Convention had a positive or negative effect in boosting the destination, while local political issues — such as the travel advisory urging caution to those visiting Missouri due to concerns that civil rights may not be respected — have also put a major spotlight on site selection, especially when it comes to accommodating groups of diversity.

As a planner, have you opted to not meet in a certain destination because of political or social issues?

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