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S E P T E M B E R 2 0 1 5 ⎜ ConventionSouth ⎜ w w w . c o n v e n t i o n s o u t h . c o m 7 For more information, visit www.themeetingsindustryfund.org. N E W S & I D E A S headlines, trends & ideas A survey of more than 200 corporate travel managers in the U.S., sponsored by Hilton Worldwide, found that hotel loyalty programs are taken into consider- ation when choosing preferred hotels. The study, entitled "Making Hotel Loyalty Programs Work For You And Your Travel Program," found that two- thirds (66 percent) of the respondents consider hotel loyalty programs at least "slightly important" when negotiating with hotels, while one in fve respondents found them very important or extremely important. Seventy-eight percent of the travel managers said they are allowed to use individual hotel loyalty accounts when traveling for business and nearly all said that travelers are allowed the personal use of points or rewards earned while traveling for business. "Most loyalty programs reward individ- ual travelers for staying at hotel chains, but these programs can also align with the goals of corporate travel programs to promote compliance, improve traveler satisfaction and extract value from hotel stays," said Joseph Bates, vice president of research for the Global Business Travel Association. "While the primary goal of loyalty programs is to incentivize travelers to be brand loyal, continued partnerships with travel managers should prevail." The study also found high interest in both corporate hotel loyalty programs and adding incentive to individual programs to encourage booking through authorized channels. n Hotel Loyalty Programs Important To Corporate Travel Managers Based on strong performances in both the frst and second quarters of 2015, the busi- ness-to-business exhibition industry is having a very good year, according to a report from the Center for Exhibition Industry Research (CEIR). During the second quarter of 2015, the indus- try posted a year-over-year gain of 3.8 percent, which is the second-highest rate since the sec- ond quarter of 2007, according to the report. The CEIR uses four metrics to measure per- formance, all of which posted second-quarter gains: real revenues were up by 6.1 percent; net square feet of space sold was up by 3.6 percent; professional attendance was up by 3.1 percent; and number of exhibitors increased by 2.6 percent. Another interesting fnding: exhibition in- dustry growth, which is typically slower-paced than the growth of the gross domestic product (GDP), has now outperformed GDP for two straight quarters. "The second-quarter results are very promis- ing," said CEIR economist Allen Shaw. "They show that the exhibition industry is on a solid position for robust growth this year." Exhibition Industry Sees Highest Quarterly Increase In Eight Years The Meetings Industry Fund, a new 501(c) (3) foundation, was recently launched to help meeting-industry people in crisis. The goals of the meeting-industry leaders who founded the fund is to raise $100,000 by the end of the year in order to begin helping industry members in need. "Our industry is made up of amazing people and organizations that do fantastic work on be- half of our industry," said David Peckinpaugh, president of Maritz Travel Company and one of the fund's founders. "The one gap we noticed was for an organized effort to help out individ- uals in crisis and the Meetings Industry Fund is all about them. We know our industry will pitch in to help our colleagues who have short-term fnancial needs." Another founder, Susan Sarfati, CAE, CEO of High Performance Strategies, said, "We can support our friends and colleagues in the meet- ing industry when they need us the most. Our community can give generously to support the Meetings Industry Fund. It's about helping each other and it doesn't get much better than that." Chuck Fazio, industry photographer and art- ist-in-residence of American Forests, who orig- inally conceived the idea said, "I am personally thrilled that, after years of being a vision in my brain, the fund has come to fruition and is now here to help people in an industry that was there for me several years ago when I really needed the help." Meetings Industry Fund Launched Net Square Feet 3.6% 7.0 6.0 5.0 4.0 3.0 2.0 1.0 0.0 Exibitors 2.6% Attendees 3.1% Real Revenues 6.1% CEIR Total Index 3.8% In the second quarter of 2015, the exposition industry saw year-over-year improvements in all categories.