This year, one of the meetings and travel industry's key associations, Destination Marketing Association International, celebrates its centennial anniversary. The group was launched in 1914 as the International Association of Convention Bureaus with 14 member bureaus, all in North America. In those simpler times, most of what would later be known as destination marketing organizations were one-person operations.
The association survived and grew through years of economic, political and social change, and today DMAI includes more than 600 DMOs and 4,100 individual members in 15 countries. Following are highlights of the history of this venerable group and the industry it serves.
• The International Association of Convention Bureaus is formed in 1914.
• In 1915, convention bureau executives from 18 cities attend the first official IACB meeting, held in St. Louis. The group elects officers and focuses on creating a code of ethics for the solicitation of meetings.
• During the Great Depression, the number and duration of association-sponsored conventions decline. The focus of IACB turns to helping member organizations attract corporate and sales meetings, which offer more reliable business during this time.
• Joe Turner is elected as the first paid "secretary" (today's role of CEO) of the association, and a "central bureau" or headquarters is established in Cincinnati.
• During World War II, the U.S. Office of Defense Transportation places a ban on conventions that stimulate travel due to a nationwide dearth of available hotel rooms. The ban ultimately is lifted in 1946.
IACB met in New York City in 1942.
In 1948 the IACB releases its first delegate survey, which reveals an average daily convention expenditure of $24 for a four-day event.1950s
Bed taxes are introduced by bureaus, helping to launch a boom in new convention center openings.