by By Michael J. Shapiro | March 05, 2009

Amidst mass-media reports portraying meetings as lavish, superfluous expenditures, events are being canceled. And the trend isn't limited to companies receiving federal bailout funds, according to the results of an M&C survey conducted from Feb. 23-25, 2009.

While only 9 percent of 135 respondents work with or for companies receiving federal bailout money, more than one-fifth (21 percent) report their companies have canceled events as a direct result of the public backlash. An additional 15 percent say there have been cancellations, but it was unclear whether concerns about perception motivated them. More than half (52 percent) claim the backlash has been extremely or moderately influential on their companies' decisions to hold events.

About a quarter (24 percent) of respondents said their companies are developing new meeting policies to demonstrate good faith and intelligent spending. Forty-one percent have changed scheduled meeting locations, and 24 percent have canceled incentive trips. Luxury or upscale hotels (38 percent) and cruises (30 percent) top the list of venues companies are avoiding.
Following are complete survey results:
Do you work with or for a company that has received or is in line to receive federal bailout funds?

Yes     9%
No      91%


Is your company adopting new meeting policies due to the new federal guidelines?




Yes, to meet federal requirements  
Yes, to follow industry recommendations
Yes, to demonstrate good faith and intelligent spending
No, we already have strict guidelines in place 
No, but we're looking into it 
No, we're not planning on it








How much of an effect would you say the mass-media backlash against meetings has on your company's decisions to hold events? 


Extremely influential in our decisions 22%
Moderately influential
Not very influential16%
No effect 
Don't know





Has your company canceled any events as a direct result of the bailout backlash against meetings and travel?


Yes 21%
Not sure what motivated cancellations






Has your company changed any scheduled meeting or event destinations to appear more economical?



Yes, we have changed cities
Yes, we have changed venues within the same city 5%
Both of the above 20%




Has you company canceled scheduled incentive trips this year?



We don't plan incentives




What destinations or venues has your company decided to avoid?


Luxury or upscale hotels
Golf resorts
Beach resorts
Specific cities
None of the above
No destination/venue is taboo



Source: Meetings & Conventions magazine, Copyright 2009
For more information contact: Lori Cioffi, Editor in Chief, M&C,
To reprint this material, please include: "Reprinted from Meetings & Conventions magazine, a publication of Northstar Travel Media LLC, Copyright 2009."