Ben Stein Defends Meetings Again

Ben Stein has come to the rescue of meetings and business travel once more.

The writer, actor, economist and lawyer last March defended business meetings in his "Everybody's Business" column in The New York Times, describing the heavy work load and marathon hours of a typical conference. Far from luxurious.

Now, Stein, in a July 27th post in his blog on The American Spectator, criticizes the current campaign by some federal agencies to bar government meetings at so-called vacation destinations such as Las Vegas. [more] Here's a great quote: "As to meetings in resorts, the reason to have them is that there are a lot of rooms close to each other with good ways to get together. Often, as in Las Vegas, rooms are inexpensive. Traffic jams and people getting lost do not happen because everyone is under the same roof."  Right on!  

I’d also like to point out that Las Vegas’ infrastructure and average daily costs make it an ideal cost-effective and efficient place to have a meeting or event!  What is also annoying is that so many of today's meetings critics overlook how expensive it is to fly masses of attendees into tertiary cities versus mainstream places like Vegas or Orlando.  In these places, the flight schedules are ample, as is competition airfare-wise, much more so than secondary cities, which are often served by one or two airlines and very likely require a connection to get to.  Nothing like wasting peoples’ time by making them take a connection or two to get to the meeting location!

Elsewhere in the post, he makes more important points: "BUSINESS MEETINGS HAD ZERO TO DO WITH CAUSING THIS RECESSION." The caps are his, not mine, I swear.  But he is dead on with that point.

And coming to the defense of travel and meetings industry workers, he adds: "Even more to the point, banning or condemning business meetings will not help us get out of the recession. Instead, this anti-meeting policy gets hotel and airline workers fired, kicks hotel maids and busboys in the teeth, wrecks communities used to working hard to be good hosts."  I’ve been saying that since the get-go; how can we possibly get to a point of economic recovery if hard working people in the service sector keep losing their jobs or getting their hours and pay cut due to the precipitous drop in business travel and meetings?  This recession is affecting everyone, and in order for the economy to recover, people need to feel confident about their jobs, income and the future!  

Thanks again Ben, for your support!  Our industry needs more strong advocates with common sense and a visible platforms like Ben Stein! 

Kevin Iwamoto is vice president of enterprise strategy at StarCite. This post is syndicated from his blog, Strategic Meetings Management.