Restricted Meeting Participation Could Cause "Intellectual Depression"

We already know the powerful effect that meetings and travel can have on the nation's economy, but what about their effect on its people? Extreme cost-saving measures could force the United States into an "intellectual depression," according to Doug Weeks, president of the Association for Corporate Travel Executives (ACTE).

At ACTE's Global Education Conference in Washington, DC, last week, Weeks revealed the results of the organization's recent survey on public perception and increased expenses. He also said that 75 percent of survey respondents have seen restricted participation in professional conferences, while 35 percent said their companies deny employees both registration fee reimbursement and time away from the office.

Such measures could limit employee's abilities to share ideas, network, and make improvements in products and services, according to Weeks.

"Hundreds of professions and corporate sectors rely on major industry conferences to advance technology, spark innovation and stimulate trade," Weeks said. "Eliminating participation in professional conferences is a short-sighted strategy that hobbles a company's ability to cope with the current crisis, while limiting the options of its key personnel, and failing to take advantage of the best rates they will ever get in the hospitality market."

What's the situation at your organization? Will employees have a tough time participating in (and traveling to) programs that further their growth?

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