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Vote Travel, yes, but don't do it blindly. It's great the U.S. Travel Association is out there trying to influence the influencers, but the industry needs to be candid when federal agencies act as if they don't have any spending caps on their meetings.

Delegates to the upcoming Republican convention in Tampa and the Democratic convention in Charlotte will have to wade through tons of propaganda from the nominees — and the travel industry.

The Mitt Romney and Barack Obama efforts may have a few more millions of dollars at their disposal and the national TV spotlight, but the U.S. Travel Association’s Vote Travel campaign will be vying for attention, too.

Although not on the ballot at either conclave, the U.S. Travel Association will be running an operation seeking to emphasize travel’s key role in the U.S. economy, which is said to be $1.9 trillion in economic muscle and 14 million jobs. 

And, after various GSA scandals and over-the-top convention-spending flareups, the idea is to showcase “the critical importance of meetings and conventions …” the U.S. Travel Associatoin states.

Building on an earlier national bus tour, the Vote Travel campaign at the conventions will include social media efforts and also feature:

  • Key cards branded Vote Travel at Marriott hotels;
  • People renting cars from Hertz and Enterprise will receive microfiber screen cleaners branded Vote Travel with appropriate messaging;
  • Volunteers on the street will hand out T-shirts, buttons and “squishy buses;”
  • Marriott and the association will lead tours of the behind-the-convention scene for delegates and other bigwigs to outline how the conventions operate;
  • Uber will continue its nationwide promotion and offer $20 discounts on the first ride for customers who use the promo code Vote Travel, and
  • Vote Travel air fresheners will be hanging from taxi cab mirrors in the two cities.

Amidst all their carousing and politicking, whether delegates in Tampa and Charlotte will view the U.S. Travel Association’s efforts as a breath of fresh air remains to be seen.

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Tags: lobbying, meetings and events

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