When President Obama entered the White House, he and his team of economic advisors set out to fix a sluggish economy. One of his first strategies was to bailout the financial industry by lending them billions of dollars. The Obama administration, in its heist to get a record setting $787 billion dollar economic stimulus bill passed, did not place any restrictions on how the money is to be used or distributed. Regardless of their financial institutions status, TARP (Troubled Asset Relief Program) made money available. As these financial institutions use the TARP money to rebuild their industry, they became targets of the Obama administration for how they spent their TARP money. The Obama administration publicly criticized these institutions for using the TARP money for promotional outings.
A large financial institution typically holds large meetings and part of their marketing is to hold lavish get-togethers at sophisticated resorts and hotels. The events are usually in conjunction with industry trade shows and conferences. These companies would send employees and buy customers tickets to Broadway shows, major sporting events, five-star restaurants, and provide them with the best corporate entertainment along with showing them the tourist attractions at the convention city. The goals are simple, wine & dine clients and generate more business.
The problem started when the Obama administration passed public judgment on how the TARP money was being spent. The news media noticed this and denounced these companies for doing their normal business marketing. Media outlets created public outrage that forced the financial giants to slash large functions, thus taking a sluggish trade show industry and bringing it to a grinding halt.
Hotels, airlines, car rental agencies, and the trade show industry in a whole has declined, making it harder for these businesses to rebound. The slow trade show season will continue until the financial industry repays its TARP money and gets into the black. Once this is accomplished, large financial intuitions will once again start attending trade shows, conferences, and develop new public promotions that will help the trade show industry. Nevertheless, unit this happens, trade shows will have less frills and more vacancy. All we can do is hope Obama races off to another “quick fix” and has learned something from this debacle.