mia: Managing Extraordinary Matters

The business meetings and events sector has been one of the worst hit by the pandemic – having been forced to close in March 2020 and only being able to partially reopen with strict capacity limits – resulting in huge financial losses averaging more than £2,560,000 per organisation. 

Throughout this extremely challenging time the Meetings Industry Association’s (mia) has remained focussed on its role of providing clarity and ongoing guidance to the sector; championing best practice; unifying the business meetings and event sector; providing a voice to government while maintaining as well as attracting new members.   

Custard played a crucial role sacrificing nights and weekends being a conduit for the leading association in business meetings and events developing immediate reactions and providing clarity following last minute government briefings as well as compiling powerful insights and information on behalf of the sector. 


To help mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on the sector and the mia’s members, Custard swiftly orchestrated a comprehensive PR and communications strategy incorporating government, media and member relations, issues management as well as the ongoing creation of primary industry intelligence.  

By implementing a multi-layered strategic approach, Custard continued to be a pivotal extension of the association’s internal team, distilling and providing timely insight-based reaction, clarity and intelligence to help facilitate government lobbying and industry communications while also supporting the development of a comprehensive suite of pertinent business support resources for the industry. 


The mia’s efforts to support the industry throughout the pandemic are not just documented through qualitative statistics, but are increasingly recognisable through word-of-mouth, testimonials and endorsements across social media, industry discussions and beyond. 

Ongoing primary research, interpretation and presentation facilitated by Custard has firmly cemented the mia’s position within influential networks while reinforcing the value, economic impact and subsequent pain points of the sector.    

Meanwhile, an unrelenting stream of reaction to government updates, clarity and guidance on best practice through member communications and media relations and business support has resulted in the mia achieving the largest media share of voice amongst its neighbouring associations, positioning it as both the leading and guiding light for the entire sector. 

Results of the strategy include: 

  • Member retention – maintained 91.54% against a backdrop when budgets are being scrutinising to reduce expenditure  
  • Positive satisfaction levels – 84% of members revealed in a recent survey they are either ‘extremely satisfied’ or ‘satisfied’ with the mia’s ongoing efforts    
  • Engagement – the mia’s website has seen 87% more visitors compared to 2019, with a 155% increase in social media referrals while its channels have seen mass increases such as 74.8% in LinkedIn followers since 1 March 2020 
  • The mia is currently short-listed for the ‘Best Association Team’ at the 2021 Association Excellence Awards and the ‘Best COVID Response’ at the National Association Awards