Meeting Professionals International kept to the speedway theme of its 2018 World Education Congress host city, Indianapolis, this week by announcing it wasn’t planning to slow down after a busy first half year that included updating its Principles of Professionalism to include wording about not tolerating harassment of any kind and training its staff and volunteer leaders on sexual harassment; launching its first SITE-MPI Global Conference in Rome in January and a virtual Global Meetings Industry Day educational program in partnership with Meetings Mean Business; and developing a new online community and resources to support its third-party meeting professional sector.
The organization is now on track to drive some new initiatives to the starting line in the second half of 2018, according to MPI officials at a press conference on Monday. Among the projects announced in Indy at WEC 2018:
• CMM reboot. SMPI is partnering with the Indiana University Kelly School of Business, its executive program, and the IUPUI Department of Tourism, Conventions, and Event Management to look at ways to update MPI’s Certificate in Meeting Management Program. On the table will be making the curriculum more meeting and event-management focused, extending the first-phase immersion course by half a day, rolling the work-based case project into the online boot camp phase, and expanding the project development requirements to more closely align with higher education standards.
• Inclusivity research and a new Inclusive Experience Strategist Certificate program. With its partner, the New York University School of Professional Studies Jonathan M. Tisch Center of Hospitality, MPI is planning to conduct a study on how meetings and events can be designed to feel more welcoming and inclusive to all attendees. The results will be announced at the MPI 2018 Thought Leaders Summit in November. Using insights from Summit participants and input from partner Dawn Snyder of Dawn Snyder Associates, MPI then plans to develop and launch a four-hour Inclusive Experience Strategist Certificate program in the first quarter of 2019.
• Meeting planning safety and security guide. Before the end of June, look for MPI to publish “The Essential Guide to Safety and Security: Best Practices for Meeting and Event Planning 2018.” The guide will be followed by related education, research reports, and case studies throughout 2018 and 2019. MPI gathered close to 400 best practices for everything from safely managing crowds to recovering from a vehicular attack to securing event data. The guide, which is free for members and $49 to nonmembers, will be available on the MPI website.
MPI By the Numbers
• Total registrants: approximately 2,200, just about evenly split between suppliers and planners. While Indy didn’t prove to be as big a draw as Las Vegas was last year, where attendance was 13.6 percent larger, it did outperform 2016 host Atlantic City by 10 percent. More than three-quarters of attendees are current MPI members. They came from 35 countries, though the vast majority (89 percent) were from the U.S., with 5 percent coming from Canada. Almost 40 percent of WEC18 attendees were newbies to the event, which is in line with previous years.
• The hosted buyer program included 203 planners, 138 suppliers, and more than 1,800 business appointments over two days. There also were 158 suppliers scattered throughout the four educational “villages” set up on the expo floor at the Indiana Convention Center, where attendees were able to attend 80 educational sessions, earn up to 11 clock hours toward their Certified Meeting Professional designation, and cuddle puppies at the always-popular Paws for a Cause area sponsored by Visit Newport.
• The MPI Foundation got a $450,000 boost at WEC18, which is $110,000 more than it raised last year. Contributions came in through tickets to signature Monday night party Rendezvous, held at the Pan Am Pavilion, as well as through the Text-to-Give program. Funds go toward scholarships and grants. The President’s Dinner, which this year honored U.S. Travel President and CEO Roger Dow, raised more than $250,000 to support new MPI Academy programs.
• A thousand people registered to participate in this year’s WEC via a free virtual pass, which featured sessions from each day’s program.