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MPI held its 2024 European Meetings & Events Conference in Luxembourg

The What, Why, and How of MPI’s Off-Site Learning Journeys

At Meeting Professionals International’s European Meetings & Events Conference in March, attendees ventured beyond the walls of the convention center for some unconventional learning. Here’s what they did, along with 5 tips for executing them at your own events.

When a learning experience is outside of what’s typical and familiar, people remember more, build stronger relationships with the people involved, and are more likely to apply their new knowledge. That’s according to Jessie States, CMP, CMM, vice president of the MPI Academy for Meeting Professionals International, who orchestrated the “learning journeys” for MPI’s European Meetings & Events Conference held March 3 to 5.

MPI held EMEC at the European Convention Center in Luxembourg but gave attendees a choice of four group events that got them outside the meeting rooms and immersed in the destination. Unlike pre- and post-conference tours, which are typically discretionary, EMEC’s learning journeys were for everyone, States explained, noting that only a handful of the 300 attendees opted out.

2024-03-04 MPI Emec Luxemburg (highres) -56.jpgAttendees selected from among four experiences: a guided, in-the-dark food tasting at the Novotel Luxembourg Kirchbert that was paired with a discussion of the future of face-to-face meetings; a trip to Lëtzebuerg City Museum (above and below) to view an exhibition on the relationship between people and food, which also included small-group future-thinking working sessions; a behind-the-scenes a visit with the Luxembourg Air Rescue, a private and humanitarian organization that provides air-rescue services in Luxembourg and partners with the United Nations on disaster relief missions; and an experience with Song Division, which works on leadership issues like team cohesion,  belonging, and creativity through the lens of songwriting.

2024-03-04 MPI Emec Luxemburg (highres) -57.jpg

“Attendees love to get outside of conventional spaces for learning,” States says, but it has to be thoughtfully planned. Here are her five suggestions to guide the planning process:

Each experience should be carefully vetted to ensure that the experience and logistics are not overly complicated.
Rely heavily on the destination to highlight attractions/venues that are unique to the area and provide an experience that attendees will enjoy. 
Have attendees sign up three or four weeks before the event to get an idea of which experiences have the most interest. Then, communicate those numbers to the venues in case size adjustments need to be made or multiple groups must be arranged. 

Have attendees pick both a first and second choice in case their first choice has reached capacity. 
It’s essential to have someone on site who will confirm with attendees the journeys they are assigned to. This also gives attendees the opportunity to change their journey if another option has room for them.

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