MPI Moves Up Convention Dates

Meeting Professionals International (MPI) is always looking for ways to improve its annual World Education Congress (WEC), and the strategy is paying off.

On the heels of a 25 percent increase in attendance at WEC this week at the Moscone Center in San Francisco, MPI has decided to move up its annual convention from August, which is the heart of the convention season, to earlier in the year.

During the MPI media breakfast on Sunday morning, MPI CEO and President Paul Van Deventer highlighted that the 2016 WEC will meet in Atlantic City June 11-14. The 2017 convention will take place in Las Vegas in July 9-12, the 2018 event in Indianapolis is set for June 2-5 and the 2019 convention will be in Toronto June 11-14.

“This is not a process we approach lightly,” Van Deventer says. “We are excited about each of these destinations and believe WEC attendees will enjoy them as well. Each year, MPI strives to enhance the education and programming we deliver at WEC, so we look forward to working with our host city partners to enrich attendee experience in the coming years.”

Among the other news items reported on by Van Deventer Sunday morning was the balance between meeting planners and suppliers at this year’s convention With 2,500 registered attendees, planners make up 50 percent and suppliers make up 50 percent, according to Van Deventer.

There’s a new push from the cruise industry to get planners to consider taking their events out to sea. The new Meetings and Events at Sea Certificate is being presented by Cruise Line International Association (CLIA) and is designed to help planners explore the benefits of this niche meeting venue.

Another new program for MPI is its Experiential Event Series in which the organization  partners with high-profile events to offer planners an opportunity for behind-the-scene tours at such events as the Miss America Pageant in Atlantic City in September and the Epcot Food & Wine Festival in Orlando in November.

Although many event producers consider themselves marketers and not planners, Van Deventer is excited to bring these mega-event folks into MPI while allowing traditional planners to have those big-event experiences.

Here are a few other notes of note for WEC 2015:

This week’s conference will feature 140 education sessions.

The hosted buyer program is up 12 percent with 265 planners.

61 attendees are being supported by scholarships.

A demographic shift toward millennials in the industry is creating more demand for MPI training. Van Deventer says studies show that millennials now make up 50 percent of the meeting and event planners, creating a need for training as less experienced professionals begin their careers.

For more, check out live updates from #WEC15.

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