The International Association of Conference Centers (IACC) and Meeting Professionals International (MPI) are forming a strategic alliance, both parties announced this week.

The five-year global partnership enables the two associations to share event-hosting and learning platforms. The alliance includes education initiatives delivered at annual conferences and regional events, and online. It also incorporates research efforts on behalf of IACC and MPI.

“The leadership teams at MPI and IACC have been collaborating on several successful initiatives over the last two years and now seems the perfect time to bring all this great work together under one strategy to allow us to provide more [opportunities] for our respective members,”  said Mark Cooper, CEO of IACC.

Founded in 1981, IACC represents some of the world’s top small-to-midsize meetings-focused venues in 25 countries.

Paul Van Deventer, president and CEO of MPI, which represents 60,000 international meeting and event professionals, said, “One of our top priorities at MPI is to continuously enrich our portfolio of professional development offerings, and this collaboration with IACC will certainly help us deliver more value to our membership community.”

MPI’s 2017 World Education Congress (WEC), scheduled for June 19–22 in Las Vegas, will be among the first conferences to feature a livestreaming joint venture that combines IACC’s venue-focused technology know-how with MPI learning sessions.

“We are especially excited about the opportunity to live-stream WEC to members that are unable to make it to the conference this year and in an environment that encompasses peer-to-peer engagement and networking,” Van Deventer said.

MPI will also take part in IACC’s Meeting Room of the Future global research project with conference-and-meeting space designers. The collaboration will focus on technology, hospitality, delegate interactions and conference management.

It’s worth noting that IACC-certified venues, which host smaller conferences and meetings, welcome part-time planners booking event spaces as just one function of their multitasking jobs. A crucial objective of the IACC-MPI alliance is to provide relevant education to this important group.

“Just as MPI is passionate about designing great meeting experiences, IACC is passionate about venues delivering an exceptional meetings experience,” Cooper said. “It’s the perfect marriage.”