Useful Ideas from MPI’s Annual Educational Event

June 28, 2017 Kevin V Edmunds

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More than 1,300 meeting and incentive planners as well as 1,200 hoteliers, CVB personnel and other industry suppliers descended upon Las Vegas from June 19 to 22 for Meeting Professionals International’s World Education Congress. I spent some time both in the learning sessions and on the show floor, and the atmosphere was very motivating—there was so much energy even with the outside temperature being nearly 115 degrees. Here is a quick recap of the major things that went on at the show: http://www.mpiweb.org/docs/default-source/press/mpi-wec-2017-recap-media-advisory-final.pdf

From my own perspective, one thing that struck me about MPI’s educational sessions was that a lot of what we do at our properties within the All-Inclusive Collection was reflected in the messages of the presenters. For instance, one of the keynotes was delivered by Bruce Mao, the chief design officer at Freeman who is known as a leading-edge creator of business events. His message: stop planning “meetings” and start planning “experiences,” which means engaging all five senses not just during the event itself but also before and after the event, so that you make a permanent impression on attendees.

At our Eden Roc and Nobu properties in Miami, plus our all inclusive Hard Rock Hotels in the Dominican Republic and on the Atlantic and Pacific coasts of Mexico, our convention services staffs are trained to partner with meeting and incentive planners in order to match the best aspects of the local area to the theme of the program. And this is not done only through the actual experiences at the destination, but also through tactics used ahead of an event—dimensional mailings plus electronic marketing that whets attendees’ appetite—as well as post-event communications and gifts that reinforce the theme and remind attendees for months and years of the unique experience they had.

One other educational session that caught my attention was titled “Emergency Preparedness for Meetings and Events.” Because most meetings and incentives that come to our properties have a hundred or more participants and guests, there is always the possibility that something could happen—a need for medical attention, or perhaps a storm, a blackout or a security situation. So our property staffs make sure to deliver all the relevant contingency information to planners, to familiarize them with the property’s emergency plans, the medical facilities in the area plus any U.S. government contacts who are stationed near our international properties. It’s rare that these resources are used, but it is absolutely essential that meeting and incentive groups are prepared ahead of time with that information.

The MPI World Education Congress offered me a chance to learn more about our business, and allowed me to make a lot of new contacts on the planner side. I’m already looking forward to next year’s event!

 


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