Thursday, July 16, 2009

"Candid Conversation with MPI" - WEC2009

On Tuesday, the last day of WEC2009, the leadership team of MPI invited attendees to a "Candid Conversation with MPI". A modest group turned out to ask questions. Here are my highlights. Please note that these are NOT quotes, just my interpretations of what was said.

  • In response to a question about the "Ambassador Program", MPI would like to expand this mentoring program to include all new members.
  • Between donations and matching programs by corporate partners, the MPI Foundation had raised about $25,000 at WEC2009.
  • An attendee from a local chapter said that he frequently heard the complaint from suppliers that the planner/supplier ratio at events is dropping. He feels MPI should do a better job explaining to suppliers that a large amount of their business actually comes from other suppliers -- the value to suppliers of MPI participation is not just access to planners.
  • Tradeshows at other events have been very successful using a one-on-one appointment model. MPI is exploring this option for MeetDifferent.
  • I asked Bruce MacMillan about the internal conversation regarding the pricing of the Virtual Access Pass. I heard him say the following:
  1. MPI is in the business of creating great content, and great content costs. Someone needs to pay for it somewhere along the line.
  2. MPI does not want to create a "subsidization model" where paying attendees cover the costs for non-attendees
  3. Much of the WEC content will be made available to members at a later date, but the live streaming of the conference was worth a premium
  4. (If I misrepresented what was said, please let me know!)
  • An attedee asked if MPI could publish a peer-reviewed journal for academic research. Every profession includes a body of knowledge, an education curriculum, and ongoing research. A journal that published peer-reviewed case studies would support researchers and academics AND help develop new content for MPI
  • MPI is sending out an RFP for research on the economic impact of meetings in the US. The Canadian research already completed is a benchmark for this kind of study around the world. MPI would like to get some economic data before the end of 2009, but the timeline will depend entirely on the vendor who wins the RFP.
  • Finally, MPI is getting an international CSR certification, including the MPI staff. This will help chapters and members drive CSR into every aspect of the meetings industry.

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