ATLANTIC CITY, N.J.

MPI’s World Education Congress (WEC) is underway at Harrah’s Atlantic City Waterfront Conference Center, with the association announcing new membership levels that it hopes will broaden its base. The event runs from June 11-14 in Atlantic City.

“We have been working to grow and evolve our association over the past few years in order to better serve the global community and this new membership model is a significant component of our overall transformation,” said Paul Van Deventer, president and CEO of MPI. “Our redesigned model has more flexibility and choices, which allows us to better meet the needs of our membership and will attract a broader audience including emerging professionals who need a more affordable option for their budgets.”

According to the association, MPI’s new membership levels for planners and suppliers, which were soft-launched last fall, include the following:

  • Essential Membership, which provides access to MPI’s online tools and resources, including free education webinars, recorded event sessions, membership directory, a job board, MyMPI Online Community, industry research, member discounts, e-newsletters, The Meeting Professional magazine, and other inclusions.
  • Preferred Membership, which includes all of the Essential Membership benefits plus chapter affiliation, special member rates to chapter events and CMP application assistance.
  • Premier Membership, designed for highly active members, which includes all of the benefits offered with the Essential and Preferred memberships as well as direct marketing lists, VIP passes to MPI global signature events, advanced previews of MPI’s Meetings Outlook quarterly research report, one-on-one career and academic counseling, and the Concierge Line, which provides immediate access to MPI Member Services.

MPI is offering new members the opportunity for a complimentary membership upgrade through July 31. Further information is available at www.mpiweb.org/join.

Education Updates

In other MPI news, the association also announced new offerings from its MPI Academy educational series, including seven web-based courses and two Experiential Event Series programs.

The new courses include online versions of MPI’s Healthcare Meeting Compliance Certificate (HMCC) and Sustainable Meeting Professional Certificate (SMPC) programs as well as the Meetings & Events at Sea program presented in partnership with the Cruise Lines International Association, according to MPI.

The Academy has also developed two web-based Experiential Event Series Case Study courses, which provide learnings from its CES and South by Southwest (SXSW) experiential event programs in an on-demand format, and will offer the Venue Sales Certificate Program I and II online courses, which focus on three foundational areas of the sales process: pitch, positioning and proposals.

All of the courses align with the Meeting and Business Event Competency Standards (MBECS), and will be available online beginning July 1.

The two upcoming Experiential Event Series programs, which offer pre-event access and education at large events, will be held in conjunction with the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia July 18-20, and the Toronto International Film Festival, held Sept. 8-11.

More information about the MPI Academy is available at www.mpiweb.org/mpi-academy.

MPI WEC 2016 News

Preliminary attendance figures as of the first day of the congress counted 2,000 paid attendees, comprised of approximately 46 percent planners and a little more than 50 percent suppliers, according to the association. The 2016 WEC is offering 80 educational sessions, with 15 targeted toward senior planners.

According to Van Deventer, as of the first day of the program, 30 percent of attendees were not members, compared to 25 percent for the 2015 WEC, held in San Francisco. The WEC’s hosted buyer program brought in 204 meeting planners and 159 suppliers.

Originally planned to be held in Philadelphia, the 2016 WEC was moved to Atlantic City after Philadelphia was selected to host the Democratic National Convention July 25-28.

The WEC is expected to deliver an economic boost to the struggling seaside destination, which has suffered from casino closings and the effects of Hurricane Sandy in 2012.

“The visibility that the MPI brings to Atlantic City has been invaluable,” said Jim Wood, president and CEO of Meet AC, Atlantic City’s DMO, comparing his city’s selection to an endorsement of its destination.

Michael Massari, vice president of meeting sales and operations for Caesars Entertainment Corporation, echoed Wood’s sentiments. “There’s no question that [MPI WEC] benefits to a great extent,” he said.

Van Deventer also touted the post-event benefits that WEC and its many meeting professional delegates bring to host cities. “There’s definitely a link to meetings that are booked in subsequent years,” he said.

Click here to check out our MPI WEC 2016 Event Gallery.