Amanda Armstrong, MPI's 2018 board chair, ready to rev it up at Indianapolis Motor Speedway (Credit: MPI)
Following a morning of intriguing sessions in its newly designed “village” format, MPI’s 2018 World Education Congress (WEC) wrapped Tuesday, June 5, with a rousing pep rally, show and luncheon, followed by a trip to Indianapolis Motor Speedway for a bucket list-level closing experience.
Highlights from Tuesday's inspiring show and luncheon, emceed by the ever-humorous Dena Blizzard of One Funny Mother, included a keynote on diversity by Farah Mohamed of the Malala Fund and G(irls)20, in addition to a cinematic spoken word performance by Steve Connell about the unique talents meeting planners possess and the ability they have to make a huge impact.
Speeches by several MPI leadership figures drove home the organization's commitment to helping planners address critical concerns that had been top of mind during this year's WEC. This included pressing hot topics such as diversity and inclusion at events and sexual harrassment in the industry, in addition to human trafficking and the huge role the meetings industry community can play in helping to put a stop to it.
[Related Content: MPI's WEC Enlists Planners to Combat Human Trafficking]
There was also a preview of what’s in store for MPI's WEC 2019 by Tourism Toronto.
WEC capped off by taking attendees in the fast lane via police escort to Indianapolis Motor Speedway, home of the famous Indy 500 race, for ride-alongs at 125-plus mph around the track (often coming within a foot of the wall) and opportunities to “kiss the brick” and snap pictures with the Indy 500 trophy, the championship wreath and, of course, the celebratory “bottle of milk.”
Following are key stats from MPI’s WEC 2018.
- Approximately 2,200 registered attendees, which is 13.6 percent less than WEC 2017 in Las Vegas, yet 10 percent more than WEC 2016 in Atlantic City and WEC 2014 in Minneapolis.
- Planner to supplier ratio was split about 50:50 with 49.6 percent planners and 50.4 percent suppliers.
- About 77 percent were MPI members, plus had 240 attendees sign up to become new members prior to the event and nine members signed up onsite during the event.
- 39 percent of registrants attended WEC for the first time this year.
- There were 249 chapter leaders in attendance thanks in part to the 2018 MPI Chapter Business Summit, which was held in conjunction with WEC this year.
- In total, the mix of attendees represented 35 countries—with the majority being from the U.S. (89 percent), followed by Canada (5 percent).
- MPI Hosted Buyer Program had 203 planners and 138 suppliers, who conducted just over 1,800 business appointments in two days.
- 158 suppliers exhibited throughout the WEC Villages.
- Delivered more than 80 total education sessions, allowing attendees to earn up to 11 clock hours.
- MPI Foundation raised more than $450,000, including contributions raised from Rendezvous, which had nearly 1,200 participants, and through the Text To Give Program; funds will be invested towards scholarships and grants. In comparison, $340,000+ was raised during WEC 2017.
- MPI raised more than $250,000 from the President’s Dinner, which had 500 attendees and honored chapter leaders, board members and the 2018 MPI Industry Leader Award recipient—Roger Dow, president and CEO of the U.S. Travel Association; the funds will support the MPI Academy in developing fresh and innovative educational programs. At WEC 2017, $218,000+ was raised.
- 1,000 unique users registered for the WEC18 Virtual Pass Program, which features select sessions from each day of the conference; 84 percent were planners and 59 percent were MPI members.
Stay tuned for additional post-WEC 2018 coverage from Meetings Today.
[Related Content: MPI WEC 2018 - Revved, Ready and Redesigned in Indianapolis]
MPI’s WEC 2019 will take place in Toronto June 15-18.
Following are more images provided by MPI from the final day of WEC 2018 in Indianapolis.
Steve Connell's masterful spoken word (Credit: MPI)
Spoken word game contestants after performing (Credit: MPI)
"Kissing the brick" at Indianapolis Motor Speedway (Credit: MPI)
Posing with the Indianapolis 500 official championship trophy (Credit: MPI)