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MPI Moves WEC Grapevine to November

MPI Moves WEC Grapevine to November

Meeting Professionals International is moving its 2020 signature education event, the World Education Congress, to early November, the association announced Monday.

The impact of COVID-19 on the meeting and event industry and the future of how face to face will help the global economic recovery will be at the forefront when WEC Grapevine, “Reunite for Recovery,” convenes Nov. 3-6 at the Gaylord Texan Resort and Convention Center in Grapevine, Texas, with a robust live experience as well as a fully virtual conference component.

“Our goal is to create a live experience, rich in education and connection, that people feel comfortable about attending in-person, while we stay intensely focused on the duty of care of delivering a safe, secure and healthy environment—as well as also offering a high-quality streaming option for those who want to attend virtually,” says Paul Van Deventer, MPI president and CEO.

“Our community wants to get back together and WEC Grapevine will be a rallying cry for our meeting and event community to Reunite for Recovery. We’ll reconnect and rekindle the flames of business. And, perhaps most importantly, we’ll gather once again with our colleagues, our community, our family.”

We’ll reconnect and rekindle the flames of business.

The conference, originally scheduled for early June, was moved due to the ramifications of the coronavirus. MPI’s education and event teams went to work, recrafting a conference with content directed for both onsite and virtual participants including a full educational offering of mainstage presentations, concurrent sessions and exclusive interviews.

Van Deventer says MPI is working with the host property on new efforts the hotel and Marriott International, which operates the property, will be putting into place focusing on wellness.

“We’re not going to just be looking at clinical wellness; we’re looking at mental wellness as well, so it’s the whole-body experience,” he says. “We’ll be testing some new approaches, bringing a lot of content focused on pandemic response—how you should manage your own event and things you should be doing.”

The redesigned onsite experience will be a unique behind-the-scenes look at producing a large-scale hybrid event.

WEC Grapevine: Learn More

“Everyone will be an audience member and gain unique insight into staging, broadcast and messaging elements,” says Annette Gregg, MPI senior vice president, experience. “This will be an immersive experience for the live audience, a completely different approach for WEC.”

New education sessions will focus on industry insights post-coronavirus, planning for risk and future business disruptions, business agility and acumen and personal wellness, Gregg says.

Keynote speakers David Allison, Shabnam Mogharabi and Ben Nemtin are still scheduled to speak to conference attendees. Conference planners are also adding an industry leaders panel.

Sponsors and partners will have expanded ways to connect with both live and online audiences. One of WEC’s signature components, the Hosted Buyer program, is expanding to live and online appointments.

MPI Coronavirus Education: Unite for Recovery

“We will still have memorable offsite opening and closing events throughout the region, streaming live to our online attendees,” Gregg says.

The President’s Dinner, which honors outgoing chapter leaders and the Industry Leader Award recipient, will also take place. Terri Breining, who has spent more than three decades in the meeting industry as an educator, consultant and facilitator, is this year’s Industry Leader recipient.

The MPI Foundation’s Rendezvous event is also still scheduled to take place.

Translation services for participants from around the world will be available in order to hear the content in their own language.

Pricing for the live experience has been lowered while offering a virtual registration option to expand the audience.

Van Deventer adds that MPI fully recognizes that every individual’s situation is in flux right now—between job losses, company travel freezes, etc.—and MPI is offering a refund exchange to accommodate anyone who registers to attend WEC live.

He says there is a pent-up desire and demand for face to face.

“I feel it in myself, and I hear it from our community,” Van Deventer says. “While people may be getting by through engaging in virtual experiences, the desire to engage again face to face is there. Understandably, there is likely going to be a hesitancy at first, similar to what I experienced the first time I boarded a plan after 9/11, but I believe that the desire to socialize, to interact, will overcome any hesitancy. Our government and our destinations are going to be putting the right procedures in place to protect us and as an industry we will work hard to rebuild confidence.”

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