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Solid Attendance and Superior Fundraising at WEC18


Meeting Professionals International (MPI) and Visit Indy played host to 2,200 planners and suppliers at this year’s World Education Congress (WEC), MPI’s flagship event.

Held June 2-5, 2018 at the Indianapolis Convention Center and Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, Indiana, attendance at the completely reimagined conference was down 13.6 per cent from WEC 2017, which was held in Las Vegas, Nevada, but up 10 per cent over WEC 2016 (Atlantic City, NJ) and WEC 2014 (Minneapolis, MN). However, WEC18 fund-raising initiatives garnered substantially more support than they did at WEC 2017.

MPI reports that 39 per cent of registrants were first-time WEC attendees, and 77 per cent were members of the association. And, while the majority of attendees were from the United States (89 per cent) and Canada (five per cent), more than 35 countries were represented at WEC18. The planner to supplier ratio was split nearly 50:50 with 49.6 per cent planners and 50.4 per cent suppliers.

On the fund-raising front, MPI Foundation raised more than $450,000 USD, including contributions  from Rendezvous, which had nearly 1,200 participants, and through the Text to Give program. This is a 32 per cent increase over WEC 2017 ($340,000). The funds will go towards scholarships and grants.

The event’s other key fund-raising initiative, the President’s Dinner, drew more than 500 attendees and raised more than $250,000 USD, a nearly 15 per cent increase over the $218,000 raised in 2017. The evening honoured 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 raised will support the MPI Academy in developing fresh and innovative educational programs.

Other key numbers from WEC18 are:

  • 249 MPI chapter leaders in attendance thanks in part to the 2018 MPI Chapter Business Summit being held in conjunction with WEC this year.
  • 203 planners and 138 suppliers in the MPI Hosted Buyer Program, which saw just over 1,800 business appointments conducted in two days
  • 158 supplier exhibitors throughout the WEC Villages (Social, Experiential, Innovation, Leadership)
  • 80 education sessions, allowing attendees to earn up to 11 clock hours
  • 1,000 unique users registered for the WEC18 Virtual Pass Program, which featured select sessions from each day of the conference. Eighty-four per cent were planners and 59 per cent were MPI members.

Major new initiatives announced at WEC 2018 are:

  • MPI’s partnership with Indiana University to enhance the CMM program;
  • MPI’s publication of a meeting planning safety and security guide this month;
  • and MPI’s plan to develop inclusion-focused educational programming, the first step of which is enlisting New York University’s School of Professional Studies Jonathan M. Tisch Center of Hospitality to conduct research for the initiative.

The 2019 World Education Congress will be held June 11-14, 2019 at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.