As I write this, I’m sitting in the Indiana Convention Center for MPI’s 2018 World Education Congress. What an amazing experience. My hometown is definitely putting on a good show for everyone, complete with perfect weather and a warm, Hoosier hospitality welcome!

This year, WEC introduced a new design concept with four separate villages: social, innovation, leadership and experiential. Attendees can choose from a variety of education sessions that range in length. Huddles and assemblies are held within the villages, while the longer workshops are in separate meeting spaces. Throughout the villages are suppliers and activities, making for a completely dynamic experience. You can listen to a speaker, connect with colleagues, snuggle with puppies, participate in a little CSR activity and pick up information on meeting destinations all in one huge space. The education sessions are covering very timely subjects, and I’m loving the event app with polls and social-media capabilities, as well as the pep rallies that keep the energy in the crowd up.

At today’s news conference, preliminary numbers were released along with news on MPI’s plans moving forward in 2018 and beyond:

  • 2,200 attendees are in attendance
  • Attendees are about 50% planners and 50% suppliers
  • 250 chapter leaders are in attendance
  • Individuals are here from 35 countries
  • 1,000 individuals are attending the conference online through MPI’s virtual pass
  • MPI is partnering with NYU for a survey on inclusivity, with the goal of creating a new inclusivity certificate program
  • MPI has published an essential guide to safety and security, which includes 400 best practices; it’s free for MPI members and $49 for nonmembers

Are you attending, as well? What has your experience been like?

Benchmark is adding Washington's Skamania Lodge to its portfolio of resorts and hotels.

 

Aventri, a leader in events management software (EMS), recently released ‘The Top 100 Meeting and Event Venues in the United States’ for 2019. The company took the ten top-rated meeting and event cities in the United States and picked the top ten venues in each area, compiling a list of 100 highly-regarded spaces. 

The guide identifies the two most valuable factors in attendee satisfaction as venue location and activities in the host city, followed by capacity, uniqueness and proximity to local attractions.

 

Visit Seattle experienced record-breaking tourism in 2018, with downtown Seattle hotel occupancies above 80 percent despite a 2,934-room increase with new hotel openings in 2018 and 2019. Meetings and conventions bookings peaked at 691,163 total room nights booked in 2018.