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April 16, 2008
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MPI redesigns conference to unite events industry




In a radical move to break down the boundaries that exist in the events industry, MPI has revamped its annual educational event.

In a launch to the global meetings and incentive travel community at EIBTM 2007 in Barcelona yesterday, Didier Scaillet, MPI vice-president of global development, revealed that the Professional Education Conference (PEC) – Europe was no more, replaced by the European Meetings and Events Conference 2008, the first international meetings and events industry educational event hosted in London.

Facing the press with Scaillet were David Hornby, commercial director of London marketing body Visit London, and Vanessa Cotton, managing director, conferences and events at ExCeL London, where the new event is due to be held from 18 to 20 April next year.

Describing the event, Scaillet promised: “The new approach taken by MPI to design and execute what is now the largest pan-European educational conference for meetings professionals will offer a more relevant, engaging and elevating experience for participants.

“The conference is being ‘co-created’ around what meeting and event professionals need to be successful in today’s – and tomorrow’s – global marketplace,” he continued. “Industry leaders have identified critical experiences that will become the basis for the design and delivery of the conference in a way that offers unprecedented value to the industry.”

The conference will also be the first industry event to implement the BS 8901 sustainable event standard.

“This will be the most sustainable event that MPI has ever hosted,” said Cotton. “We are committed to recycling 100% of the waste it produces.”

Meanwhile, Hornby was keen to stress that the emphasis was to deliver new people to the MPI community. Using London’s position as a global financial and business capital, it will seek to reach out to individuals and organisations that could benefit from the event’s educational programme, but that may not currently consider themselves members of the meetings industry. Hornby gave the example of marketing and public relations departments of large corporations that were involved in organising internal and external meetings and events. He stressed MPI, Visit London and ExCeL London had joined forces to target this audience.

“We have set up a marketing committee with subgroups attacking sectors to spread awareness,” he said. “We are also keen to attract experience marketing agencies like Sledge and Jack Morton Worldwide, which organise corporate events, but, once again, don’t necessarily consider themselves part of the meetings industry.”

MPI hopes this bold move will swell its delegate numbers from the 500 who attended last year’s PEC Europe to around 800.

“In line with the strategy to make this event the largest meetings industry conference in Europe targeting MPI members and non-members, a number of associations have agreed to support and partner with the conference, including ABPCO [the Association of British Professional Conference Organisers], BACD [the British Association of Conference Destinations], Eventia, SITE, MIA, EIA [the Events Industry Alliance] and ISES [the International Special Events Society],” explained Scaillet.

The emphasis of the educational programme will be on “practical education”, he added. “MPI members already have well developed organising skills, so we will be helping them acquire new skills in areas such as leadership, emotional intelligence and sustainability – issues that keep executives awake at night.”

The new event will use a number of venues in East London. As well as ExCeL London, supporting events will be held at the new and highly popular O2 (formerly the Dome), the Painted Hall in Greenwich and Vinopolis in the London Bridge area.

“We’ll be showcasing everything that’s special about London, juxtaposing new venues alongside heritage sites,” commented Cotton.

Registration for the European Meetings and Events Conference 2008 is now open. For more details, visit www.mpiweb.org
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