How Groups Are Celebrating Global Meetings Industry Day

April 7, 2021

Always a great opportunity to celebrate the importance of face-to-face gatherings big and small, Global Meetings Industry Day takes on added significance this year. Just as last year’s all-virtual celebration was a reflection of the pandemic’s beginnings, planned meetings this Thursday, April 8, offer a preview of the future.

Created by the Meetings Mean Business Coalition in 2016, GMID 2021 “represents a milestone in the safe return of major in-person events and for the people, communities and cities who rely on them,” according to Coalition representatives. Events will occur on three continents, including North America, where the momentum continues to build for in-person trade shows, conferences and other events.

Fittingly, celebrations in the United States reflect the different stages of recovery. Some will be virtual-only, while others will include small gatherings augmented by digital audiences (aka hybrid events). Regardless of the manner in which they meet, groups will be highlighting the importance of face-to-face meetings, citing talking points such as these:

  • Prior to the pandemic, in-person meetings and events supported 5.9 million American jobs and spurred hundreds of billions of dollars in annual revenue.
  • Eight in ten Americans who attended in-person meetings and conventions before the pandemic miss doing so and are just as likely — if not more likely — to attend them in the future.
  • There is increasing recognition among employers, even after adapting to the digital workplace, that face-to-face interaction is necessary for building teams, networking effectively and growing the bottom line at a rate that can’t be replicated by a Zoom call.

Here is a look at what’s on tap for Thursday.

MPI GMID Virtual—Livestream

MPI is presenting 12 hours of content from 6 a.m.– 6 p.m. designed to educate planners and suppliers on effective ways to conduct safe meetings going forward. A virtual photo booth will help the digital audience feel connected.

A marquee attraction, being shared with other events held that day, is a panel discussion involving industry leaders including:

  • Julie Coker, president & CEO, San Diego Tourism Authority
  • Michael Massari, chief sales officer, Caesars Entertainment
  • Carina Bauer, CEO, IMEX
  • Paul VanDeventer, CEO, MPI
  • Annette Gregg, senior vice president of experience, MPI

Behind the Curtain: Planning a “Meet Safe” Meeting—New York City

New York & Company CEO Fred Dixon, who is also Meetings Mean Business Coalition co-chairman, will kick off this 2.5-hour event with an industry update. Dixon will then participate in a panel featuring corporate and association planners, as well key figures discussing the future of hotels, diversity and technology. The event will be held virtually via Encore Chime and in-person at the Conrad New York Downtown. It is complementary to all event and hospitality professionals, who are eligible for one hour’s worth of CPU credits for attending.

Caesars Meets Advocacy—Livestream

Caesars Entertainment, interested in showcasing its sparkling Caesars Forum and other properties, is hosting a media FAM trip, including meals and tours. The group will watch the MPI-affiliated panel discussion as well. The event is being livestreamed via Facebook Live.

MPI North Florida at Daytona

This chapter, located in one of the country’s most open states, is going to the races with a day at the Daytona International Speedway. The location highlights the need for unique venues with open spaces while touching on the risky business that are events. Attendees will hear from industry professionals on how to plan for risk and crisis in large-scale events and engage in hands-on, unforgettable training experiences.

PCMA and MPI Kansas City

PCMA’s heartland chapter and MPI Kansas City are hosting a live volunteer event at the Loews Kansas City Hotel. Attendees will form an assembly line to create 500 bags of goods to benefit a local charity, Operation Breakthrough, which focuses on servicing the needs of underserved children in the Kansas City area.

PMCA Capital Chapter

Naturally, efforts in Washington, D.C. center on lobbying. Virtual visits with Capitol Hill staff are scheduled all week. On Thursday, the Capital chapter is teaming up with its Midwest counterpart for a two-hour online gathering that includes esteemed panelists such as Elliott Ferguson, president & CEO of Destination DC and Amy Calvert, CEO of Events Industry Council.

Event Leadership Institute

Howard Givner, founder of the Event Leadership Institute, will lead a 90-minute webinar from 1 p.m.–2:30 p.m. EST. Discussing the future of trade shows and other large events will be:

  • Kathryn Frankson, director of marketing, Informa
  • Tavar James, director, head of experiential marketing, Equitable
  • Brian Morrissey, founder, The Rebooting
  • Nico van Praag, senior vice president of global integrated experience strategy, Freeman Company

GMID MPI Minnesota—Minneapolis, MN

Bonnie Carlson, president and CEO of Bloomington Convention & Visitors Bureau and MPI’s incoming president will introduce a special message from Gov. Tim Walz during the 2.5-hour bruncheon at Omni Viking Lakes Hotel. Dayna Frank, CEO of First Avenue Productions, will deliver a keynote and then a panel representing different elements of the industry discussing the myriad challenges ahead.

San Francisco Hospitality Grand Slam

San Francisco Travel, Giants Enterprises, Hartmann Studios, Certain and numerous Bay Area meeting and event association chapters will meet remotely. San Francisco Giants Multimedia Producer and Reporter Amy Gutierrez will moderate a discussion centered on the return of gatherings. Bay Area-based panelists will include:

  • Edward Perotti, global director of field events, Pure Storage
  • Jody Brandes, group manager, Genentech
  • Leslie Hasvold, corporate event marketing director, Splunk

Incentive Live, Tucson, Arizona

Northstar Meetings Group is holding a three-day event, April 7-9, at Loews Ventana Canyon Resort. The corporate-centric event includes well known speakers like Julie Branstrom, owner/president of Vista Meetings & Incentives; Stephanie Harris, president of the Incentive Research Foundation; David Peckinpaugh, president of Maritz Global Events, and more.

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Caesars Entertainment strode into 2022 with its sights set on making the year one of innovation and renovation for the Empire as the company announced a $400 million, Las Vegas-style makeover for its Atlantic City properties. The master plan for the company’s three East Coast properties -- Caesars, Harrah’s, and Tropicana -- involves interior renovations, new celebrity dining concepts, and more to create the ultimate seaside conference destination.