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.

Add new comment

Partner Voices
Less than six months ago, Lisa Messina joined the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA) as the first-ever chief sales officer after leading the sales team at Caesars Entertainment. A 12-year Las Vegas resident, Messina is a graduate of Cornell University’s School of Hotel Administration and serves on MPI International’s board of directors. TSNN had a chance to catch up with this dynamic leader and talk to her about her vision for the new role, current shifts in the trade show industry, creating more diversity and equity within the organization, and advice to future female leaders. Lisa Messina, Chief Sales Officer, LVCVA With Las Vegas becoming The Greatest Arena on EarthTM, what are some of the things you’re most excited about in your role? Our team was at The Big Game’s handoff ceremony earlier this month, and I couldn’t help but think, “We’re going to crush it next year!”  These high-profile events and venues not only drive excitement, but also provide unmatched opportunities for event planners. Allegiant Stadium hosts events from 10 to 65,000 people and offers on-field experiences. Formula 1 Grand Prix will take place in Las Vegas in November, after the year-one F1 race, the four-story paddock building will be available for buyouts and will also offer daily ride-along experiences that will be available for groups. And, of course, the MSG Sphere officially announced that it will open in September, ahead of schedule, with a U2 residency. It’s going to be the most technologically advanced venue as far as lighting, sound, feel, and even scent, and it will be available for buyouts and next-level sponsorships inside and outside. There’s no ceiling to what you can do when you’re doing events in Las Vegas.  Allegiant Stadium As the trade show and convention business returns to the pre-pandemic levels, what shifts are you noticing and how do you think they will impact the industry going forward? Our trade show organizers are very focused on driving customer experience. Most of our organizers are reporting stronger exhibitor numbers and increased numbers of new exhibitors, with trade shows proving to be almost or above 2019 levels. Now our organizers are really doubling down on driving attendance and focusing on the data to provide that individualized, customized experience to help attendees meet their goals and get the best value. Some companies continue to be cautiously optimistic with their organizational spend when it comes to sending attendees, but I think it will continue to improve. As the U.S. Travel Association makes more progress on the U.S. visa situation, we also expect a growing influx of international attendees. What are some innovative ways the LVCVA helps trade show and convention organizers deliver the most value for their events? We focus on customer experience in the same way that trade show organizers are thinking about it. We got rave reviews with the West Hall Expansion of the Las Vegas Convention Center (LVCC), so over the next two years, we will be renovating the North and the Central halls, which will include not just the same look and feel, but also the digital experiences that can be leveraged for branding and sponsorship opportunities.  Vegas Loop, the underground transportation system designed by The Boring Company, is also a way we have enhanced the customer experience. Vegas Loop at the LVCC has transported more than 900,000 convention attendees across the campus since its 2021 launch. Last summer, Resorts World and The Boring Company opened the first resort stop at the Resorts World Las Vegas , with plans to expand throughout the resort corridor, including downtown Las Vegas, Allegiant Stadium and Harry Reid International Airport. The LVCVA also purchased the Las Vegas Monorail in 2020, the 3.9-mile-long elevated transportation system that connects eight resorts directly to the convention center campus. This is the only rail system in the world that integrates fares directly into show badges and registration. For trade show organizers, these transportation options mean saving time, money and effort when it comes to moving groups from the hotels to LVCC and around the city. Also, the more we can focus on building the infrastructure around the convention center, the more it supports the customer experience and ultimately supports our trade show organizers. Scheduled to debut in Q4, Fontainebleau Las Vegas will offer 3,700 hotel rooms and 550,000 square feet of meeting and convention space next to LVCC.  What are some of the plans for advancing DEI (diversity, equity and inclusion) within your organization? We’re currently partnering with instead of working with a leading consulting firm, to lay the foundation and create a solid DEI plan and be the leader when it comes to DEI initiatives. The heart of that journey with the consulting firm is also talking to our customers about their strategic approaches to DEI and driving innovation in this space.  What are your favorite ways to recharge? My husband and I have an RV and we’re outdoorsy people. So, while we have over 150,000 world-class hotel rooms and renowned restaurants right outside our doorstep, one of my favorite things to do is get out to Red Rock Canyon, the Valley of Fire, and Lake Mead. Five of the top national parks are within a three-hour drive from Las Vegas, so there’s a lot you can do. We love balancing the energy of Las Vegas with nature, and we’re noticing that a lot of attendees add activities off the Strip when they come here.  Valley of Fire What advice would you give to women following leadership paths in destination marketing? I think it’s about being laser-focused on what you want to accomplish; building a team around you that lifts you and helps you achieve your goals; and being humble and realizing that you do it as a group. No one gets this done alone. Thankfully, there are a lot of women in leadership in this organization, in our customers’ organizations, and in this city that we can be really proud of. We’re a formidable force that is making things happen.   This interview has been edited and condensed. This article is exclusively sponsored by the Las Vegas Convention & Visitors Authority. For more information, visit HERE.