Meeting Professionals International has created a frequently-asked-questions document and a comparison chart for its members—aimed at both meeting planners and suppliers—about the differences between its World Education Conference, taking place in Orlando July 23–26, and the inaugural IMEX America, a new that launches October 11–13 in Las Vegas.
MPI announced last October that it would discontinue its trade show at WEC in 2011 when it became a “strategic partner” in IMEX America, organized by the IMEX Group of Expositions, which also hosts a trade show every May in Frankfurt, Germany. MPI states that “we believe that both events can provide significant value to our members and encourage those that are able, to attend both.”
The core differences between the two events lie in whether planners who want to attend as hosted buyers plan domestic or international meetings, the requirements of the hosted-buyer programs, and the format for the educational offerings, according to the MPI document. In a comparison chart, entitled “WEC and IMEX America: What’s the best fit for me?,” MPI recommends that meeting planner members who plan domestic programs attend WEC and not IMEX. MPI also recommends to supplier members who have less than $10,000 to spend at a live event to attend WEC rather than IMEX in 2011.
Here are some other major differences:
- MPI’s WEC will offer 12.75 hours of “customized content,” at beginner, intermediate, and advanced levels, versus the “MeetDifferent concept” (the brand developed for MPI’s winter conferences, now discontinued), which will be offered during MPI’s nine hours of education at IMEX. That content will be “built around getting ahead of current trends and finding things that are bold, new to the industry, and pushing boundaries,” according to Theresa Davis, MPI’s director of strategic communications. WEC education takes place over three days and the IMEX program will take place the day before the trade show opens and each morning of the show.
- Hosted buyers at WEC will be required to have ten-minute appointments with 15 suppliers, which will be in a non-trade show setting. At IMEX, 30-minute appointments are required, which take place on the show floor. According to IMEX, hosted buyers visit an average of 24 booths. Hosted buyers at IMEX must plan meetings internationally, and 80 percent of them will be from North America; 20 percent from outside North America. Qualified hosted buyers receive complimentary registration, airfare, and hotel at both shows.
- WEC will offer “many more intimate and collegial ways to network and build relationships” than IMEX will, according to MPI.
- IMEX plans to attract 2,000 hosted buyers and 2,000 non-hosted buyers, as well as about 4,000 suppliers and guests, for a total of 8,000 people, while MPI expects to attract a total of 3,000 people to its annual WEC.
For more details, visit the MPI Web site.