Nearly 200 planners and hospitality partners made the beautiful drive from Salt Lake City up into the Wasatch Range to arrive the Montage Deer Valley, the three-year-old mountainside resort that hosted this year’s Financial & Insurance Conference Planners Education Forum June 12–14.

FICP Investment Pays Dividends
At the opening general session, FICP Chair Kelli Livers, CMP, director, travel and administrative services, Forethought Financial Group, welcomed the crowd, citing FICP’s accomplishments in 2012. The list is long and begins with growth to record membership, a trend that is continuing into 2013. Total membership now stands at 639 planners. The growth isthe result of several factors: small, local events called FICP Connects that are designed tointroduce prospective members to the networking and educational benefits of membership; the time and effort of a dedicated membership committee; and a corporate departmentincentive program that allows additional planners from the same company to join at a reduced rate.

Another major investment was in the redesign of the FICP Web site, incorporating The Network, an online community where meeting planners and hospitality partnerscreate profiles and interact with each other in discussion groups.

Now that membership is going gangbusters, of course, new questions arise: How will the association maintain its uniqueness, intimacy, and value to members and HPers as it grows? “Our growth will ensure the diversity and viability of FICP,” Livers said, noting that members from financial-only firms have greatly increased their presence, now representing more than one-quarter of members.

Livers and FICP Executive Director Steve Bova, who took the stage next, emphasized that the association’s strategy will be guided by the FICP board of directors and Hospitality Partner Advisory Committee as well as by regular input and feedback from members. This input comes organically at events and in committees; in addition, Bova explained, “periodically we dive deeper to get data to drive decisions.” To that end, a member needs assessment survey was conducted in May and focus groups will be conducted in the near future.