On the opening day of its 2012 World Education Congress in St. Louis, Meeting Professionals International held a press conference to announce a partnership with the Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association International. For the first time, the associations have agreed to provide one another with education at select events.
A second press conference, which had been scheduled in order to announce a partnership agreement between MPI and the Global Business Travel Association, was cancelled. That partnership is still in the works, said MPI COO and acting interim CEO Cindy D’Aoust, but with GBTA having just held its annual meeting in Boston last week, there wasn’t sufficient time to hammer out the details. “Look for an announcement within 60 days,” she said.
To kickoff the MPI–HSMAI partnership, HSMAI is presenting two sessions for suppliers at the 2012 WEC: One in which hoteliers talk about what keeps them up at night, and another on sales and revenue management. Similarly, MPI is developing sessions for meeting professionals who attend HSMAI’s MEET National planner and supplier event, to be held September 5–6 at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, D.C.
At the press conference, D’Aoust said the decision to partner with HSMAI is a result of MPI’s recognition that its “supplier community hadn’t been served to its full potential,” and that HSMAI also realized it had underserved planner members who would appreciate education specific to their needs.
The partnership formalizes what many MPI chapters have already been doing, said D’Aoust. Fran Brasseux, HSMAI’s executive vice president, added that there were 40 chapters already holding some sort of joint event. D’Aoust said, “Not all of our 21,000-plus members can come to the WEC, so this lets us complement WEC with regional speakers. We have a duty to bring greater value to our members without making them join other organizations.”
MPI officials emphasized that this was just the first phase of an effort to better serve its members, and that the organization is continuing to look for more partnerships, particularly those that provide members with more regional education opportunities.