State of the Industry

By Amy Zelinsky, CMP | A to Z Meetings & Events

The month of January is often a time to look to the future, to prepare for the coming year. MPISCC embraces that opportunity with its annual State of the Industry meeting, this year held on January 30 at the Pasadena Convention Center. The meeting this year welcomed incoming MPI chairwoman and director of corporate travel & meetings at Enterprise Holdings, Amanda Armstrong. Named one of the “25 Most Influential People in the Meetings Industry in 2017” by Successful Meetings Magazine, Amanda delivered a wealth of knowledge to the chapter.

The day began with a senior planner master class, a roundtable-style discussion in which seasoned industry professionals – planners and suppliers alike – shared their experiences on a myriad issues. Analysis of the attendee experience branched into discussions on unique ways to invite attendees; the necessity and challenges of communicating the value of face to face meetings; and fresh ways to enable attendees to network. The intimate session was attended by approximately 20 senior industry professionals and the depth of conversation was enlightening.

A networking reception in the ballroom foyer followed the master class. Always an invaluable portion of the monthly program, this month’s addition of a volunteer fair offered opportunities to connect with the chapter and its members on a deeper level. Representatives from the different departments – from membership to communications to education – were on hand to explain the various ways in which members can enhance their involvement in the chapter, and therefore increase their ROI.

From the networking reception, attendees were welcomed into the ballroom for the lunch and keynote session. The Pasadena Convention Center brought its “A-game,” serving delicious food and showcasing their standard high level of customer service. After reviewing some of the chapter’s upcoming events and highlighting our CMPs, CMMs, and long-standing members, Amanda was introduced to offer insights on the year to come. Her welcoming and approachable nature immediately lured you in as she regaled the audience with a brief yet intriguing history on her rise through the industry and MPI. Growing up in Colorado, outdoor activities such as skiing, rock climbing and hiking became second nature, and instilled in her a passion to explore and experience adventure. She earned a degree in international relations at the University of Colorado, studied abroad, and landed a position with a luxury travel company. There, she honed logistical and operational skills while traveling all over the world before landing with Enterprise in 2007. Wanting to round out her meetings industry education, Amanda turned to MPI for its vast educational resources. As her professional career grew, so did her career within MPI.

The overarching theme of Amanda’s presentation was a focus on the industry’s growth – slow, but steady growth, and the incomparable value of face to face meetings. While some of the benefits of face to face meetings are tangible, many of course are not. A few key points:

  • Interactive and engaging relationship-building experiences not possible online
  • Every dollar invested in face to face meetings realizes $9.50 in new revenue and produces $2.90 in profit
  • One hour of face to face contact equals
    • (5) video conferences
    • (10) phone calls
    • (20) emails

Amanda also shared some of what MPI International has been focused on lately, such as the development of the MPI Diversity & Inclusion Task Force, whose goal is to understand multicultural communities in the meetings industry and help foster an environment of education and inclusion. One of Amanda’s passions as chairwoman will be challenging members to get involved, acknowledging that devoting time, energy and knowledge in MPI is means investing in not only the industry, but yourself as well.

Photos courtesy of Auburn Ct. Media 


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