MPI Get Together, 4th Edition in May!

MPI Get Together, 4th Edition in May!

i Mar 23rd No Comments by

Join us at the Courtyard by Marriott Brussels to get together with the industry in a fun way. We welcome you on the 8th of May, from 6pm. The past MPI Get Togethers have shown to be successfull and great conversations and ideas have started to emerge from having our members and engagers in an informal setting.

Location

Registration

Want to become the a partner for one of our next Get Togethers? Contact Pieter Allaerts at president@mpi-belgium.be

eLearning Part II: What to look for when choosing your platform

Choosing your eLearning system can be tricky and time-consuming. To avoid being seduced by functionalities you will never use, you need to be clear on the set of requirements for the system. Think of it as making a shopping list before you go to the grocery store and sticking to it.

Learning Management Systems (LMS) are web-based frameworks that handle all aspects of the learning process, from registration and administration to resource management, content delivery, and reporting and certification management. The right platform for your programme will include all the functionalities you need and at the same time, will meet your budget limitations. If you read our latest blog post on what to consider when designing your eLearning programme, then you know that asking the right questions will get you the right solution.

Let’s run you through the key points to consider when choosing your platform.

Content

Your eLearning platform starts with its content. First, ask yourself whether you are capable of taking care of the recording, post-production (editing) and publishing yourself. If you aren’t, opt for a vendor who can take care of this for you.

Secondly, think about where and how the content should be recorded:

  • Recording conference sessions: A cost-efficient way to provide content for your eLearning programme is to record sessions at a conference or congress you are already organising. You and your colleagues already put a lot of work into finding the right topics and speakers, the presentation slides and talks are ready so why not take advantage of this? At Open Slide & Services we record the presentations at your conference – whether it is in one room or in 30 parallel rooms.
  • Recording content in a studio: Content for the eLearning platform is captured in a studio.
  • A ‘hybrid’ solution: A mix of recorded conference presentations and captured videos such as f.e. an introduction video, a panel discussion or interviews with experts.

Thirdly, contemplate whether you want to publish the presentation with or without a video capture of the speaker.

Course structure and key functionalities

Depending on how much content your course will provide, you probably need a well-structured platform which allows you to create different sessions, with each session containing a range of different presentations. Apart from that, you might want to opt for the following functionalities:

  • Structuring the content into compulsory and optional modules;
  • Fast-forwarding and whether this can be disabled;
  • Resuming presentations when a participant left the presentation mid-course and the ability to start over;
  • The ability to quiz participants.

Progress tracking and certification

In most cases, you will need to reward the participants with a certification at the end of the course. Many LMSs offer the possibility to track participant progress, with the possibility to automatically generate certificates upon course completion. Ask the vendor whether the platform will automatically send out a reminder to participants when the deadline for course completion is coming close.

For participants, tracking their own progress is important as well, we suggest providing participators access to a practical progress overview 1) of the complete course, 2) per session, 3) per presentation.

Back office

Apart from the initial set-up of the platform, you may want to take into account the level of access you want as an administrator. Do you want to be able to take care of creating new modules and uploading new course content yourself or do you prefer to look for a vendor who will provide these services for you? Decide on whether lessons are added only once, on a regular basis or ad hoc.

Usability

It’s important to keep in mind who the target group is: design the eLearning platform so your beneficiaries are confident using it. Even without conducting complex usability studies, you can work to improve user experience and thus increase the programme’s efficiency:

  • Ensure the platform is accessible in browsers and on types of devices your target group is most likely to use;
  • Avoid complicated platforms, keep it easy to navigate;
  • Provide easy and intuitive access to the information available;
  • Avoid unnecessary features.

Pre-launch tip: Get a colleague – who is not involved in the eLearning programme – to test the platform. Was following a course easy? Did any of the features confuse them? Were they able to find all the information they wanted?

Administrative and helpdesk support

Opt for a vendor who will take care of the registration of participants – including the sending of an introduction email – and helpdesk support for your participants. This allows you to decrease your administrative tasks and will make your life easier when it comes to enrolling participants in your eLearning programme.

This blog post is brought to you by Mieke Barbé by Open Slide & Services

Associations Congress in Lausanne – MPI Belgium Discount

i Mar 16th No Comments by

MPI Belgium is happy to announce that members receive a 20% discount by using the code “mpibe” when registering for the International & European Associations Congress in Lausanne, 5-7 May 2015.

Association employee meeting planners can take advantage of the discount of 20% to attend the International & European Associations Congress in Lausanne, 5-7 May, where over 200 association executives from Europe are gathering.

The International & European Associations Congress 2015 is designed specifically for Association Executives who work in International and European membership organisations. There are two dedicated days with 4 streams focusing on issues identified by association employees as most relevant and challenging to them at this time, and a meeting for Association CEOs and Executive Directors the day before.

With a renewed focus on solving issues, this Congress concentrates on delivering detailed insights into methods being adopted to improve and future-proof associations, their membership, events, and other services, on behalf of their members Internationally.

  • A unique opportunity to hear from and spend time with other Association Executives, tapping into a rich resource of relevant expertise
  • Hear from over 30 International association executives all of whom are speaking on methods they have adopted to overcome specific challenges
  • Craft your own programme from a selection of 4 streams developed alongside Associations focusing on the issues you are facing right now, from social media to event strategies
  • Hear expert insights into the role and situation with PCO’s in 2015
  • Themed networking events: grow your community of association contacts for future expertise sharing
  • Attend the 1st ever International Association Awards developed by and for Associations to recognise and reward talent
  • Join a group of Chief Executives to discuss, confidentially, how you can develop and grow your association with a precise approach to development.

MPI Launches Destination Finder for US & Canada Destinations

i Mar 12th No Comments by

Meeting Professionals International (MPI) has partnered with Destination Marketing Association International (DMAI) in an effort to help MPI members and non-members with sourcing locations for meetings and events. MPI recently incorporated the Destination Finder tool, powered by DMAI’s empowerMINT.com, into its website. Through the web portal, meeting professionals can quickly research and compare destinations as well as get connected to contacts at destination marketing organizations – also known as convention and visitors bureaus (CVBs) – representing destinations, hotels and convention facilities throughout the U.S. and Canada.

“MPI strives to help our members be more successful in their careers and to enhance the value that they provide to their customers,” said Paul Van Deventer, president and CEO of MPI. “Destination Finder, powered by empowerMINT.com, is a great example of the type of value-added resource that MPI members have access to.”

empowerMINT.com’s Destination Finder offers extensive information on destinations and CVBs, including details on meeting facilities, CVB services, news, promotions and maps of hotels and venues. Meeting planners can also use the tool to submit questions directly to CVB sales professionals serving a particular market, and send specific meeting requests and RFPs to one or multiple destinations – all for free.

“The robust database enables me to specify properties to receive my request for proposal and I receive timely responses from both the CVBs associated with the program and hotels contacted on my behalf,” said Terrie Rickard, co-founder of Voices of Advocacy. “I have found that I can rely on this tool for reaching new, as well as familiar destinations for all my program needs. empowerMINT.com saves me time, saves me from making several phone calls, and produces great results.”

empowerMINT.com’s latest features include professionally curated news feeds from each destination incorporated directly into their profile page. The feeds keep meeting planners informed about recent renovations, new hotel or facilities development and other offerings specifically relevant to meeting planning.

“Destination sales professionals have had a long history of working with planners to find the right fit for any size meeting. The sales professionals’ unique position as a free resource with unparalleled local expertise, is a tremendous asset for any planner,” said Michael Gehrisch, President and CEO of DMAI. “The newly launched Destination Finder on MPI’s website is just one way of making that expertise widely available and integral to the success of meeting professionals worldwide.”

For more information and to use Destination Finder, visit www.mpiweb.org/destination-finder.

 

eLearning Part I: What to consider when designing your programme

The online learning experience has deeply changed during the last few years, with Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) at the forefront of making knowledge sharing and lifelong learning more accessible and more attractive. More and more organisations are using the available technology to deliver (low-cost) remote learning programs for employees or association members, but how do you get started yourself?

Creating an eLearning programme for your staff or members is a challenge: the variety of models, platforms and the different features that come with each platform can be overwhelming. No need to fear that the information coming at you will mean that you will not see the wood for the trees, if you consider the most important components of a learning programme you will find your way to a tailored solution.

One of our MPI Belgium members outlined four components to consider when designing your eLearning programme: the broad aim, target group, content plan & budget for your eLearning programme. Only after deciding upon these you should start looking at the platforms and features available.

What is the broad aim of your eLearning programme?

The most important component of outlining your eLearning programme is to understand what the broad aim of the courses is. Write out your overall goal, and individual objectives for each (sub)course. Keep in mind your content needs to be relevant and interesting to your target group!

  • Do you want to provide adequate knowledge about a certain procedure and provide certificates for those completing the course?
  • Do you want to provide knowledge about a certain products so that your sales persons can effectively address prospects?

Who are the target audience of the course?

Define your target audience and what it is they should be taking away from completing the course, also think about the technical skills of your target group.

  • Who would be taking the course?
  • What is the knowledge gained from participating in the course?
  • Why will your target audience participate, do you need to provide them with a certificate or license?
  • Does the target group need self-paced courses, taken whenever suits them best?
  • Are eLearning targets equipped with the technical skills for the eLearning programme, and what level of skills do they have?

What content should be shared and in which form?

Have a brainstorm session on what type of content should be shared, how many courses should be created and what the eLearning delivery format for each lesson should be.

Some example questions to ask yourself:

  • What is the content we want to base our programme on? Are we talking about recording speeches and presentations during already existing events (such as a conference or annual meeting presentations) and translating them to an online course? Or are we looking at recording content in a studio?
  • Should the courses be interactive?
  • Do we require compulsory and optional modules?
  • Should content be unlocked gradually or accessible all at once?

What is the budget in place?

Budgets are important in every aspects of your organisation, for your eLearning programme you should ask yourself:

  • How much budget do I want to spend on the IT infrastructure (platform and features)?
  • How much budget should be set apart to create the courseware?

This blog post is brought to you by Mieke Barbé by Open Slide & Services

MPI Names Michael Woody as its New COO

i Mar 3rd No Comments by

Meeting Professionals International (MPI) has announced the selection of industry veteran Michael Woody as its new chief operations officer (COO). In this role, Woody will lead the daily operations and marketing efforts of the association, ensuring the delivery of community-wide member value and brand consistency. He will officially begin the role on March 23, 2015, reporting to MPI president and CEO Paul Van Deventer.

Woody has more than 27 years of experience in the meeting and event, hospitality and tourism industries and is a current, active member of MPI. As COO, he will be responsible for the development and implementation of tactical business plans as well as management of MPI’s events, professional development, chapter business, marketing, communications, and European operations teams. In his current role, Woody serves as the assistant executive director for the Grapevine Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB), the fourth largest budgeted bureau in the State of Texas with an annual operating budget of $24 million. He leads daily operations and oversees a team of more than 150 employees, providing direction, supervision and consultation for all CVB departments including comprehensive sales, marketing, sponsorships, public relations, advertising, festivals and events, convention center operations, and historic planning and preservation initiatives.

“We are very excited to have Michael join the MPI leadership team. He brings a unique blend of passion for MPI and our community, with broad experience across the hospitality and meeting and event industries, including hotels, F &B, publishing and DMOs,” said Van Deventer. “We believe Michael’s strategic planning experience with repositioning American Airlines’ publications and hands-on approach to promoting and differentiating the Grapevine CVB will be instrumental as we continue to grow our association.”

Over the course of his career, Woody has worked in sales, restaurant management, operations, marketing, communications and publishing. In addition to his role at the Grapevine CVB where he served from 1997-2005 and 2012-2015, he held senior leadership positions at American Airlines from 2005 to 2012 including director of art and editorial for the custom publishing and in-flight portfolios and ultimately as publisher of the in-flight portfolio of magazines which included American Way, Celebrated Living and American Airlines Nexos.

“It is indeed an honor to be joining Meeting Professionals International as the new COO. I have had the opportunity to gain tremendous insight over the recent months from many business unit leaders in the organization, the executive team and the board of directors as to where the opportunities are and how this position can help move the needle on so many fronts,” explains Woody. “My focus will be on the core strength of education and connecting planners and suppliers in unique and engaging ways that will increase membership, marketplace relevancy and the value proposition for all MPI members. The team is very passionate about their responsibilities, the organization and the future of MPI. This is an exciting opportunity and I am very anxious to get started!”

Woody is based in the Dallas/Fort Worth area and is an active alumnus of The University of North Texas (UNT). He has served as a member of the UNT College of Merchandising, Hospitality Management & Tourism Board of Governors since 2006 and is currently the board’s chairman. In addition, Woody has served as a guest lecturer for the university’s Hospitality Management & Tourism Department for the past 20 years. He also serves on the board of directors for both the Tarrant County Hotel Association and the Society of American Travel Writers, Central States Chapter.
 

Meeting the needs of allergic event participants

The recent European allergen law forces our sector to inform guests about the presence of allergens in dishes. As MICE professionals we need to comply with these regulations, and as an industry committed to provide excellent experiences we need to learn how to be smart about managing food at events.

Food allergies and intolerances are only getting more common, and we are also seeing an increase in other dietary requests – medical, cultural, religious, or philosophical related. If you understand the various needs, learn the similarities between diets and know how to prepare meals safely, you can learn how to better manage this extra layer of complexity.

Here are a few tips on how to improve your guest satisfaction without losing your mind.

1) Ask in advance

Use your registration software to ask attendees about their dietary needs well in advance of your event. Streamline the process by asking everyone the same information – this includes the speakers, sponsors, exhibitors and staff – and send the dietary requirements to your caterer by simply exporting the information from your registration system. Be specific when asking for dietary requirements (allergic, vegetarian, vegan, gluten free, halal, kosher and more) and ask to specify allergies.

2) Choose the right catering partner

If you decided to ask your attendees for dietary requirements, make sure your catering partner(s) are familiar with creating menus that fit different dietary needs prior to signing a contract.

3) Communicate

Acknowledge you received attendees’ information and explain to them how their needs will be met at the event. Will they receive a special meal voucher, will buffets be labelled or should they contact the caterer on-site?

Take the time to discuss with catering partners how the needs of attendees will be addressed, how to provide last-minute options and how attendees will be communicated with.

4) Think outside of the box and provide alternatives

  • Provide a lunch box with pre-packaged food (as seen on eg. planes).
  • Try to see whether nearby restaurants/shops can accommodate your attendees and provide them with a list of placed they can eat when they check in at the event.
  • Provide an all-day available corner with non-processed items such as fruit, nuts …

Other resources

This post was written for the MPI in Europe blog.