Friday, September 4, 2015

MPI hits a San Francisco Home Run

Hello MPI, welcome to San Francisco.  Wellness rating 4.8/5.  With a hotel approximately a ten minute walk from Moscone, each day started and ended with relatively fresh air, natural light and exercise, all lovely.  The opening general session began with brunch, and instead of lunch on this day, guests instead at the first break after noon had a selection of light smoothies and salads to carry them through their afternoon sessions.  While unusual, if you had read ahead and were prepared for this it was an experiment that worked.

As you can see to the left they also offered guests emergency information as part of this opening general session and while this is something we see more often at meetings, it was something I saw rarely in the series of meetings I attended this summer. Good job MPI!

As always MPI is an excellent blend of the people we get to see, with thoughtful sessions geared for planners and a willingness to experiment with formats.  As noted above there was brunch, but on the days when lunch was served it too was lightened up with a healthy salad and protein with a side of rolls for those who still wanted their carbs with lunch.  Overall the people I ate with were a-ok to eat on site as they often would at home.

For me, I had anticipated the keynote James Curleigh, the CEO of Levis as I had originally met him in 2010 when we created (at Cantrav) one of the most sustainable, fun and thoughful programs I have had the pleasure to be part of in his previous role. A great memory of this program was my first meeting with JC in the office and understanding how authentically he lives his brand stories and I knew this would have continued at Levis. Indeed he did not disappoint as he shared what they have done with Levis to continue to grow this brand, with its history, into the future.  There were lessons for all here in his message, but also in the way the entire general session was crafted to include the brunch, a "what's in your bag" scavenger hunt where each table worked together with lots of laughs, great music and visuals with RoonieG, Dave Sharpe as the MC, and while it didn't feel contrived, it felt like good organized fun.  This is much harder to achieve than it seemed!

After good learning, another great mobile app experience with QuickMobile, spending time with friends and co-hosting a very fun evening at Urban Putt for local and MPI guests with our fabulous partners-in-fun Sonic Foundry and PRG it was time to wrap it all up.

As MPI celebrated with Guy Fieri and the Jersey Boys the decision to go in June 2016 to Atlantic City, what happened with spontaneous dancing in the aisles could again not have been scripted but absolutely added to the joie de vivre of this event.  With a wrap up at City Hall they again reminded MPI members and guests why this is one of the must-attend events each year for our industry!

The audience joins the lunch tim

Thursday, September 3, 2015

GBTA Mobile - SMMP and more

GBTA Wellness Rating was increased this year by their planning team's focus on ensuring that 5,000 participants had a lunch that would carry them through the afternoon, and with salad, a "light" starch and lean protein along with a lighter dessert being served up each day, they met their mission.  It was also easy to get in 10,000 steps within the meeting, even if nearly everyone opted for the shuttle busses to get there - a decision that made sense given the July heat and humidity in Orlando.


It is always fun to be at a booth when we have also made the app for the meeting, and what a nice mobile app GBTA has for their guests.  Simple in the functionality chosen, it highlights the sessions, makes it easy to build a schedule and ultimately made it easy to navigate this multi-faceted and large trade show space.  You have to love a great partnership!
We know how much our reliance on mobile has impacted the way we make travel and buying decisions, the way we manage our lives, expenses, parking, teams, lists and so much more.  There were many sessions which reminded us of this, and shared strategies for businesses moving forward in this new age. It is our practical reality.  All in all this is a meeting which focuses on the business of meetings, the efficiencies and processes and this definitely ties in.
There were also many excellent speakers, and a personal favorite (not for the first time) is Steve Wozniak aka The Woz, who when being interviewed is always delightful as he spreads his energy to every part of his life and to each time he is in front of an audience.  

If you notice on the top left corner this screen often held a snapshot of all the production screens running this show.  As the girl who prefers to view the session (and be in control) from the tech riser, I liked seeing what was happening in a backstage snapshot.  While not appropriate for every group, it worked here.  Overall the general sessions were well-paced and the speakers excellent, always a challenge when you have a group of this size, a certain amount of association business that has to happen from the stage, and a terrific lineup of speakers for a demanding audience, and they met it with grace.

Until next year...