Kevin Hinton, executive vice president of Associated Luxury Hotels International, shares his big-picture plans for the coming year as he steps into the role of chairman for MPI’s 2012-2013 international board of directors.
Kevin Hinton began his career in the hospitality industry in operations at the Chicago Hilton and Towers in the mid-1990s. Just before Y2K, he went to work with Dave Hinton (his father) and Bill Grusich at hinton+grusich, a national sales organization. In 2011, hinton+grusich merged with Associated Luxury Hotels International, where he currently heads up the global sales specialists team and is growing the group’s international membership among hotels and convention bureaus.
He joined MPI in 2000 and has served in a volunteer role since then: chapter newsletter editor, board member, president; chair of the International Chapter Leadership Committee; and a member of MPI’s international board of directors (since 2008).
What are your goals as chairman for the coming year of MPI?
We serve a diverse community and we are all connected to MPI and each other in unique ways. Each member derives value differently and our biggest challenge is in knowing how to deliver on our promise to each and every member. As the largest global community of meeting and event professionals, MPI is uniquely positioned to provide a voice for the business and human value of meetings, and I’d like us to be the ones telling our story rather than having it told by outsiders.
We have a responsibility to help define a clearer message and will be developing talking points about why the meeting industry is vital to every community and how each meeting professional—planner and supplier alike—has a role in getting our message out so that we can continue to bring people together in meaningful ways to learn, connect and do business.
For our suppliers, we have to make it easy to see MPI as a place they can come to find business opportunities. Last year, we had more planners than suppliers at the World Education Congress and many were there for the first time. For Associated Luxury Hotels International, the hosted buyer program was extremely valuable—we need to continue to deliver superb member marketplace opportunities specifically to help our suppliers.
MPI’s 71 chapters and clubs are a unique business that is the primary source of engagement for our members. Our international board members have visited more than 50 chapters in the last year as part of the Chapter Connect program and we are absolutely committed to continuing this open communication with chapter leaders and members so that we can support each chapter to thrive in its community.
What are the biggest challenges you see facing MPI and members of the meeting industry?
Despite recent and compelling validation of the importance and business value of face-to-face meetings as well as the economic impact we create in communities around the world, we still lack a strong voice outside of the industry and we need to change that. MPI can not only help members become better advocates for how their organizations grow through meetings, but also collectively tell the story of the meeting industry externally.
No longer can we laugh off “no one in my family understands what I do” comments. There are literally millions of professionals working hard in a thriving global meeting industry—why is that so hard to understand? Again, we need to change the dialogue—that will be done partly through a new Strategic Communications Task Force.
Which MPI initiatives or endeavors are you most interested in promoting to meeting professionals?
I think that developing talking points for members and chapter leaders will be extremely valuable so that we can engage local government and business leaders as well as meeting attendees in a meaningful dialogue around the value of meetings and how through the medium of meetings we create economic impact and change the world together.
MPI has developed a career landscape that will be unveiled to offer all meeting professionals a career path to help them ascertain where they are and where they want to go in this industry. There are multiple steps with specific certifications to support the required skills development for advancement including the Global CMP. The skills a young planner needs aren’t the same skills he or she will need as a manager, which aren’t the same skills needed as the individual moves into a more strategic role later in his or her career. The career landscape is designed to help members more effectively and efficiently understand what skills they need and how to go about gaining those skills.
This career landscape is part of a greater goal to create a more cohesive community, investing and supporting individual chapters so they can thrive, which makes the entire global community more successful, empowering MPI and its members to increase their voice and position in the global community of professionals. One+
future of meetings,
One+ July 2012