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From the Editor

From the Editor: Defining Your Community


We all know that smartphone in your hand right now—yep, the one on which you may be reading the digital edition of The Meeting Professional—is one heck of a powerful tool. It’s millions of times more powerful than the computers NASA used nearly 50 years ago to land humans on the moon for the first time.

We’re connected to our smartphones virtually 24/7—when we’re working, when we’re not supposed to be working. We sure love it when our smartphones help make our lives easier and don’t like them so much when they crash on us or take more than a second to tell us what we want to know.

For meeting and event industry professionals, technology is a conundrum. The power and value of what we do is about face to face, not screen to screen. Yet, we are increasingly discovering new ways to utilize technology to make our jobs easier, faster and more impactful for our members and attendees.

Our latest quarterly Meetings Outlook research, sponsored by MGM Resorts International, reaffirms our love-hate relationship with technology. Planners are reporting an increased focus on personalizing the user experience through technology and data collection in a landscape of continued growth.

When asked which technologies are taking precedence, respondents from the Business Research Panel overwhelmingly cited apps, mentioned by nearly 28 percent. Other technologies viewed as particularly important were automated registration (17.4 percent) and social media marketing and communications, augmented reality/virtual reality and data collection and mining (all cited by 9.3 percent). 

Our report also shows that safety and security is now the No. 1 trend in Meetings Outlook for the first time, with 44 percent of meeting planners saying it trumps all other factors in selecting a destination, with some meeting professionals looking to personalization technology to keep attendees safe. Many personalization solutions that are already being used, such as RFID badges, have potential applications for security. 

Of course, we still yearn for the power of face-to-face meetings and events. What’s clear is that technology is continuing to impact how we deliver successful meetings and events.

Here are some other must-read reports in this month’s issue. 

• Meetings, conferences and events are “The Perfect Storm” for sexual harassment to take place, says Courtney Stanley, a speaker, writer and business strategist. She and other industry professionals give insight into this important topic. 

• As part of our ongoing coverage of human trafficking, David Peckinpaugh (MPI Heartland Chapter), president of Maritz Global Events, has contributed a powerful perspective on this issue. “I strongly believe that every single one of us in the travel industry is responsible for increasing awareness of and putting an end to human trafficking. Our strong network of travelers, hotels, suppliers and employees are in unique positions to be the eyes and ears needed to help victims.” 

• It’s been a tough time for California—fires, flooding and mudslides—and Akemi Shapiro (MPI Southern California Chapter), who is on the cover this month, shares her story of the impact to meetings and events in the Ventura-Santa Barbara area. Our report, “Standing Together”, also catches up with industry professionals in Northern California recovering from the fires in Napa Valley and surrounding areas. 

• The World Education Congress (WEC) is just four months away. In “Mission: Education”, meet speaker Alex Plaxen (MPI Potomac Chapter) who is determined to help industry professionals understand the intricacies of social media. Join him in the Social Village at WEC, June 2-5 in Indianapolis ( Learn more about Indianapolis in “Get Connected”. We hope to see you there. 

Enjoy this month’s issue and thank you for your support of MPI and The Meeting Professional.

Until next time … 

Watch MPItv videos in our digital edition ( to learn more about our reports on Meetings Outlook, “Standing Together” and “The Perfect Storm.”

About the Author

Rich Luna

Rich Luna is director of publishing for MPI and editor in chief of The Meeting Professional.