Official announcement of the incredible EMEC 2021 virtual event. First published by Blair Potter, managing editor for The Meeting Professional. Reprinted here for you.


MPI has announced that its 2021 European Meetings & Events Conference (EMEC) will be a virtual event that immediately precedes WEC Vegas, a hybrid event June 15-17 at CAESARS FORUM in Las Vegas.

“Like most conferences during this pandemic, we’ve needed to stay nimble enough to adjust our plans to the circumstances,” says Annette Gregg, CMM, MBA, senior vice president, experience for MPI. “We’ve had several versions of EMEC21: in person in Brighton (England), hybrid in Brighton, hybrid co-located during IMEX Frankfurt and now fully digital. We are fortunate to have a European community that understands the fluid nature of event planning.”

Gregg says that this first truly digital EMEC will be especially accessible to a decentralized region such as Europe. MPI has 12 European chapters and clubs and nearly 1,000 members in Europe.

“With countries at different stages of travel protocols, a digital experience will allow everyone to participate,” she says. “We’ve also lowered the cost because so many in our industry are still recovering. I look forward to the engagement and energy from a well-produced and fully accessible event for the region.”

Robbert Weddepohl, operational and commercial director for Van Der Valk international and chair of the MPI European Advisory Council (EAC), says EMEC is the signature event for MPI in Europe and offers “a platform to connect, to get inspired, to gain knowledge of trends and developments and to keep up with your field—but also to be able to do international business and seek partnerships.”

“I am looking forward to brainstorming, consulting and discussing trends and developments for the changing future with my peers,” he says, noting that the EAC advised an emphasis on the “I” of MPI and creating synergy between MPI Europe and MPI Global (including chapters) since the event is now linked with WEC. “In addition, I hope to get to know many new contacts—and the connection with WEC seems very interesting!”

Paul Cook, a producer, writer, researcher, speaker, facilitator, advisor and educator who specializes in virtual and hybrid events, will be producing EMEC 2021.

“There are a number of things that I am looking forward to about EMEC 2021,” says Cook, a former president of the MPI UK & Ireland Chapter. “First of I am honored to be invited to be the creative producer of such a flagship event. It’s a great responsibility and I am looking forward to bringing together a digital event that really helps MPI members succeed in their goals. There is a huge amount of change going on in the events sector and this event will help equip people with the skills they need. But at the same time it will also encourage them to think about what they want and what they can do for the sector. I am looking forward to working with the chapters, co-creating and collaborating as we go to deliver an outstanding EMEC Digital.”

Gregg says that MPI, as a global organization, strives to take a localized approach and leverage local communities to create experiences most relevant for them.

“All of our events involve a local host committee, and EMEC in particular has leveraged host committees to design the content and conference that resonates for our European members,” she says. “We usually have all European-sourced speakers with timely topics for their unique needs.”

Weddepohl says chapters in Europe work well together and are increasingly seeking each other out.

“It is precisely this European conference that provides the connection and is a fixed item on the annual agenda for our meeting and event professionals,” he says.

Excellence in organization and management of EMEC certainly isn’t new for the MPI European community, as the MPI Netherlands Chapter was recognized with a Best Events Awards (BEA) Best Conference Award for the 2019 event.

“The various learning journeys, target group-oriented approach and many surprising elements immersed you in a rollercoaster of experiences in which connection, inspiration and education were central,” Weddepohl says. “It is special that this has been realized by an enormous group of approximately 60 volunteers.”