M&IW Industry Insights Blog

Transforming organizations through live meetings and events.

What’s Your WORD of Intent?

Written by Anne Zambrano | Marketing Communications

The culture of M&IW is already unique and one to boast about. We are a family and truly act like one. While many of our employees work miles apart virtually we stay very close through our interactions and openness. It is one of the things that truly sets M&IW apart from other orgizations I have worked for. What’s more, our leaders just don’t talk the talk, they walk the walk – every day and out loud.

Hence, when we had the opportunity to all discover our WORD and wear it to share it, we jumped at the chance. What’s more, when we had the chance to extend meaningful interactions and sincerity to our clients we didn’t think twice.

MyIntent is a passion project from founder, Chris Pan. We will have the honor of hearing his whole story at our annual M&IW Summit where they will inspire us and our clients at our Client Connect and motivate and empower our employees at our Employee Exchange.

The project appears to be so simplistic in nature. Choose a word and have in imprinted on a bracelet and wear it every day as a reminder. What’s in a word, anyway? A LOT it turns out. It is about intention, your intention. It is amazing how one word or a simple phrase can have so much impact on you and the interactions you have. With that in mind, we wanted to learn more and share it with our community. I had the opportunity to interview Chris to learn more about his story and the impact of their project. Here’s what he had to say:

Q. What impact do you feel living more intentionally has overall?

A. Living intentionally is about finding your own answers – what important to you and what works for you.  It’s about doing what makes you feel happy and fulfilled. We’re bombarded by advertising and advice on how to be and what we need, leading to anxiety and depression.  It’s so empowering and refreshing to take time to reflect and set our own course.

Q. How it is possible that one word (or phrase) has such an impact on people?

A. Mark Twain famously said “I didn’t have time to write a short letter, so I wrote a long one instead.” The magic of the MyIntent process is that people distill what’s most important down to a single word.  This distillation process transforms their goal into a single WORD reminder. In addition, because “What’s Your WORD?” is open-ended, people get what they need.  Essentially, they are answering something along the lines of BE, HAVE, DO:

– What is a virtue you want more of? (e.g., BE kind)
– What is a challenge you want to overcome? (e.g., HAVE strength)
– What is a passion you want to spend time on? (e.g., DO sing)

Lastly, people’s WORD changes over time depending on what they are going through – it’s always relevant and impactful.  People sometimes set a “word of the year” or may change their word every season or monthly.

Q. What do you hope your project and peoples’ words achieve for them on a daily basis?

A. We often wear a watch on our left wrist to remind of our precious gift of TIME.  A MyIntent bracelet reminds us what to do with that TIME – how we want to grow and serve – which provides us fulfillment.

With so many “notifications” from our apps, the MyIntent bracelet is an “always on and no maintenance (never needs charging)” notification of what’s most important to us.

Q. How does the MyIntent Project help in the business community?

A. Inviting employees or clients to choose a WORD of intent shows that you care about their personal growth and well-being and are concerned with creating deep and meaningful interactions.  For employees, the process deepens interpersonal relationships and transforms the workplace from a sterile factory to an inviting and nurturing place to work.  For clients, it encourages collaboration through empathy and openness. The team building exercise is fun, accessible, affordable, and ultimately drives business results due to deeper connections.

MyIntent serves thousands of companies from yoga studios and youth groups to Fortune 100 as clients.  The group order form enables easy submission of each person’s WORD and they also offer maker kits if you want to make bracelets onsite.

Q. Can you share a story or two about how MyIntent has impacted people, society or organizations?

A. Our bracelet has been there when people are going through trials:

“This bracelet is the only piece of jewelry I begged them to let me wear into surgery. I was worried they would make me cut it off. It says courage and I know it won’t stay on forever. eventually the string will wear down and it will fall off. However, I believe it will fall off as soon as the world thinks I no longer need it. I believe life wanted me to have it for this big surgery and to carry courage into the operating room with me, which I did, like a boss. It was so nice to wake up and look down and see this word staring at me. Cancer requires a certain amount of faith, bravery, hope and courage.”

Our maker program is enabling individuals to bring the project to their local communities – schools, companies, churches, yoga studios, and non-profits!   We’ve also donated hundreds of kits and tens of thousands of bracelets to schools so teachers can share intentionality and mindfulness with students.  Imagine a generation where students are taught to be focused, kind, patient, and of service!

Q. What would you like everyone at M&IW to know about you or MyIntent?

A. MyIntent’s mission is to be a catalyst for meaningful conversation and positive action.  We believe there is purpose inside each of us and want our efforts to encourage people to share more truth and inspiration with each other.  We are not a jewelry company – we are a service project creating intentional wearables as a means to our mission.

Q. How do you feel that people’s words empower them? Do you have any examples?

A. The process of finding your WORD is empowering because you are creating your WORD.  It’s not assigned to you and you are not picking from a few. You decide what is most important to you, what you want to focus on, what you want to remind yourself.  It would be easier for us just to mass produce 10 popular words but it’s nowhere near as empowering as choosing your own.

Because we allow choice, we have had thousands of unique words and continue to get new ones.  Our top 10 popular words represent just a few percent of total!  Our core belief is that our answers lie within.  Some of our empowering words include “I GOT THIS”, “I AM ENOUGH”, “COURAGE” and “STRENGTH”.


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M&IW Destination Spotlight – Puglia, Italy

Written by Mary Enke | Creative Lead & Senior Buyer, Incentive Services

The M&IW Global Incentive Services Team recently completed an extremely well-received and successful sales incentive program for a large pharmaceutical company in Puglia, Italy. Our team was so impressed with this unique and emerging destination that we wanted to highlight it for our community.

About Puglia
Relatively untouched by tourism, the beautiful region of Puglia is located in southeastern Italy. This area, the “heel” of the peninsula, is known for its wealth of beaches, olive gardens, orchids, blue sea, friendly locals and long sunny days with an average of 300 sunny days per year.

Some notables about the area include:

  • The area combines culture, leisure, architecture and resort beaches
  • Situated between the Ionian and Adriatic Seas
  • Largely unexplored landscape of unique villages and undiscovered culture
  • Access via two airports: Bari and Brindisi with under an hour transfer via coach

Best Time to Visit: 
The best time to visit is between May and September when the average highs range from 71 – 78 degrees. The area experiences relatively low precipitation all year long with only 2-3 inches per month.

M&IW Recommended Property: 
The Borgo Egnazia which opened in May 2012 is modeled after a traditional Apulian village with its striking architecture and unique, contemporary style. Its central piazza, the Borgo, is the heart of the property. Onsite activities include golf, bicycles, horseback riding, tennis, yoga, spa, beach and water sports.

M&IW Recommended Off-site Activities: 

The area boosts a unique opportunity to experience the Italian way of life and culture. Some of our favorite activities to do just that include:

  • Castellana Grottos Cave Tour
  • Cooking classes with world renowned Italian Chefs
  • San Domenico Golf Club
  • Locorotondo with Olive Oil Tasting
  • Ostuni White City Adventure
  • Ancient Egnazia Ruins Excursion
  • Ancient Matera Adventure – “City of Stones”
  • Castel Del Monte Castle | Winery Lunch
  • Explore Roman Castles and Cathedrals

Looking to take it up a notch? Consider adding another destination to the program for an added experience! Options for Dual Destination Programs include the Amalfi Coast, Rome, Tuscany, and France. Our Global Incentive Services team is happy to assist you with your next destination search or answer any questions you may have about a location. To connect with one of our incentive team experts, please email us at marketing@meetings-incentives.com. And, be sure to stay tuned for more Destination Spotlights!

Posted in: Company News, Group Air Travel Management, Incentive Travel Programs, Program Management & Event Design

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A Proven Strategy to Increase Meeting Engagement

Written by Anne Zambrano | Marketing Project Lead

We have all been there. Attending a daylong meeting or training event in which we know what to typically expect – hours of sitting and listening to presentations. Some may even joke at times that it is “death by PowerPoint.”

According to recent surveys, adult attention spans have shrunk by up to 50% in the last decade. There are varying statistics on the length – everything from 7 seconds to 10 minutes. Despite the actual figure, it is no wonder the meetings industry has been uber-focused on how to increase meeting engagement, especially when presenting from the stage. Couple that statistic with the fact that meeting engagement helps participants not only learn, but also retain the information. And, it is critical for fields such as healthcare or finance professionals that rely on continuing education (CE) credits for their professional licenses.

At M&IW, we are faced with the same opportunity every year at our annual event on ways to deliver an amazing event experience. What’s more, we also push to demonstrate industry-leading meeting engagement techniques with the use of unique presentation formats and cutting-edge technology for our clients throughout our very own and exclusive annual meeting. It is for that very reason, we design the agenda to include different presentation formats, TED-style talks of 20-minute presentations, panel discussions, storytelling and hands-on workshops. Additionally, as a technology-driven organization, we use some of the best event technologies that aid with presentation engagement.

For the past three years, we have used a live meeting engagement and analytics technology. It is an interactive tablet solution that is one of the best in the industry. What makes it so different from other event technologies such as audience polling or audience response systems, you ask? While ARS is great for engagement, and we use it on a regular basis, it is typically for just few minutes or sporadically polling the attendees during a presentation. ARS does increase engagement during that session, but not the entire program. Whereas, second screen technology, EM Array, provided by our partner, Educational Measures takes it to the next level. EM Array is proven to capture audience attention and increase meeting engagement through the entire day by allowing participants to directly interact with the content on the tablet in front of them.

The best part is that the EM-Array analytics that measure and improve the effectiveness of the meeting are top-notch. They illustrate how the technology increases audience engagement 10x more than traditional learning. Furthermore, the analytics can be utilized for continuing education, compliance and reporting. I have personally found this technology to amplify my own experience during our daylong meetings. The fun participant features that keep you engaged includes the ability to ask and answer questions; take notes directly on the presentation slides; participate in surveys, simulations and games; capture and save slides and resources; and rate slides, content and speakers. That is only the beginning, from a meeting stakeholder perspective the features become even more exciting with the ability to engage with surveys, simulations and games; dialogue with live and virtual audiences; capture every click and comment; and compare both live and remote meeting impact.

A while back, we caught up with Ryan Mazon, the Senior Vice President, Business Development at Educational Measures. We asked Ryan to give us a few tips on where to start when implementing a meeting improvement program. He replied, “before chasing meeting greatness, you must first define what exceptional meetings look like to your organization. Start with the end in mind; don’t hold back. What would the most amazing meeting look like? What would impress your audience? How should people feel when they arrive, participate and leave the meeting? What do you want people to say about your meetings and events? Having an end in mind will keep you on a track toward excellence.”

We also asked what types of meeting improvements are occurring because of data analytics? Ryan said, “data is the lifeblood of meeting improvement programs. It can guide to improvement and guard from unnecessary expenditure. To determine what to measure remember that every metric can be tied to a business process. Every business process can be measured. Every business process can be improved based on time savings, cost reduction, resource allocation and innovation acceleration. The values of each component of the meeting will lead to a set of key performance indicators that can be tracked over time.”

Since being introduced to EM-Array several years ago, we have not only incorporated it into our signature event, but also brought it forth to our clients. Many of these clients have said that the use of the technology has increased audience engagement, provided more business intelligence, and delivered ROI for their meetings.

All-in-all at M&IW, we are excited to finally see a technology come along that turned a second screen into an engagement-driving tool. Perhaps it will help audience participants to put away their own second screen and absorb the important messages coming from stage that are designed to help them grow in their professional careers.

For a closer look at the technology, consider joining us for our 2018 M&IW Summit: Client Connect taking place in August. We will once again be partnering with Educational Measures to assist with increasing audience participation and engagement. If you are interested in learning more about our upcoming event or Educational Measures, email us at marketing@meetings-incentives.com.

Posted in: Company News, Conferences & Tradeshows, Data Analytics, Business Intelligence & Consulting, Event Marketing & Communications, Event Technology & Mobility Solutions, Program Management & Event Design

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M&IW’s 50/50 Spotlight – Red Hot Chili Preppers

Written by Christina Wicklund | Marketing Specialist

Over the past few months, I have had the privilege of covering our 50 Years 50 Charities teams. With each post, I am amazed at the amount of time and effort our teams put into their charities, but most of all, I am awestruck by their passion and empathy toward their causes.

This month we feature our headquarters-based team, the Red Hot Chili Preppers comprised of Kristina Delgado, Samantha Gehrke, Larre Haack, Nick Perez and team captain, Whitney Darling. Their charity of choice is the Hunger Task Force. The Hunger Task Force is Milwaukee, Wisconsin’s only food bank that does not charge for food, delivery or membership.

The Hunger Task Force operates a food bank that provides healthy and nutritious food to a local network of food pantries, soup kitchens, homeless shelters and deliver stock boxes to the elderly all free of charge. They also operate a 200+ acre farm that grows fruits and vegetables for the express purpose of feeding the hungry.

When asked why Hunger Task Force, Whitney Darling stated that the “We as a team believe that every person in this community should be able to have access to food especially fresh fruits and vegetables. The Hunger Task Force works to prevent hunger by providing food to people in need today and by promoting social policies to achieve a hunger free community tomorrow.” She continued to say, “the Hunger Task Force also provides education to low income families specifically children. Their Dietitian Educator teaches a unique nutrition education curriculum to 3rd and 4th grade students in local Milwaukee Public Schools. Kids learn about nutrition, healthy eating and how to make healthy recipes. They also teach the kids how to grow their own plants and teach them to cook using fresh ingredients.”

On one of the hottest days in May, the Red-Hot Chili Peppers headed to The Farm. The Farm is a convenient 15-minute drive from our headquarters office and grows more than 30 varieties of fruits and vegetables that support the Hunger Task Force. The team’s goal for that day was to plant seedlings of watermelon into pre-formed rows as a team. With temperatures soaring into the 90⁰ (f) and the sun beating down the Red Hot Chili Preppers grabbed their water bottles, gardening gloves and hit the fields. With a combination of determination and hydration breaks, they were able to accomplish their goal in less than 4 hours!

Since Meetings & Incentives Worldwide kicked off their 50 Years 50 Charities campaign the Red Hot Chili Preppers volunteered almost 100 hours of their time to the cause. Plus, the team also held fundraisers so they will be able to make a monetary donation of several hundred dollars. When I spoke to Whitney Darling about future projects in the works, she replied, “Yes, the Hunger Task Force has many ways to volunteer from building stock boxes, food sorting, working local events, and of course, working The Farm which the team is scheduled for later this month!”

To donate, volunteer or to learn more about the Hunger Task Force, please visit their website Hunger Task Force or call 414.777.0483.

Posted in: Company News, Event Marketing & Communications

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M&IW’s 50/50 Spotlight – Second City Servers


Written by Christina Wicklund | Marketing Specialist

Our featured 50/50 Spotlight of the week is the Second City Servers. This team is one of our many Chicagoland #50Years50Charities teams. The Second City Servers consists of George Martinez, Shannon Gehringer, Marisa Lavin and Elizabeth Menos. Their charity of choice is the Inspiration Corporation located on the north side of Chicago.

The Inspiration Corporation helps Chicagoans affected by homelessness and poverty reach their fullest potential for self-sufficiency. Their tagline is “Catalyst for Self-Reliance” and it shows. The Inspiration Corporation believes in giving people a hand up, not a hand out.

Inspiration Corporation is truly a catalyst for people on hard times. They offer an array of opportunities for individuals to make positive changes in their lives like job training programs, a daily sit-down meal served at the Inspiration Café and access to permanent supportive housing. Participants in the program work one-on-one with a case manager to create a customized plan that outlines goals for obtaining or maintaining stable permanent housing and building income.

And, the Inspiration Kitchen is more than a place to feed the homeless. It is an educational facility where low-income and homeless Chicagoans can receive free training for careers in the food service industry. After culinary training, many graduates go on to work at some of the city’s hottest restaurants and catering companies, giving them the opportunity to exit poverty for good.

But, did you know that the Inspiration Kitchen is also a great place to gather with friends, host meetings and events or place a catering order (with a menu rating of 4.7 stars you can’t go wrong). To make a reservation or learn more about the Inspiration Kitchen send an email to info@inspirationkitchens.org.

Recently, the Second City Servers served meals to program participants. “Donating our time is a wonderful way to help the community and do our small part in helping individuals get back on their feet,” said Marisa Lavin, the team captain. “Our team will be volunteering for another 3-hour dinner service and a 4-hour cooking shift where we will join the chef in the kitchen to assist with the meal preparation.”

To donate, volunteer or to learn more about the Inspiration Corporation please visit www.inspirationcorp.org/.

Posted in: Company News, Event Marketing & Communications

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Is your Organization GDPR Compliant?

Written by Marie Johnson, CMP | Director, Marketing & Strategy

We live in an increasingly digital world where the value of personal data is immense. At M&IW, the safety and security of our customers, employees, and attendees has always been a priority. We have long understood the importance sensitive and personally identifiable information (SPII) and have taken steps to ensure its protection.

However, a lot is happening in the world of the internet and data security. As a result, the EU government has been working on a new legislation known as General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) that goes into effect on May 25, 2018. This reform is intended to help EU Residents to improve control of their personal data.

“Even though this regulation only applies to citizens that reside in the European Union (including the United Kingdom), we believe it will become a new global standard for data privacy,” said Jean Johnson, Co-CEO and Chief People Officer at Meetings & Incentives Worldwide. “We are approaching GDPR proactively by applying these EU digital communication standards both domestically and internationally.”

M&IW is Privacy Shield certified, and we have worked with Radius Worldwide to complete our analysis of our processes and systems for the GDPR. This analysis and creation of an action plan ensures that we will be compliant with the GDPR regulations by the required deadline as set forth by the EU/UK. To learn more, please check out our report entitled, GDPR 101: The Basics. You may also view our Website Privacy Statement which describes the current policies and practices of Meetings & Incentives Worldwide with regards to Personal Data.

Additionally, we are happy to share that our Data Protection Officer, David Guse, CPA, has achieved the ISO 17024-accredited EU GDPR Foundation (EU GDPR F) qualification from IBITGQ.

We value your partnership and thank you for visiting our website. If you subscribe to our communications, you will soon receive a request to your inbox to ensure you still want to hear from us. If you are not currently a subscriber, we encourage you to Stay in Touch and Get Connected. You will receive fresh, timely, and relevant content on the latest news, industry updates, and emerging trends. You will also be among the first to receive invitations for special offers, complimentary webinars and hosted events.

Posted in: Company News, Conferences & Tradeshows, Data Analytics, Business Intelligence & Consulting, Event Marketing & Communications, Event Technology & Mobility Solutions, Group Air Travel Management, Incentive Travel Programs, Pharmaceutical, Medical and HCP Compliance, Program Management & Event Design, Sourcing, Negotiating & Contracting

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M&IW’s 50/50 Spotlight – MiraCLE Team

Written by Christina Wicklund | Marketing Specialist

M&IW’s very own MiraCLE Team assisted in hosting a Trifecta Kentucky Derby on May 5. They combined their time and talents with their chosen 50 Years 50 Charities organization, Mission4Maureen. The MiraCLE Team is made up of the following members from our Cleveland, Ohio location, Heather Hnottavange (team captain), Denise Farrell, David Sachs, Ginenne Rothlisberger and Carly Rick.

Mission4Maureen is a nonprofit charity that provides financial assistance to brain tumor patients, burdened by the staggering cost of treatment. Through their application process, this organization verifies and reviews patient applications and awards grants based upon individual needs and available funds. They also pay bills on behalf of patients. To date, Mission4Marueen has donated more than one million dollars in 47 States!

When asked why Mission4Maureen, Heather Hnottavange responded “This Foundation is very near and dear to my heart as I have had two cousins (Brittany age 13 and Maureen age 34) who passed away from a glioblastoma brain tumor.” Heather continued to say, “Maureen’s family established the Mission4Maureen in honor of my cousin.”

While science seeks a cure, society demands its due. Mortgages, utilities and basic living expenses need to be met, and many brain cancer patients simply do not have the funding to meet everyday obligations. Mission4Maureen is committed to Maureen’s belief that “everyone can do something.” The assistance Mission4Maureen offers comes in the form of rent or mortgage payments, help with utilities or gift cards to a local supermarkets. And, they accomplish the challenge of one unsuspecting, unprepared brain cancer victim at a time. In Maureen’s name, this foundation accepts and embraces the challenge. “No one can do everything, but everyone can do something.”

The Trifecta Kentucky Derby held on Saturday, May 5 raised more than $20,000. The Trifecta Kentucky Derby was broadcast live on the big screen in a local theater. Attendees were treated to a southern menu, Mint Juleps, and Derby Sideboards. Plus, there was a silent auction. Attendees were encouraged to wear outrageous Derby hats. The MiraCLE Team also raised an additional $5,169 by soliciting donations and sponsors as well as selling Super Bowl squares. This team is like the Energizer bunny, they keep going and going and going!

To learn more about Mission4Marueen or to donate, please visit www.mission4maureen.org.

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All You Need to Know about Pharma Forum 2018

M&IW Team Participating in Give Back Activity

M&IW Team Participating in Give Back Activity

Written by Anne Zambrano | Manager, Communications & Creative Services

Some of our Medical Meeting Masters descended on Philadelphia last week for the 14th Annual Pharma Forum 2018. With healthcare meetings being the largest segment of the meetings industry there is a lot to discuss in the medical meeting industry. So, what were some of the hottest topics and key take-aways? I asked our four conference-goers the below questions to get their opinion.

What were the biggest take-aways from the Pharma Forum 2018?

GDPR! These important four letters were a huge topic of conversation, and rightfully so, with the May 25th effective date quickly approaching the medical meeting industry is keen on making sure all processes and procedures are in place to comply with the new EU regulations. Here is what our team had to say about the topic:

“Knowing this is going into effect in May, all organizations in the industry can’t get enough information and details on GPDR to ensure they are compliant when the time comes. It was a widely discussed topic and more education is needed in the industry.” – ANGIE GROSS, HMCC – Sr. Manager, Reconciliation & Compliance Reporting

“I was moderately familiar with the topic going into the conference and after listening to the speakers address the changes, I am now very interested in looking for more information to become more knowledgeable on it and its effects on clients.” – ANDI STELPFLUG, MBA, HMCC – Strategic Account Manager

“Overall, it was apparent that everyone is concerned about how it will impact event information moving forward, yet there seems to be a general lack of knowledge on the subject overall. With such sweeping changes to how we collect personal data, I believe there is a need for further education within the meetings industry.” – DAN TARPEY, HMCC – Vice President, Sales & Marketing

What are some of the industry compliance challenges you discovered at the event?

“Pharma, medical device, and third parties are all experiencing similar issues and concerns over compliance laws and regulations with there being so many differences between countries and states. However, some companies have figured things out and have implemented good policies and plans, whiles others are still in the learning process. For example, some don’t have any US state/OUS country system or database to obtain and track individual state/country laws/codes to ensure they are compliant with all for their meetings. Others don’t have a methods or assumptions document(s). I found it interesting that some are further along while others are still catching up. Pharma Forum is a great venue and opportunity for collaboration on all these methods.” – ANGIE GROSS, HMCC – Sr. Manager, Reconciliation & Compliance Reporting

What are some of the industry compliance changes you discovered at the event?

“Compliance is an ever-changing environment with newly developed laws and codes being implemented each year. Due to all these changes and challenges within the industry, it is vital for each type of company (pharma, med device, third party, and supplier) to have a distinguished compliance officer and/or department managing and training internally, and with their vendors and suppliers, on all the new laws and regulations that impact them.” – ANGIE GROSS, HMCC – Sr. Manager, Reconciliation & Compliance Reporting

What were some of the other hottest topics in the medical meetings industry?

Meal Caps

“Meal caps came up over and over. I really like the discussion on using data to enable data-based compliance discussions on what’s realistic. Something, that M&IW can do with our business intelligence system and existing compliance data.” – ANDI STELPFLUG, MBA, HMCC – Strategic Account Manager

“With the increase of pricing, labor and materials increasing, the meal caps for HCP clinical meetings have remained the same in the last 5+ years. Hoteliers are finding it difficult to comply with these caps. Some meeting stakeholders have increased their caps in the last year (from $125-150, up to $150-200), and it appears others will follow in the near future. We need to make sure that these caps remain consistent with reasonable industry pricing and provide the valuable opportunity for HCP’s to attend meetings and events to further in their field and education.” – ANGIE GROSS, HMCC – Sr. Manager, Reconciliation & Compliance Reporting


“Technology Solutions were a hot topic. Simply put, it was stated that ‘buying a tool that can support your needs is only a tool which will sit and gather dust without the appropriate process alignment with your objectives, buy-in and implementation.’ That made a lot of sense to me. You must first have the manual process together before a tool of any sort can help you automate your process. Don’t expect technology to come in and ‘fix’ existing processes. It can come in and streamline good existing manual processes.” – KIRSTEN PETERSON – Account Director

“Two technologies came up in discussion at the event. The difference of the various compliance technologies, such as COAP and Sign4Compliance, was discussed. Since I have clients that use both technologies, it was great to get hands-on demos of both. Additionally, there was great discussion on virtual international meetings. As I have a large pharma client exploring this meeting style currently, this discussion was very timely and helpful!” – ANDI STELPFLUG, MBA, HMCC – Strategic Account Manager

What are some of your final thoughts you want to share about Pharma Forum 2018?

“I found it remarkable that competitors in the pharma/med device industry all come together under one roof to share their experiences, concerns, insights, education, and best practices in order to exceed as an industry in creating the best opportunities and outcomes for their patients. They truly seem to have a shared humanity in caring about public and patient trust and care.” – ANGIE GROSS, HMCC – Sr. Manager, Reconciliation & Compliance Reporting

“It is reassuring after attending an event like this that M&IW is ahead of the game and very posed to play the role of an expert consultant and partner in this space. It was interesting to see that I felt that some of the questions/topics were fairly basic and yet there were tons of people who found the info brand new to them.” – ANDI STELPFLUG, MBA, HMCC – Strategic Account Manager

“I was more reassured than ever that nothing beats face-to-face interaction to deepen partner and customer trust and discussing topics outside an official business meeting setting.” – KIRSTEN PETERSON – Account Director

“Pharma Forum is still the leading event to network in this industry. Supplier to planner, the connections are terrific and genuine.” – DAN TARPEY, HMCC– Vice President, Sales & Marketing

Another successful event in the books! Our team’s take-aways once again prove the value of meetings to stay connected to latest trends and regulatory environments as well as make the valuable connections and relationships that are important to transform organizations; and in this case, saves lives.

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The Changing Landscape of Healthcare Meetings


Written by Anne Zambrano | Sr. Manager, Marketing Communications & Creative Services

I had the pleasure of experiencing one our thought leaders in action at the recent MPI-CAC NEXT ’18 conference in Chicago. Susan Arts, CMP, HMCC, a 30-year healthcare meeting veteran and Project Director, Global Operations at M&IW, delivered an engaging presentation on The Changing Landscape of Healthcare Meetings. Many healthcare planners are aware that the worldwide focus on transparency reporting and greater compliance requirements have altered the landscape of planning and executing meetings in the healthcare sector. During her presentation, Susan shared tips, tricks, and best practices as well as provided an overview on where we are currently in terms of government compliance and reporting and where we are headed in the next 12-18 months.

As I came to find out, there are lots of important changes on the horizon and that this environment is only going to continue to be regulated or scrutinized. And, since healthcare is the biggest segment of the meetings industry with over 1.9 million meetings held in the US for a total of 250 million attendees1, I thought it was a good topic to continue to talk about.

The Changing Landscape

GDPR – General Data Protection Regulation: In short, the GDPR is a new law in the European Union that deals with data of EU citizens going in and out of the European Union. Collecting parties will now need to disclose what data is collected, why the data is collected and how the data will be used. This is a hot topic for meeting planners because planners, hoteliers, travel managers, and event suppliers most certainly collect personal data of EU citizens for meetings. Personal data may include financial, contact, medical, travel, IP address and passport information. The law was adopted back in April 2016 and goes into effect on May 25, 2018. Susan recommended that it is a good time for your organization to take a closer look at the regulation, and how you are collecting or using data that is regulated by this law to make sure you have the appropriate practices and disclaimers are in place.

Continuing medical education funding in Europe and Asia: Susan made the excellent point that no longer will manufacturers be able to make direct payments to clinicians to fund attendance at CME events. All the funds must now go through grants to the health systems and accredited CME providers and these institutions will now choose who gets the funds to attend CME meetings. This is and will continue to be a hot topic, learning at a meeting or event is still the number one preferred way healthcare professionals receive their continuing education.

Worldwide Reporting: APAC, LATAM and Canada will soon all be adopting HCP transparency reporting policies and regulations. Susan made the prediction that in the next 18-24 months the transparency reporting regulatory environment that planners experience in the US will be global.

State Regulations: States continue to create and develop their own regulations as it relates to HCP meeting spend and reporting. It is becoming increasingly important to stay on top of and understand not only the changing environment of the federal regulations, but also at the state level. The state level could address meetings being held in that state or address attendee hailing from that state.

Susan concluded with the following important points:

  • Always go into a meeting preparing to be ready for an audit. Planning from the forefront can ease any pain on the backend.
  • Understand the reporting requirements when it comes to transfer of value verses aggregate spend for a meeting.
  • Document, document, document. Look toward new technologies to help streamline and automate documentation.

Finally, how is this going to affect our medical meeting profession? There is a going to likely be a shortage of trained, experienced, medical meeting professionals as well as a potential challenge with sourcing and space, dates and rates in a strong market because of the various interpretations of the regulations and Office of Ethics and Compliance in many organizations putting a cap on room rate allowances for HCPs.

One final, final note: some useful industry resources Susan shared at the end of her presentation:

  • Event Industry Council GDPR Resource Page (www.eventscouncil.org)
  • GDPR Awareness Coalition (gdprcoalition.ie)
  • Healthcare Meeting Compliance Certification (HMCC) – available through MPI (www.mpiweb.org)
  • Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) (www.phrma.org)
  • European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations (EFPIA) (www.efpia.eu )
  • My Compliance Wizard (subscription) (www.mycw.info)
  • Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) (www.accme.org)

(1) Events Industry Council Survey

In honor of GMID (Global Meetings Industry Day), we are sharing more thought-leading content on HCP transparency reporting. We hosted a webinar on April 12 as part of our Industry Insight Webinar Series entitled, “The Various Approaches to HCP Transparency Reporting and Best Practices for Industry Standardization, presented by Angie Gross, HMCC, Sr. Manager, Reconciliation & Compliance Reporting, Finance. If you missed it, you can catch it on demand. Just click the video below.




Posted in: Company News, Pharmaceutical, Medical and HCP Compliance, Program Management & Event Design

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7 Secrets to Professionally Managed Meeting Procurement

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Written by Denise Farrell | Director, Global Procurement

Many meeting stakeholders have a general understanding of how outsourced meeting procurement works, but there are things that can happen behind the scenes that may surprise even savvy meeting managers. I have unveiled a few of those “secrets” below to show how these activities may benefit your organization.

Before we reveal the secrets, let’s explore what we mean by “professionally managed meeting procurement.” It can easily be defined as letting someone else, such as an event management company, handle the procurement of your meeting venue. Third parties bring expertise gained from experience in various industry positions and with numerous clients to your meeting. They employ buyers who are specialists, solely dedicated to that craft.

So, without further ado, let’s dive right into the secrets of professionally managed meeting procurement!

Secret #1: Chances are, third parties have BEEN THERE AND DONE THAT… At least, someone at their organization probably has.

You probably know that there are millions of worthwhile destinations and venues around the world. You can find them just by Googling a location. But then what?

But did you know that it takes an enormous amount of knowledge just to sift through all the possibilities to find the venue that’s right for your event? In fact, a database like Cvent, built for planners, has more than 245,000 venues!

The secret is third parties bring the cumulative knowledge of their entire team to the selection process. Chances are, someone has been to that location, even to that venue.

For example, on average corporate event teams place between 2-100 meetings a year. Whereas, the average third party books thousands of events per year. That’s a lot of knowledge and experience in one place. They have a set of tools and skills that they use to perfect their ability to easily evaluate destinations and venues. Some are external, and others are internal, such as the working with the sales team in the initial contracting process all the way though the onsite experience and billing experience. The third party knows how to communicate to deliver a mutually agreeable contract considering what matters most to the client and marrying that with understanding how those requests will be executed at the hotel level. They can bring both parties to an understanding that provides a smooth execution.

Secret #2: IT’S ALL ABOUT THE PACKAGE. What do we mean by that? Well, it’s important to have ALL the information before deciding which venue will best suit your needs.

You probably know that there are many pricing options available to host your meeting.

But did you know that there are many factors beyond room rates that can have a huge impact on the success of your meeting? How do you choose the venue that is the “best” for your meeting?

The secret is that third parties evaluate a venue based on tangible and intangible factors, such as space, rooms and quality. They also read the fine print.

For example, third parties will confirm if the venue can accommodate the needs of the program, including factors such as; will the meeting space be conducive to the meeting objectives, can the attendees easily access the venue, and will they feel well taken care of once they get there. Additionally, some intangible ways they assist is in their ability to consult and look at the entire package. Does the meeting have to take place in 1 ½ days so near the airport? Is this a group that shares rooms so are enough doubled bedded rooms available? Does the meeting need quiet or space to move? Is it more about aesthetics or function, will pillars in the middle of the meeting room hamper the attendees being able to see or hear the content?  These are the things a third party can help you look for and evaluate.

Secret #3 – Third parties SPEAK “EVENT” IN MULTIPLE LANGUAGES… and it’s more than just having translators.

You probably know that it is challenging to book a program at an international destination.

But did you know that many third parties have people on staff who not only speak the language, but also understand the business customs, terminology, common contract terms and potential risks of working pretty much anywhere in the world?

The secret is that third parties book international destinations on a regular basis, and have “boots on the ground” around the world.

For example, things are ever changing and if you have not worked in an area for several months or years you need someone who can provide you the knowledge. A new Russian law declares that all contracts must state that Russian language must prevail.  A third party will have run into this situation and be able to tell you when this would apply to your event. They will be able to work with the venue to have English and Russian terms and conditions listed side-by-side to compare them.

Secret #4 – They RUN A TIGHT SHIP and can help your department be more efficient as well.

You probably know that working with a procurement department includes providing a lot of details, from contract terms, to data points, to funding limits.

But did you know that good third parties keep tabs on all that critical information and can help you with that paperwork? They can also improve your relationship with your procurement department.

The secret is that third parties will not only save you money through efficiency gains, but they can also help procurement better understand what you do.

For example, a third party can evaluate your internal process and procedures using their industry and technology experience. Some third parties can share best practices to help you streamline processes to gain efficiency. They often act as a buffer between the numbers people and the meeting planner, and during that process, help procurement better understand the meetings industry.

Secret #5 – THEY’RE A LITTLE OCD and that level of attention to detail is a good thing sometimes.

You probably know that there are regulations in certain industries that meeting planners need to know.

But did you know that these regulations are not uniform for all industries or destinations? Attention to detail can save your organization a lot of time, money and headaches

The secret is that third parties should be familiar with these regulations, so they can ensure that you’re following the laws.

For example, a third party should use a consistent sourcing approach and contract language that dovetails with your company’s compliance standards and load all critical items into the systems at the end of a meeting. This will save your compliance department time in locating documents for an audit.

Secret #6 – They PINCH EVERY PENNY for you.

You probably know that there are negotiable items when reviewing a hotel contract.

But do you know all the items that are negotiable, which ones bring the greatest value, and which are easier for hotels to agree to than others?

The secret is that third parties do this all day, know the hotel’s market and the pressures they’re under, often have leverage with hotels because of the number of events they book, and know how to negotiate a win-win contract for the client and the venue.

For example, a third party is able to leverage multi-year agreements to help clients realize additional savings on room rate and enhanced concession packages; package a smaller meeting with a larger one to enhance savings; stay on top of cancellations that might put a hotel in a position to be more open to negotiations; understand which concessions bring value to the client and which ones may not cost the hotel as much.


You probably know that BIG data is a hot topic in the meetings industry.

But did you know that data is only BIG if you know how to use it?

The secret is that third parties can help you gather data accurately to discover trends that can help you make buying and process decisions.

For example, at M&IW our business intelligence tool and data told us that larger clients with multiple procurement teams were having difficulty managing all the moving parts. To address this need, we developed a consolidated single sourcing program that provides essential governance yet allows the flexibility of multiple sourcing providers. We also determined that small meetings often don’t have the same tools available to be as efficient and as they could be, so we’re investigating new technologies for small meetings.

To learn more on this topic, please enjoy our Industry Insights Webinar on Demand: 7 Secrets of Professionally Managed Meeting Procurement. Or, if you are interested in connecting with our procurement team regarding an upcoming program, please email sourcing@meetings-incentives.com.

Posted in: Company News, Conferences & Tradeshows, Data Analytics, Business Intelligence & Consulting, Incentive Travel Programs, Program Management & Event Design, Sourcing, Negotiating & Contracting

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