Once a year, Meeting Professionals International (MPI), the largest meeting and event association worldwide hosts one of the most highly anticipated events of the year, Global Meetings Industry Day (GMID). This event brings together meeting and event professionals from around the world for a dynamic, jam-packed 12-hour broadcast that aims to celebrate and advocate for the tireless work of the meeting and event industry. 

GMID began with MPI’s Canadian chapters in the mid-1990s. In 2015, the event became North American Meetings Industry Day (NAMID), which caught the attention of global organizations and meeting professionals alike. 

Through the efforts of the newly formed Meetings Mean Business coalition, the event became GMID in 2016, providing a space for the global community of meeting and event professionals to network, participate in educational sessions, and raise awareness about the impact of the meetings and events industry on a global, national, and local level. 

“Our work generates billions of dollars for businesses all over the world every year, and that’s something to celebrate,” Kay Gunn, Manager of Education Operations at MPI, says. 

GMID is also an educational experience for meeting and event professionals. MPI has designed the content to help attendees stay updated on industry trends, gain learnings from their peers, and share tips for elevating meetings and events. 

The benefits of going virtual for GMID 

MPI is committed to delivering a virtual broadcast for GMID – and for good reason: inclusivity. 

The MPI team understands that meeting and event professionals lead busy lives, so providing a virtual broadcast that runs for 12 hours allows everyone the chance to participate in GMID, regardless of their availability. 

“…No matter where you are and what you’re doing, there’s a chance that within that 12-hour time span, you’ll be able to join the broadcast and see the camaraderie, get that knowledge, and have those exchanges with your fellow colleagues in the industry in one platform,” Gunn says. 

Local MPI chapters’ inclusion in the in-person component of GMID 

While the GMID broadcast is hosted virtually, enabling anyone to join from home, at the office, or on the go, MPI doesn’t see GMID as a virtual-only experience. After all, MPI’s local in-person chapters were the catalyst for GMID in its early days. 

For GMID 2023, MPI brought local chapters into the live stream. MPI’s Chicago, Potomac, Southern California, and Carolinas chapters shared about data strategy, education in the events industry, and how to use less traditional venue spaces for events during the broadcast. This served as a great way to inspire members of these respective chapters to meet in person and celebrate GMID. 

Outside of chapters that contributed content to GMID, many MPI chapters from around the world gathered together for in-person watch parties. The in-person watch parties radiate excitement, as they’re a time to celebrate the industry, network with fellow event professionals, and engage with the broadcast as a group. 

Behind the scenes of launching a 12-hour global virtual event 

Planning for GMID 2023 started in October of 2022, with MPI connecting with its platform provider, Webex Events (formerly Socio), and its studio partner, Grit Productions. 

At this stage, MPI was also reaching out to key associations in the industry to gauge their interest in providing content for the event. 

“There are several associations and corporations that drive the industry forward. They’re subject matter experts. [We reached] out to them [to partner] with them to provide the content that our attendees enjoyed this year,” Gunn says. 

MPI also began reaching out to see which MPI chapters would be interested in joining the broadcast. 

“[Our local chapters] are engaged, they’re hungry, they have something to say, they want to share what they’re seeing on the ground in their locations and provide that information throughout the industry,” Gunn adds. 

Next, MPI sent out a submission form where stakeholders who wanted to participate in GMID 2023 could log their interests and share what topic they would be speaking about. This collaborative process allowed MPI to work with their content partners to understand their session’s format and if they would be delivering pre-recorded or live content. 

Based on speakers’ responses, MPI then decided whether they needed to collect content directly from the speakers or connect speakers with the production team to walk through how the content would be streamed on the day of the event. 

Many of MPI’s sponsors also provided content through resources or commercials during the live stream, so it was important to collect and organize sponsor content as early as possible. 

Partnering with Webex Events for a second year to power GMID 

Building on the success of GMID 2022, MPI once again chose Webex Events to power the highly anticipated GMID 2023. 

The end-to-end features of Webex Events enabled the team to deliver an engaging and inclusive event experience for all GMID attendees. 

“Webex Events is a great partner, especially for GMID. We know our audience, we know our industry, but utilizing tools to engage and capture their attention, that’s [Webex Events’] specialty.”  

For a second year in a row, Webex Events was a big hit with attendees. Check out GMID 2023 attendees’ feedback on Webex Events: 

  • “So much knowledge sharing across the world channeled through a central platform.” 
  • “Easy to use platform” 
  • “useful platform that allowed for a variety of interactions along with the presentations” 
  • “Very organized and I like that the live stream stayed on your screen while looking through the platform.” 

Onboarding event partners to the Webex Events platform 

Since MPI had partnered with both Webex Events and Grit Studios for GMID 2022, the platform onboarding process for GMID 2023 was seamless. 

“This year, it was easier to get [the event content] uploaded. [The production team] already knew what to expect,” Gunn says. 

Streamlining event communications with the group feature in Webex Events 

Between collecting content from speakers, coordinating with sponsors, and collaborating with the production team, launching a 12-hour virtual broadcast involves many moving pieces. The MPI team needed a simple way to streamline communication for internal stakeholders without adding a new technology solution into the mix. 

To keep the MPI team informed about event updates, the MPI team created an MPI team group in the Webex Events platform. 

“It’s a way to channel communication and ease your output. If you’re only wanting to talk to a certain group of individuals and you group them accordingly, it’s much easier to get those communications to the right people,” Gunn says. 

Streamlining the online event registration process 

As MPI had already launched a successful online registration process for GMID 2022, the team had a blueprint to enhance the registration process even further for GMID 2023 

During the registration process, if an attendee wanted to donate to the MPI Foundation and register for the GMID broadcast, they could complete both actions in one step, saving attendees time during registration. 

It was also important that MPI used a solution that seamlessly collected attendee data points such as job function, type of business, and geographic location. 

“One thing that’s important for us is to know who we’re talking to, to know whose attention we’re getting. We like to know – within the industry – where does your job function or your role mostly play? Are we on the educational side? Are we on the association side? Are we a supplier?  Are we a planner? We’d like to know who we’re mostly working with… Our attendees are geographically dispersed. We love to have that [data] because our goal is to be as inclusive as our industry is.” 

Boosting attendee excitement using the virtual lobby 

GMID is truly a celebratory event, so it was fitting for MPI to use the Webex Events lobby feature to help boost attendee excitement from the moment they logged into the event. 

“One thing I will say that I really liked with the lobby feature was the ability to have the countdown. For me, I’m an anticipation person. When I see that countdown, it tells me exactly when the broadcast is coming, and it drives up that excitement and engagement. I really like having that available for attendees,” Gunn says. 

Why GMID attendees loved the in-app social wall 

The excitement surrounding GMID 2023 didn’t just stop when the countdown ended. GMID attendees and sponsors were actively posting on the event social wall to share about their GMID experience and connect with fellow meeting and event professionals. 

“One thing I love about our industry of meeting and events is we tend to be chatty and engaging personality types, and within the [Webex Events] platform, [attendees] really had a space to do this…it allows attendees to pop in and say what they’re doing and share a picture of what their day looks like… It was a great way for people that wanted to engage a bit deeper and go outside of the chat feature to do that,” Gunn says. 

The sheer number of posts shared before, during, and after the event was a testament to GMID attendees’ engagement with the social wall. Attendees couldn’t get enough of this interactive feature in the Webex Events app and shared a wide variety of posts highlighting their excitement for specific sessions and app features. 

“Last year, I think we had 70 or so different posts on our social wall. This year we were close to 300 so that just goes to show you that feature meant a lot to our attendees,” Gunn says. 

Engaging attendees with gamification 

MPI went above and beyond to keep attendees engaged throughout the broadcast. By incorporating gamification into the event, MPI encouraged attendees to have fun and even learn more about the meeting and event industry. 

“The gamification feature was hands down my favorite feature within the [Webex Events] platform this year…It was a way to increase engagement, and it did just that. One thing that you want within a 12-hour broadcast is to keep your attendees engaged…” Gunn says. 

“Our attendees loved it. We had so many participants staying on top of those questions, inputting those correct answers, and moving up the leaderboard,” Gunn says. 

To incentivize attendee participation, some GMID sponsors provided prizes, including trips and swag. 

Creating meaningful experiences: wellness breaks at GMID 

For the fourth year in a row, MPI incorporated wellness breaks into the broadcast to break up the content and demonstrate the importance of health and wellness.   

The wellness breaks were pre-recorded and provided by GMID sponsor, Visit Galveston. 

By pre-recording the wellness breaks, the MPI team was able to ensure that the wellness breaks began and ended at the appropriate times throughout the broadcast. 

“[Pre-recording content] does add an element of ease from the production standpoint to ensure that it’s a clean and seamless break that everyone gets to benefit from,” Gunn adds. 

Maximizing sponsor engagement and visibility 

GMID’s sponsors played a significant role in the virtual broadcast. Not only did they provide resources and prizes, but some sponsors also contributed content through segments and commercials. 

It was important for MPI to provide ample opportunities for sponsor engagement throughout the event experience. 

“Our sponsors were also, in some cases, content contributors, so with that, the sponsor was able to share information as a subject matter expert in their particular field. There were a lot of opportunities for sponsors to [engage with attendees],” Gunn says. 

MPI’s top-tier experience with Webex Events professional services 

Having the right partners is crucial for a successful event, and MPI found that Webex Events combined an end-to-end event management platform with a dedicated team of experts. With the support of Webex Events, MPI received assistance with attendees and production needs to ensure a smooth experience. 

The Webex Events professional services team worked directly with MPI’s studio partner to ensure the stream went smoothly, allowing the MPI team to focus on the multitude of moving parts associated with producing GMID. 

“It was a way to have support on both ends – from a staff perspective and also for an attendee perspective, because when you’re on-site producing a 12-hour event, you need that kind of support, and [Webex Events] did that for us,” Gunn says. 

Virtual success: MPI increases virtual attendance at GMID 2023 

While many organizations are reporting a decrease in event attendance, particularly for virtual events, MPI beat the odds with GMID, bringing in a higher number of attendees for the 2023 production. 

“This year, I wasn’t so sure how much virtual interest we would receive, but we did receive a significant amount, and surprisingly even though the registrations were a little bit lower this year, we actually had more participants engage and actually tune into the broadcast.” 

MPI also took things to the next level with attendee networking in 2023 by increasing conversations started in the app by 102% and increasing social wall posts by 119% year over year. 

The future of GMID 2023 

As the MPI team looks toward the future, they are confident that bringing together the global community of meeting and event professionals through a virtual broadcast and local chapter gatherings will continue to set GMID apart as a leading event experience for meeting and event professionals. 

“…I think it’s important to highlight that it’s already an in-person event on a chapter and local level. What we do is provide that virtual component so that the option is there for anyone to join the broadcast. We’ll continue doing that for next year as well, especially with the amount of engagement and feedback that we’ve received about the broadcast this year. We’re really excited to do it again and continue to build on it and use more of those [Webex Events] features that create engagement that keep our attendees coming back,” Gunn says. 

What GMID 2023 tells us about the future of events 

When asked what launching one of the industry’s most highly anticipated events of the year tells us about the future of events, Gunn’s response is a powerful one: 

“We’re still going, and we will keep going. The level of excitement and engagement, the knowledge share that we had this year, the global presence – our industry is stronger than ever, and we’re continuing to move forward no matter what happens… I’ve learned that this is one of the most resilient industries, if not the most resilient industry.”