Meeting Professionals International Case Study
Duty of Care Kits: The Key to Being Event Registration-Ready
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Meeting Professionals International
Meeting Professionals International - World Education Congress (MPI-WEC)
Meeting Professionals International (MPI) is the world’s largest meetings and events industry association. Founded in 1972, MPI provides innovative and relevant education, networking opportunities and business exchanges to its community of 60,000+ professionals worldwide. The mission of MPI is to provide planners and suppliers with opportunities to learn, innovate, collaborate and advocate.
The Meeting Professionals International - World Education Congress (MPI-WEC) is MPI’s largest annual education and networking event in North America. Each year, the event draws thousands of meeting and event professionals to discuss cutting-edge topics and business opportunities.
“This conference attracts both planners and suppliers,” says Melinda Burdette, Director of Events at MPI. “From business strategy sessions to professional development workshops, we carefully curate each year’s educational pathways to meet the needs of everyone in attendance.”
Discussing Conference Registration Safety Concerns
When MPI-WEC shifted from in-person to hybrid in 2020 and 2021, Burdette says her team decided to re-evaluate how on-site registration procedures would be handled to best support MPI’s Duty of Care plan.
“In a normal year, we can have 3,000 people at WEC,” Burdette explains. “Attendees check themselves in using self-serve registration kiosks, then receive name tags printed on-demand. But with the pandemic, we could no longer have hundreds of people crowding together in one area to pick up badges.”
In addition to queuing challenges, Burdette says her team was concerned about not having enough registration staff members to sanitize kiosks between users.
“We needed a way to deliver badges, eliminate long lines, reduce touchpoints, maximize staffing and keep everyone safe,” she says. “One idea we had was to have attendees bring their own employee badges. But with so many people losing their jobs due to the pandemic, we knew this wasn’t a realistic option.”
Burdette says her team needed a creative, yet cost-effective solution to address all five of MPI’s registration pain points.
“This is what sparked another conversation with pc/nametag,” she says. “Back in 2020, we used pc/nametag to create over 1000 gift boxes for our MPI-WEC Grapevine conference. Each box included a branded mask, hand sanitizer, wet wipes and a person’s badge. We knew the pc/nametag team could help us create a similar product that would increase efficiency and keep people safe.”
Partnering with pc/nametag
Burdette says she began working with pc/nametag to create curated event registration packets. These packets would be mailed to in-person attendees’ homes and provide event essentials prior to their arrival at Caesars Forum in Las Vegas, Nevada.
“Each registration packet featured a badge, lanyard, face mask and MPI-branded envelope,” Burdette says. “United States residents who registered for the conference before our May deadline would receive their registration packet by mail before the event. Non-domestic attendees and those who signed up after the deadline would pick up their registration packets on-site. We felt this was a great way to help decrease lines and increase registration safety.”
By the May 2021 registration deadline, Burdette says pc/nametag got to work designing, hand-assembling and mailing a total of 768 event registration packets.
“I have to give it up to pc/nametag,” Burdette says. “Their team carefully organized each registration packet, ensuring each person’s address matched their correct badge. I was impressed by their coordination and the final presentation looked great. I also appreciated how responsive the pc/nametag team was, even with time zone differences. I always got a rapid response to any questions I had.”
"I only work with vendors and partners I can trust. This comes with experience, and I know I can trust pc/nametag."
- Melinda Burdette
Director of Events at MPI
Burdette says the registration packets added a memorable element to MPI-WEC 2021. She says attendees loved the convenience of the packets, and that the experience was well worth her team’s investment.
“Before I worked for MPI, I helped plan conferences where staff members would come on-site early to assemble thousands of conference bags by hand,” Burdette explains. “Looking back, this was a huge waste of resources. Not only were we dedicating an entire day to preparation, but we also had to cover the cost of food, lodging, and transportation for staff members. I knew I didn’t want to do that once I came to MPI.”
According to Burdette, working with a professional company like pc/nametag is a wonderful way to ensure registration envelopes, badges, lanyards, signage and other event essentials are produced with the highest level of quality.
“It was never a case where we weren’t going to partner with pc/nametag for the registration envelopes,” Burdette says. “The partnership that MPI and pc/nametag has formed over the years has been a prosperous one. Their products and services continue to be some of the best and most affordable in the industry.”
Burdette says when she evaluates event vendors, she observes four different elements: Price, efficiency, attention-to-detail and trustworthiness.
“I need to know that my vendors are self-sufficient and will have the same goals as my team,” she says. “I’ve personally worked with pc/nametag since 2015, and I am consistently impressed with the excellent level of service and quality.”
Reflecting on Safety at MPI-WEC 2021
When asked about the greatest appeal of purchasing custom registration packets through pc/nametag, Burdette says the packets were a key element of upholding MPI’s Duty of Care plan—a top priority for WEC’s planning team.
“Even though Vegas was open during our event, we’d told people since November of 2020 that we were going to provide face masks and temperature checks on-site,” Burdette explains. “We wanted to mitigate peoples’ fears around gathering again, especially since this was the first big in-person conference many people had signed up for since the onset of the pandemic.”
In addition to helping in-person attendees feel safer, Burdette says the registration envelopes accomplished a variety of other goals as well. First, she says the packets successfully shortened long lines and prevented bottlenecking in the conference registration area.
“Personal space needs have changed,” she says. “People don’t want to stand within six feet of one another. We needed to accommodate everyone’s personal wishes and mitigate distancing concerns, and the registration packets helped us accomplish this.”
Burdette also says that the registration packets helped her reallocate staff and volunteers to where they were needed most.
“There was no need for a heavy registration staff in 2021,” she says. “All we needed was a help desk for questions, badge corrections or extra packet pick-up. It was nice having the option to move staff around as needed.”
Burdette's Advice to Conference Planners
Melinda Burdette says she encourages other planners to work with pc/nametag when looking to create event registration packets.
“When it comes to event supplies, pc/nametag is the first vendor I suggest to others,” she says. “MPI has continually experienced success with the pc/nametag team from start to finish. It’s not just the quality of ordering; it’s the quality of packaging, mailing, follow-through and invoicing. It is always seamless.”
Based on her experience, Burdette says she learned key takeaways she would like to share with other planners:
“Send registration packets via ground shipping as a cost-saving measure.”
Burdette says though this method took extra time, it was one of the easiest cost-saving measures her team took to maximize their budget.
“Use registration packets to keep in-person and online attendees engaged.”
Not only can registration packets add a unique factor to your event, Burdette says, but they can also be used to bring live and virtual attendees together and help them feel a part of the same conference.
“Create a Duty of Care story through registration packets.”
Burdette says that registration envelopes are not just an event marketing technique; they are also a way to solve duty of care concerns and keep people safe.
“Purchase extra packets to have on-hand at registration.”
Plan to have extra registration packets at your customer service desk, especially for any last-minute registrations and for those who accidentally forget their materials at home. Burdette says MPI always has extra badges, lanyards, inserts and masks on hand just in case.
“Include event sponsors in your registration packet.”
If sponsors want to tell a story, Burdette says planners can include a pre-loaded thumb drive in each packet. This method helps avoid unnecessary paper waste and gives attendees a reusable gift they can take home.
While mistakes are bound to happen, Burdette says anticipating challenges can help make conference planning more enjoyable.
“Planning a conference is like gearing up for game day,” Burdette says. “You never know how things will play out, but once you’re finally in it, there’s nothing like the feeling of seeing everyone come together and have fun. I love feeding off the energy of others; that’s what sustains me as an events director.”
The Key to Stressing Less During Conference Planning
When asked about her favorite part of planning MPI-WEC, Burdette says it is experiencing that “sigh of relief” after spending months planning and finally seeing attendees come together to form connections.
“By the time people arrive at the event, our team is exhausted,’ Burdette says. “We’ve been on the ground for two or three days, working countless hours to get everything set up. But for me, the most amazing part of MPI-WEC is feeling the energy once people arrive at the show. Sheer excitement is what carries me through the conference. Feeding off that energy after months of meticulous planning is an indescribable feeling.”
Burdette says having a trusted partner like pc/nametag is one way to stress less and create a memorable conference experience for attendees.
“As someone with a small team, pc/nametag’s help is critical to the success of WEC,” she says. “I am the meeting planner for this show of meeting planners, which is a lot of pressure on my shoulders. It’s nice to know that any time I am struggling, the pc/nametag team is there to help me out and find the answers.”
Create Branded Packets and Gift Boxes with pc/nametag
pc/nametag is dedicated to helping meeting planners create extraordinary event experiences, no matter the occasion.
With hundreds of customization options to choose from, we work with you to design curated gift boxes and registration packets that can be individually mailed to attendees’ homes or offices, or bulk shipped to a location of your choosing.
Curated Gift Boxes