The North American meetings market is a big target for Excel London and so this year’s World Education Congress in Orlando was another potential chance to connect with US buyers. I travelled with two questions: was the new hosted buyer programme going to work better than the (now discontinued) exhibition and connect me with international buyers, and was I going to see any new initiatives to show better value for my new MPI membership fee after the recent announcement of a 38 per cent increase?
In short, yes and no. For my not inconsiderable fee, I had eight private appointments all of which had genuine leads and an interest in London and Excel’s new ICC – first box ticked. However, beyond that, MPI continue to fail in finding ways to easily connect international suppliers and buyers and maintained an educational programme which focuses almost entirely on North American issues and policies and, for that reason, my second wish remained unfulfilled. The WEC teases you into hoping for one thing, yet delivers another – like an unrequited love.
Despite this, the event was generally well-organised as usual with a great social programme and the chance to test my Beastie Boys voice at the live karaoke on the final party night?
So the WEC: Education, yes, World, I’m sorry, but still no.