April 7, 2011 Citing a changing meetings landscape, Dallas-based Meeting Professionals International (MPI) has redesigned its annual World Education Congress (WEC), which will now deliver “higher attendee ROI in a post-recession industry,” it announced yesterday. Taking place July 23-26 in Orlando, the three-day event no longer features a traditional trade show component. Instead, it features “marketplace experiences” designed around “personal conversations” — including the WEC Hosted Buyer Program, which connects qualified buyers one-on-one with suppliers during scheduled appointments, and WEC Buyer Connect, a free option that allows meeting planner attendees who are not “hosted buyers” to similarly scheduled appointments with suppliers. According to MPI President and CEO Bruce MacMillan, the idea was to revamp WEC to make it relevant in the emerging economic climate, as meeting planners nationwide are no longer scrambling to cope with the recession; instead, many are strategically positioning themselves for recovery. “We’re facing a new business paradigm in the meeting and event industry,” MacMillan said. “There are truly new rules of engagement and ways to do business in our post-recession world. That’s why we chose to redesign WEC this year instead of delivering the same WEC experience as we have for the last decade. WEC 2011 remarkably delivers more face-time with your partners, more brain-time for the latest ideas, more brand-time for your business story and more you-time for your success.” Other new features at WEC 2011 are two networking events — “The Blitz,” designed by venues and destinations in the spirit of a site visit, and “MarketSquare,” which will function as a gathering spot for attendees and suppliers throughout the show — as well as “FlashPoint,” a lineup of 10 speakers; the “Solution Room,” a crowd-sourced peer-to-peer learning experience; and “The Hive,” a shared space where subject matter experts will present on social media, hybrid and virtual meeting tools and trends, and where a “tech concierge” will answer attendees’ technology questions.