The first live event for the brand-new association for independent meeting planners, Meeting Planners Unite, will be December 4 to 6 in Washington, D.C.
It has been a whirlwind for David Bruce, managing partner at CMP Meeting Services, who created Meeting Planners Unite—”a corporate association for the betterment of the independent meeting planner and the industry as a whole”—in February in reaction to the Marriott commission cuts. Since then, Hilton and InterContinental Hotels Group have followed suit. “Our purpose is to develop the planning industry into a more professional, single voice,” says Bruce. Its goals are to help foster mentorships and strategic alliances among members, but at the core is lobbying for independent planners. “Our mission is to show the hospitality industry a new perspective on the importance of our members and the benefits of developing a strong partnership between supplier and planner.” In addition to commissions, lobbying efforts will focus on promoting the importance of the third-party planner and promoting the association’s importance as it pertains to the other branded third-party companies. By leveraging the group’s ability to negotiate in bulk, he plans to offer benefits on services his members use every day, from CPA services to office products to insurance. Advisory board members include Bob Schuster, national director of meetings and conferences, CMP Meeting Services; Paul Trapp, CEO, EventPrep and Federal Conference; Suzanne Spaner, owner, Meeting Matchmakers; Robyn M. Mietkiewicz, CMP, CMM, senior director, global meeting services, Meeting Sites Resource; and Jeff Berger, president and CEO, Conference Planning Resources. The annual fee is $249 for meeting planners (independents, corporate, and association) and $499 for suppliers. After May 30, all supplier applications will need to be paired with a planner application to keep an equal balance of members. For more information visit the Meeting Planners Unite web site.
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