The Top 10 Meeting and Events Industry Associations Explained


If you are like most Meeting Professionals, you’re a social butterfly, and may be seeking out new opportunities to connect with other professionals such as yourself through a meeting industry association. Sounds fun right? Except, there are so many options! How do you know which one will best suit your needs, which one is most fun, and which one will provide you will the best experiences?! The best fit for a planner is very different from the best fit for say, a caterer. I thought I would do some in-depth searching and share with you the who and what of some popular industry associations!

Meeting Professionals International (MPI) gets first mention as CCR’s most active association. The members of this awesome association enjoy a close-knit community of meeting and event professionals world-wide. The association constantly endows members with rich content, new business opportunities, and continuous professional development resources. MPI has the highest concentration of cooperate event planners, higher than all other industry associations combined! If you are a supplier or meeting professional seeking access to Strategic Meeting Management (SMM) content, talent acquisition, contract negotiation, and the global meeting and events industry, joining the ranks of MPI’s nearly 19,000 members is for you.

Visit MPI at:

Convention Industry Council (CIC) could be considered the daddy of them all; as its member organizations include many of those featured in this post such as MPI, ISES, ASAE, and PCMA. The association focuses on advancing global collaboration and excellence within the meetings, conventions, and events industry. The council circulates pertinent industry findings and research on external factors that affect the industry as a whole. CIC is also responsible for the prestigious Certified Meetings Professional (CMP) accreditation.

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International Special Events Society (ISES) if the industry were a high school ISES would be the drama club. With a flair for creativity, the association provides it members with inspiration and collaboration through networking events and professional development opportunities. Caterers, event rental companies, décor companies, venues, wedding planners, and independent producers rely on ISES as the global resource for event trends and insights.

Visit ISES at:

American Society of Association Executives (ASAE) while this association doesn’t provide much content for meeting professionals, its membership affords immeasurable networking opportunities with decision makers from over 9,000 organizations. If you’re looking to connect with the top executives from associations nationwide, ASAE is the ticket. 

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Professional Convention Management Association (PCMA) is the premier education association for meeting and event professionals. PCMA’s members include suppliers, planners, tradeshow and exhibit coordinators, venue faculty, educators, and students. The association focuses on educational events, including their two education conferences each year, to promote and develop its members’ regarding convention management skills and resources. For professionals needing continuing education credits (CEUs) this association is key.

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International Association of Conference Centers (IACC) for professionals looking to take their meetings global this association provides standards to ensure venues world-wide will provide your client with high-quality meeting spaces and services. Through the IACC Meeting Concept the association promotes green meetings, sustainable practices, and exceptional experiences for international meeting professionals.

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International Festivals & Events Association (IFEA) has an international vision of maintaining “A Globally United Industry that Touches Lives in a Positive Way through Celebration.” The association is comprised of suppliers, planners, and contributors in the festivals and events industry with a primary focus on building community through celebration. For resources, networking, and education on celebration, this association shares its creativity with members in 7 global affiliates.

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Society of Government Meeting Professionals (SGMP) is for planners, facilities, and service providers involved in planning government meetings and events. Focused on improving the quality and cost of government meetings SGMP provides it members with education and networking to help execute successful events with limited resources. An important thing to note, to join SGMP, suppliers and planners are asked to maintain a 1:1 ratio, assuring that there are an equal number of suppliers and planners at all times; if this sounds like the association for you, find a member and discuss parity with them.

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Green Meeting Industry Council (GMIC) is the leading resource for sustainability with meetings; providing advocacy, education, research, and resources to the meetings and events industry on the principles and standards of sustainability. For the globally conscious professional, this association connects you with the knowledge and support to transform the global meetings industry.

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Destination Marketing Association International (DMAI) provides members with education, resources, networking and development opportunities as the global trade association for destination marketing associations (DMOs). Representing over 15 countries’ tourism offices and boards and convention and visitor bureaus DMAI promotes worldwide destination marketing.  For Meeting Professionals focusing on international meetings and vendors, venues, CVBs, and tourism offices promoting their cities as prime meeting destinations, DMAI connects you with all the resources necessary for destination management.

Visit DMAI at:

Each of these associations has something unique to offer its members, yet all of them will offer the social butterfly in you a new community of industry peers to chat, collaborate, and transform with. Still don't know which one to choose? Contact them! Many associations will extend a one time guest pass to an event, this gives you the opportunity to experience what being a member would be like, and if you enjoy it- join! I hope this summary helps, happy exploring!