Detroit Regional Chamber > Mackinac Policy Conference > 27 Things Every Mackinac Policy Conference Attendee Should Know in 2024

27 Things Every Mackinac Policy Conference Attendee Should Know in 2024

May 17, 2024

The countdown to Michigan’s premier public policy event begins! Held annually at Mackinac Island’s prestigious and historic Grand Hotel, the Mackinac Policy Conference is packed with sessions, receptions, networking opportunities, and more for the business and political industries. This year’s Conference will focus on “Bridging the Future Together” to inspire radical collaboration across divides.

The list below will address many of the questions and concerns you may encounter while preparing for the Conference – whether you are a first-time attendee or a seasoned veteran.

First Things First

    1. Ferry tickets will be electronic this year and will be emailed on Monday, May 20, from Shepler’s Mackinac Island Ferry to the email address you used to register for the Conference. Ferry tickets will NOT be mailed. Check your spam, junk, or clutter folders if you do not see an electronic ticket in your inbox. 
    2. Didn’t receive your electronic ferry ticket? Shepler’s Mackinac Island Ferry will have a list of attendees on-site and can provide a round-trip ticket. Quick tip: take a screenshot of the QR code for your roundtrip ticket back. 
    3. Be sure to plan ahead and utilize Shepler’s ferry schedule to determine your travel plan to and from Mackinac Island from Mackinaw City. 
    4. Valet parking will NOT be available. Available parking options are standard off-site self-parking for $20 per night or limited, premium on-site self-parking for $40 per night. 
    5. Stay in the know by downloading the Conference App, sponsored by Michigan Central. This is the best way to stay up to date on everything happening in real-time. This essential app even contains the attendee list, one of the most sought-after Conference resources on the Island. Download now in the App Store or on Google Play. 
    6. Once you have downloaded the app, personalize your profile and add a headshot so other attendees can match faces to names.
    7. Build your on-Island schedule using the app so you can make sure you can attend every session and event you want to.

What to Pack

  1. Grand Hotel has slightly relaxed its dress code for the Conference. Attendees are encouraged to dress in business casual or resort attire, which means ties are not necessary. 
  2. Comfortable shoes are highly recommended. You will walk a lot throughout the Conference, including daily trips to and from the Grand Hotel. 
  3. In late May, Mackinac Island temperatures average 51°F to 70°F. The sun sets at approximately 9:15 p.m. daily. Since Michigan weather is unpredictable, the Chamber encourages you to check the weather forecast ahead of time and pack appropriately. Multiple layers are recommended for comfort. 
  4. While on the topic of unpredictable weather, be sure to pack an umbrella too. Some social events will be held outside. Additionally, you will likely venture off Grand Hotel property at some point, so be prepared in the event of rain. 
  5. Bring plenty of business cards for networking purposes. Of course, if you do forget, the Conference App, sponsored by Michigan Central, allows you to exchange information. 
  6. If you are driving to the Conference, use Google Maps or Waze to help plan your drive and avoid the inevitable Michigan construction. 

You Made it to the Island. Now What?

  1. For those who have never visited Mackinac Island, please note that there are no motorized vehicles. Instead, horses and bicycles are the main modes of transportation, so keep your eyes wide open and watch where you step, especially at night.
  2. Attendees not staying at Grand Hotel received four complimentary taxi tickets with their registration. Taxis have also been secured to shuttle attendees staying at Mission Point to and from Grand Hotel with no taxi tickets required. On the Island, taxis are horse-drawn carriages, and driver gratuity is encouraged.
  3. Have your government-issued photo ID like a driver’s license or passport ready before you arrive at Conference Registration to receive your credential and wristband. Once you check in, be sure to wear both items to ALL Conference programs and events. Individuals not wearing their credentials and wristbands will be sent to registration and may be escorted off Grand Hotel property. Remember that there is a $50 fee for a badge reprint if yours is lost. 
  4. For attendees arriving late Tuesday, check in at the main Conference registration desk inside Grand Hotel before attending Opening Night at the Stables. Individuals without a credential or wristband will be denied entry. In addition, there will be complimentary taxi rides from Grand Hotel to the Stables and back. 
  5. Upon arrival, all attendees receive a Conference bag full of session invites, useful items, and other goodies to help get them through the week.
  6. The Chamber wants to see and hear what you are up to during the Conference. Use the Conference hashtag #MPC24 and you may see your tweets scroll on the buzz boards throughout Grand Hotel.

Mark Your Calendar

  1. Registration will open on Tuesday, May 28, at 11 a.m. Be sure to arrive a few minutes beforehand and take advantage of early networking opportunities.
  2. Theatre sessions start on Wednesday, May 29, at 11:45 a.m. Be sure to arrive early to secure a seat.
  3. Didn’t make it to the theatre in time to get a seat? Alternative theatre session viewing is available in the Brighton Pavilion and Parlor during most main stage sessions.
  4. Lunch is served on the Porch on Tuesday and in the Parlor on Wednesday and Thursday. 
  5. On Wednesday at 5 p.m., swing by The Grand Event on the Porch and in the Parlor to enjoy a fun-filled atmosphere with snack stations and drinks after a busy first day of the Conference.
  6. Need a bite to refuel during the Conference? Pop on by the Smoothie Station, sponsored by Trinity Health, and the Ice Cream Social, sponsored by Plunkett Cooney, on Wednesday, May 29, and the Popcorn Station, sponsored by Gordon Food Service, and the Bloody Mary Bar, sponsored by Let’s Detroit, on Thursday, May 30.
  7. Don’t miss this year’s featured speakers. Be sure to stop by and hear from Suzanne P. Clark, President and Chief Executive Officer of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce; Alicia Boler Davis, Chief Executive Officer of Alto Pharmacy; Mike Duggan, Mayor of Detroit; Dan Gilbert, Co-founder of Gilbert Family Foundation; Gina Raimondo, U.S. Secretary of Commerce; Paul Ryan, Former Speaker of the House; Chuck Todd, Chief Political Analyst at NCB News; Gretchen Whitmer, Governor of the State of Michigan; Valerie Jarrett, Chief Executive Officer of The Barack Obama Foundation.
  8. Wrap up your time on the Island at the PAC Reception: A Toast to Michigan. This year’s reception will be held at the Brighton Pavilion, and the featured legislative leaders will share how they found themselves in Michigan politics and where they see the state going in the next four years.

Keep up with these tips and more on the Chamber’s social media and the Conference App, sponsored by Michigan Central. See you on the Island!