Meeting And Convention Planners picture    Meeting And Convention Planners image

Meeting planners are responsible for planning and coordinating the wide variety of activities needed to produce meetings and related events. They coordinate every aspect of a meeting, including securing the meeting location, acquiring speakers, and arranging for printed materials and audio-visual equipment. There are several varieties of meeting planner, and the exact nature of the job varies by the type of organization for which a planner works. Some of the more common types of meeting planners are as follows:

  • Corporate Planners set up meetings whose attendees consist of employees of a corporation. Corporate planners generally have short time frames in which to arrange their meetings; however, they are usually don't have to concern themselves with boosting attendance, as employees are generally required to attend.
  • Government Planners have a similar function to corporate planners, except that they work in the public sector. As such, they need to operate in accordance with established government procedures and must adhere to government guidelines when procuring materials or booking lodging for government employees.
  • Association Planners, who work for various types of associations, generally have a longer timeframe to do their planning; however, they typically need to market their meetings to association members, and convince the members that attendance is worth their time and expense.
  • Convention Service Managers usually work for hotels, convention centers, and similar establishments. Their job is to act as the liaison between the facility hosting the meeting and the planner on the other end (i.e., the corporate, government, or association planner). They generally present food service options, make suggestions regarding appropriate hotel services, coordinate special requests, and address any other considerations which will facilitate an effective meeting in their facility.

Planners who work in large organizations tend to specialize in a particular aspect of meeting planning. In these settings, one meeting may be handled by several planners, each concentrating on a specific function. Some planners focus on logistics; some handle advance registration and payment; while others coordinate the meeting content, including speakers and agendas. On the other hand, planners working in small organizations tend to perform a wider range of duties, with one person often coordinating an entire meeting. These planners usually require a sufficient level of expertise in all facets of planning.


A typical process followed by a meeting planner begins with the planner determining the intended purpose and focus of the meeting and its effect on the sponsoring organization. To do this, the planner will often consult with both the management of the sponsoring organization, to get a feel for what the organization would like to communicate; and with prospective attendees, to find out what motivates them and how they learn best. The planner will then choose appropriate speakers, arrange for entertainment if applicable, and construct the program in such a way that the organization's message is conveyed in the most effective manner.

The meeting planner will then seek out prospective meeting sites. Typically, he/she will target a hotel, convention center, or conference center. The planner will make known the meeting requirements (including dates, meeting and exhibit space, lodging, food and beverages, audio-visual requirements, transportation, etc.) to all prospective sites. After receiving responses, the planner will look them over, consider the establishments' proposals in terms of how much space and what services they can provide (and at what prices), and either choose the site or recommend a choice to top management.

After a location is selected, the meeting planner will arrange support services, coordinate with the facility, prepare appropriate personnel for the meeting, and see to it that all forms of electronic communication needed for the meeting are set up. Planners also need to coordinate the logistics of the meeting itself. Attendees must be registered, issued badges, and be looked after in terms of lodging, transportation, and supplies. The planner must also insure that meeting rooms are equipped with sufficient seating and audio-visual equipment, that all exhibits are set up properly, and that all materials are printed. They must also oversee distribution of food and beverages and must make sure that the meeting conforms to fire and labor regulations.

The planner's job is not always finished after the meeting is concluded. Planners are often responsible for deriving metrics which measure the extent to which a meeting was successful. Many times planners will have attendees fill out surveys with specific questions about what they learned, how well the meeting was perceived, and how the attendees felt about the overall experience. Very often the planner is required to quantify the organization's return on investment (ROI) from the meeting. They do this by contrasting the overall cost of a meeting with the benefits the organization received as a result of the meeting. For example, if the goal of the meeting was to motivate a company's employees and improve their morale, the planner might track and compare employee turnover both before and after the meeting.

In many cases planners are called upon to manage finances. They are often required to work within budgets which they are given by their organization. In such cases planners need to ensure that all costs associated with meetings they are responsible for planning stay within that budget. Sometimes planners are required to negotiate contracts with host facilities that include clauses requiring a certain number of rooms set aside for meeting attendees to be filled. In such cases there are often financial penalties imposed if the condition is not met.

Job Characteristics

Meeting planners work long and irregular hours. During the period of time leading up to a meeting, their work week can easily exceed 40 hours; after the meeting has taken place, their work week can be closer to normal or even consist of fewer than 40 hours. While the meeting is underway, planners may work very long days, possibly starting before dawn and not ending until midnight or later. There are some periods of time where planners are required to work on weekends. Although much of their time is spent in an office, planners also travel regularly to scout prospective meeting sites and to attend meetings. During the time when meetings are taking place, planners are present at the meeting site.

Every job has its good and bad aspects and meeting planning is no exception. The job is fast-paced and energizing, but it can also be demanding and stressful. There is seldom a dull moment, as planners are continually multi-tasking and orchestrate the activities of several parties in the face of looming deadlines. Planners get to go to interesting places and meet lots of people. They also enjoy a relatively high level of autonomy. On the other hand, the job can be physically taxing; there are often long hours of standing and walking required, as well as some lifting and carrying of boxes containing exhibits and/or supplies.

In order to be successful in this profession, an individual needs to have excellent "people skills", as well as an ability to communicate effectively, both verbally and in writing. Planners also need a very high level of organizational talent. They must be skilled at multi-tasking, and they need an ability to maintain their composure in a fast-paced environment while facing the pressure of deadlines. Other very important attributes in this job include strong quantitative and analytic skills, which are needed to deal with budgets and to understand and negotiate contracts; and computer skills, particularly an ability to make use of specialized software to help with things like finances and registration. For planners who work on an international scale, an ability to speak multiple languages is a definite plus.

Employment Outlook

The U.S. Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics (USDL BLS) anticipates that employment of meeting planners will grow faster than the average for all occupations over the upcoming decade. As the reach of businesses continues to expand on an international scale, the need for meetings grows and their importance is magnified. Face-to-face interaction will continue to be necessary even in the era of videoconferencing and e-mail communication; in fact, these forms of electronic communication actually serve to increase the demand for meetings because they tend to expand the scope of human connectivity and foster interaction among parties that previously would not have collaborated.

Industries which are expected to experience high growth will require a corresponding growth in number of meetings held. Consequently, more planners will be needed. Also, professional associations that serve these industries will hold more conferences and conventions to offer continuing education, training, and opportunities for industry representatives to exchange ideas.

A mitigating factor to consider when projecting employment prospects for meeting planners is that the profession can be highly susceptible to fluctuations in the economy. As a general rule, meetings are among the first expenses cut when budgets are tight. Although a downturn in the economy will affect job prospects for most types of planners, there are exceptions. For example, association planners for industries such as health care, in which meeting attendance is a requirement for professionals to maintain their licensure, are the least likely to be victims of cutbacks during adverse business cycles.

Education, Certification, and Licensing

Although not a universal requirement, most employers prefer applicants who hold at least a bachelor's degree. Some examples of undergraduate majors which are useful for this profession include marketing, business, public relations, communications, and hotel or hospitality management. There are presently several universities which offer degree programs with majors in meetings management. In addition, some universities and colleges offer continuing education programs in meeting and convention planning. These programs are targeted towards both working professionals and individuals wishing to enter the occupation. Program length can vary anywhere between one semester to two years.

Much of the actual training for this profession is done informally on the job. Entry-level planners often start their careers performing small tasks under the direction of senior meeting professionals. Sometimes these tasks tend to deal, at least initially, with a limited number of planning functions. As time goes on, planners may be asked to increase the scope of their duties. Planners who start their careers working at small organizations generally learn more quickly since they are usually required to take on a larger number of tasks early on.

Some meeting planners enter the occupation after having worked in a related profession; for example, in hotel sales or as marketing or catering coordinators. These types of individuals tend to hit the ground running, as they are already familiar with negotiations for hotel services, and they have usually worked with numerous meeting planners and have seen what they do. Workers who enter the occupation in these ways often start at a higher level than those who start out straight from college with no prior work experience.

There are a number of voluntary certifications available which can boost a meeting planner's chances for career advancement. The Convention Industry Council offers the Certified Meeting Professional (CMP) credential, a widely-recognized industry certification. To qualify, candidates must be currently employed full-time, have a minimum of three years of meeting management experience, and proof of accountability for meetings which were successfully completed. Those who qualify must then pass an examination that covers a number of topics including financial management, logistics, facilities and services, and meeting programs.

Government planners can strive to earn the Certified Government Meeting Professional credential, awarded by the Society of Government Meeting Professionals (SGMP). Although not required to work as a government meeting planner, this certification will help demonstrate proficiency in issues specific to planning government meetings, such as knowledge of regulations and policies governing travel and procurement. To qualify, candidates must be employed as a meeting planner at the Federal, state, or local government level, or for a firm that works on government contracts. They must also have at least one year of membership in SGMP. In order to earn the certification, qualified individuals must take a 3-day course and pass an exam.


Major Employers

Approximately one in four meeting planners works for some type of organization (e.g., civic, professional, religious, etc.). A large number of planners are employed by hotels and motels. Other large employers of meeting planners include educational services, convention and trade show organizing firms, and governments at various levels. A small percentage is self-employed.

Schools for Meeting And Convention Planners are listed in the column to the left.

Metro Areas Sorted by Total Employment for:
Meeting and Convention Planners

Listed below are metro areas sorted by the total number of people employed in Meeting and Convention Planners jobs , as of 2016

2016 Occupational Employment Statistics and 2014-24 Employment Projections, Bureau of Labor Statistics, BLS.gov; 2014-24 State Occupational Projections, Projections Central, projectionscentral.com

Metro Area (Alabama) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Birmingham 150 $41,830
Hoover 150 $41,830
Huntsville 60 N/A
Foley 50 $35,030
Fairhope 50 $35,030
Daphne 50 $35,030
Montgomery 40 $47,060
Metro Area (Alaska) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Anchorage 80 $49,550
Metro Area (Arizona) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Scottsdale 1430 $39,160
Mesa 1430 $39,160
Phoenix 1430 $39,160
Tucson 250 $34,050
Prescott 40 $43,850
Flagstaff 30 $43,710
Metro Area (Arkansas) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Conway 110 $41,480
North Little Rock 110 $41,480
Little Rock 110 $41,480
Hot Springs 30 $36,850
Metro Area (California) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Long Beach 5370 $47,570
Los Angeles 5370 $47,570
Anaheim 5370 $47,570
San Francisco 2620 $58,390
Oakland 2620 $58,390
Hayward 2620 $58,390
Carlsbad 1260 $49,130
San Diego 1260 $49,130
Riverside 690 $41,440
San Bernardino 690 $41,440
Ontario 690 $41,440
Santa Clara 610 $61,620
San Jose 610 $61,620
Sunnyvale 610 $61,620
Arcade 510 $55,790
Sacramento 510 $55,790
Roseville 510 $55,790
Arden 510 $55,790
Napa 180 $48,410
Ventura 170 $45,330
Oxnard 170 $45,330
Thousand Oaks 170 $45,330
Santa Maria 170 $48,220
Santa Barbara 170 $48,220
Santa Rosa 170 $51,590
Salinas 140 $51,710
Modesto 120 $35,470
Stockton 90 $45,450
Lodi 90 $45,450
Fresno 80 $32,380
Arroyo Grande 80 $45,890
Paso Robles 80 $45,890
San Luis Obispo 80 $45,890
Santa Cruz 70 $49,520
Watsonville 70 $49,520
Bakersfield 60 $39,460
Chico 50 $35,600
Vallejo 40 $42,180
Fairfield 40 $42,180
Metro Area (Colorado) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Lakewood 1890 $40,610
Denver 1890 $40,610
Aurora 1890 $40,610
Colorado Springs 280 $41,420
Boulder 200 $44,930
Fort Collins 180 $49,010
Greeley 40 $36,260
Pueblo 30 $31,170
Metro Area (Connecticut) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Bridgeport 230 $67,980
Norwalk 230 $67,980
Stamford 230 $67,980
East Hartford 220 $57,210
Hartford 220 $57,210
West Hartford 220 $57,210
New Haven 100 $68,730
Metro Area (Florida) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Tampa 900 $38,870
St. Petersburg 900 $38,870
Clearwater 900 $38,870
Jacksonville 390 $42,930
Sarasota 190 $43,910
Bradenton 190 $43,910
North Port 190 $43,910
Marco Island 150 $43,450
Immokalee 150 $43,450
Naples 150 $43,450
Palm Bay 140 $33,220
Titusville 140 $33,220
Melbourne 140 $33,220
Daytona Beach 120 $45,240
Deltona 120 $45,240
Ormond Beach 120 $45,240
Tallahassee 120 $46,620
Fort Myers 80 $44,080
Cape Coral 80 $44,080
Pensacola 60 $39,910
Ferry Pass 60 $39,910
Brent 60 $39,910
Gainesville 50 $43,730
Destin 40 $31,630
Crestview 40 $31,630
Fort Walton Beach 40 $31,630
Vero Beach 40 $33,060
Sebastian 40 $33,060
Port St. Lucie 40 $44,870
Winter Haven 40 $46,960
Lakeland 40 $46,960
Orlando N/A $43,720
Sanford N/A $43,720
Kissimmee N/A $43,720
Miami N/A $45,290
West Palm Beach N/A $45,290
Fort Lauderdale N/A $45,290
Metro Area (Georgia) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Roswell 1880 $49,910
Atlanta 1880 $49,910
Sandy Springs 1880 $49,910
Savannah 100 $48,710
Clarke County 90 $36,440
Athens 90 $36,440
Macon N/A $41,580
Metro Area (Hawaii) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Urban Honolulu 300 $52,180
Lahaina 140 $48,950
Wailuku 140 $48,950
Kahului 140 $48,950
Metro Area (Idaho) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Boise City 230 $35,020
Idaho Falls 30 N/A
Metro Area (Illinois) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Champaign 50 $54,030
Urbana 50 $54,030
Rockford 40 $37,660
Springfield 40 $49,960
Bloomington N/A $25,660
Peoria N/A $36,450
Metro Area (Indiana) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Anderson 590 $51,650
Carmel 590 $51,650
Indianapolis 590 $51,650
Fort Wayne 60 $35,140
West Lafayette 60 $42,480
Lafayette 60 $42,480
Bloomington N/A $37,330
Metro Area (Iowa) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
West Des Moines 260 $44,980
Des Moines 260 $44,980
Iowa City 130 $39,430
Cedar Rapids 60 $46,560
Metro Area (Kansas) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Wichita 130 $40,300
Topeka 60 $38,280
Lawrence 40 $37,090
Metro Area (Kentucky) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Fayette 100 $40,930
Lexington 100 $40,930
Metro Area (Louisiana) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Metairie 340 $40,330
New Orleans 340 $40,330
Baton Rouge 50 $24,380
Metro Area (Maine) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
South Portland 120 $40,150
Portland 120 $40,150
Metro Area (Maryland) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Towson 1470 $50,570
Columbia 1470 $50,570
Baltimore 1470 $50,570
Metro Area (Massachusetts) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Barnstable Town N/A $68,240
Metro Area (Michigan) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Dearborn 940 $44,550
Warren 940 $44,550
Detroit 940 $44,550
Lansing 240 $44,610
East Lansing 240 $44,610
Wyoming 240 $46,540
Grand Rapids 240 $46,540
Ann Arbor 180 $43,450
Flint 40 $36,490
Portage 40 $46,930
Kalamazoo 40 $46,930
Metro Area (Minnesota) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
St. Cloud 50 $37,210
North Mankato 40 $40,380
Mankato 40 $40,380
Metro Area (Mississippi) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Jackson 100 $38,530
Pascagoula 60 $36,160
Gulfport 60 $36,160
Biloxi 60 $36,160
Metro Area (Missouri) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Springfield 100 $38,450
Jefferson City 70 $37,570
Columbia 60 $35,580
Metro Area (Montana) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Billings 110 $45,150
Missoula 60 $31,250
Metro Area (Nebraska) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Lincoln 90 $42,630
Metro Area (Nevada) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Paradise 900 $45,810
Henderson 900 $45,810
Las Vegas 900 $45,810
Reno 140 $40,430
Metro Area (New Hampshire) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Manchester 50 $54,330
Metro Area (New Jersey) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Trenton 230 $50,040
Hammonton 170 $47,400
Atlantic City 170 $47,400
Metro Area (New Mexico) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Albuquerque 280 $45,600
Santa Fe 50 $43,790
Las Cruces 30 $37,560
Metro Area (New York) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Cheektowaga 400 $33,680
Buffalo 400 $33,680
Niagara Falls 400 $33,680
Schenectady 370 $47,130
Albany 370 $47,130
Troy 370 $47,130
Rochester 300 $50,250
Syracuse 170 $43,820
Rome 80 $36,490
Utica 80 $36,490
Glens Falls 60 $34,700
Binghamton 40 $45,180
Kingston 40 $50,700
Ithaca 40 $59,000
Metro Area (North Carolina) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Raleigh 380 $48,020
Chapel Hill 270 $47,720
Durham 270 $47,720
High Point 160 $36,870
Greensboro 160 $36,870
Asheville 130 $29,630
Wilmington 120 $42,440
Winston 60 $44,790
Salem 60 $44,790
Fayetteville 50 $39,030
Hickory 30 $43,160
Lenoir 30 $43,160
Morganton 30 $43,160
Metro Area (North Dakota) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Bismarck 80 $46,520
Metro Area (Ohio) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Columbus 740 $34,480
Elyria 460 $42,520
Cleveland 460 $42,520
Dayton 150 $45,990
Akron 120 $30,780
Toledo 80 $40,480
Canton 50 $38,960
Massillon 50 $38,960
Metro Area (Oklahoma) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Oklahoma City 610 $34,900
Tulsa 220 $37,510
Metro Area (Oregon) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Eugene 80 $34,010
Salem 50 $44,220
Corvallis 40 $41,210
Metro Area (Pennsylvania) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Pittsburgh 620 $43,790
Harrisburg 260 $46,730
Carlisle 260 $46,730
State College 110 $51,390
Hazleton 90 $33,330
Barre 90 $33,330
Scranton 90 $33,330
Wilkes 90 $33,330
Lancaster 90 $40,840
Reading 80 $49,190
Metro Area (Puerto Rico) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Caguas 390 $23,310
Carolina 390 $23,310
San Juan 390 $23,310
Metro Area (South Carolina) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Mauldin 220 $30,790
Greenville 220 $30,790
Anderson 220 $30,790
Charleston 220 $46,410
North Charleston 220 $46,410
Columbia 180 $39,820
Beaufort 80 $48,410
Hilton Head Island 80 $48,410
Bluffton 80 $48,410
Metro Area (South Dakota) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Rapid City 70 $31,880
Sioux Falls 60 $35,330
Metro Area (Tennessee) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Franklin 740 $36,650
Nashville 740 $36,650
Murfreesboro 740 $36,650
Davidson 740 $36,650
Knoxville 170 $28,490
Metro Area (Texas) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Dallas 2480 $52,760
Fort Worth 2480 $52,760
Arlington 2480 $52,760
Houston 1720 $46,350
Sugar Land 1720 $46,350
The Woodlands 1720 $46,350
Austin 1040 $52,500
Round Rock 1040 $52,500
New Braunfels 710 $38,850
San Antonio 710 $38,850
Bryan 110 $35,340
College Station 110 $35,340
Lubbock 90 $36,210
El Paso 60 $36,600
Mission 60 $36,880
Edinburg 60 $36,880
McAllen 60 $36,880
Corpus Christi 60 $43,980
Waco 50 $45,740
Brownsville 40 $53,130
Harlingen 40 $53,130
Amarillo 30 $32,140
Tyler 30 $40,250
Temple 30 $47,080
Killeen 30 $47,080
Beaumont N/A $36,650
Port Arthur N/A $36,650
Midland N/A $45,150
Metro Area (Utah) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Salt Lake City 450 $37,190
Orem 130 $34,860
Provo 130 $34,860
Clearfield 90 $25,280
Ogden 90 $25,280
Metro Area (Vermont) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
South Burlington 150 $42,470
Burlington 150 $42,470
Metro Area (Virginia) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Richmond 570 $46,930
Charlottesville 260 $46,450
Roanoke 90 $50,180
Harrisonburg 70 $43,110
Radford 30 $33,240
Blacksburg 30 $33,240
Christiansburg 30 $33,240
Lynchburg 30 $37,530
Metro Area (Washington) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Spokane 140 $46,130
Spokane Valley 140 $46,130
Tumwater 90 $38,310
Olympia 90 $38,310
Bellingham 60 $36,600
Mount Vernon 40 $46,640
Anacortes 40 $46,640
Yakima N/A $35,560
Metro Area (West Virginia) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Charleston 40 $35,350
Morgantown 40 $37,550
Metro Area (Wisconsin) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
West Allis 520 $44,330
Waukesha 520 $44,330
Milwaukee 520 $44,330
Madison 370 $43,430
Green Bay 90 $39,980
Sheboygan 50 $43,410
Eau Claire 40 $35,280
Appleton 40 $42,500
Neenah 40 $43,040
Oshkosh 40 $43,040
Metro Area (Wyoming) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Casper 30 $33,800

Career Stories (Job Profiles) for Meeting and Convention Planners

To find out more about building a career as Meeting Planners, we spoke with professionals in the field across a variety of specialties. Learn about their experiences on the job, the steps they took to complete their education, and what it takes to excel in this industry. Click the link to see a story.

All Types

Most Popular Industries for :
Meeting and Convention Planners

Industries representing at least 1% of total jobs for the occupation.

2016 Occupational Employment Statistics and 2014-24 Employment Projections, Bureau of Labor Statistics, BLS.gov; 2014-24 State Occupational Projections, Projections Central, projectionscentral.com

Industry Jobs Percent Annual Median Salary
Non-profit 10,460 21% $46,630
Office Services And Staffing 8,330 17% $43,310
Hotel And Accomodation 7,850 16% $41,420
Education 3,480 7% $42,050
Professional And Technical Services 3,420 7% $49,440
Restaurant 2,010 4% $34,330
Government 1,890 3% $44,190
Performing Arts And Sports 1,570 3% $41,510
Business Management 1,370 2% $52,030
Amusement Gambling And Recreation 1,280 2% $39,170
Museums And Historic Attractions 770 1% $36,910
Traditional Publishing 670 1% $50,060
Insurance 500 1% $50,510
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See What’s Possible When You Earn a Degree at Florida Tech 100% Online

Whatever your motivation for considering an undergraduate or graduate degree, Florida Tech offers programs online that can meet your needs. Here are a few reasons Florida Tech may be the right choice for you.

  • Music Business, Bachelor of Science (Online)
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  • Push Your Creativity To The Next Level.
  • Full Sail’s curriculum combines elements of creativity, art, business and life skills, technical prowess, and academic achievement.
  • Full Sail offers accelerated programs, so a degree that would normally take four years takes 24 months on average.
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  • Join us on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram to interact with our community, read about grad success, and see campus images.

We have some additional detailed pages at the state level for Meeting and Convention Planners.

Numbers in parentheses are counts of relevant campus-based schools in the state; online schools may also be available.

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