Detroit Regional Chamber > Chamber > 28 Things Every Mackinac Policy Conference Attendee Should Know

28 Things Every Mackinac Policy Conference Attendee Should Know

May 17, 2023

And 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 “the Power of &,” which will invite dialogue among speakers and attendees on why Michigan needs an “and” approach instead of “either or” policy solutions.

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 22, 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 receive an electronic ticket in your inbox.
  2. Didn’t receive your electronic ferry ticket for some reason? Shepler’s Mackinac Island Ferry will have a list of attendees and can provide a round-trip ticket.
  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. All parking options are self-parking: standard off-site parking for $20 per night and limited, premium on-site 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 remain 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.

Shepler's Ferry

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 Grand Hotel (for those attendees not staying at Grand Hotel).
  3. In early May and late June, Mackinac Island temperatures have an average range of 51°F to 70°F. The sun will set at approximately 9:20 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 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.
  7. Although face masks are not required, they are recommended indoors at Grand Hotel in high-traffic areas and will be available to attendees throughout the Conference.

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. Once you register and receive your name badge, be sure to wear it to ALL Conference programs and events. Individuals not wearing their credentials 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 your badge is lost.
  4. For those 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 badge 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 #MPC23 and see your tweets scroll on the buzz boards throughout Grand Hotel.

Mackinac Policy Conference attendees walking outside Grand Hotel

Mark Your Calendar

  1. Registration will open Tuesday, May 30, at noon. Be sure to arrive a few minutes beforehand and take advantage of early networking opportunities.
  2. Theatre sessions start Wednesday 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 in the Parlor on both Wednesday and Thursday.
  5. Kick off your time on the Island with Opening Night at the Stables and Party in the Parlor on Tuesday evening. Take this time to relax, network, and acclimate to the Island.
  6. On Wednesday, swing by the Grand Event at the Esther Williams Swimming Pool Terrace to enjoy a fun-filled atmosphere with snack stations and drinks after a busy first day of the Conference.
  7. 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 and the Popcorn Station, sponsored by Incite Analytics, on Thursday.
  8. Don’t miss this year’s featured speakers. Be sure to stop by and hear from Brian Moynihan, Bank of America’s Chair of the Board and Chief Executive Officer; Liz Cheney, former U.S. Representative; Bill Ford, Ford Motor Company’s Executive Chair; Mark Cuban, Entrepreneur and Owner of the Dallas Mavericks; and Fareed Zakaria, Host of Fareed Zakaria GPS on CNN Worldwide.
  9. 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!

Mackinac Island tulips