Introduction to the MICE industry – core functions and latest trends
MICE, or “Meetings & Events Industry” as well as “Live Marketing or Live Communication Industry”, is the industry-standard abbreviation for meetings, incentives, congresses and events. The MICE industry is generally concerned with gatherings of participants based on a central motive related to corporate or industry-associated strategies. These gatherings can take place personally, virtually or as a hybrid event.
M like MEETINGS
Defined as a planned occasion of more than two people coming together to discuss certain things, a meeting usually takes place in the respective meeting rooms of a company. As personal meetings have mostly been replaced by virtual ones, they basically can take on any shape: training sessions, seminars, workshops, annual or sales meetings.
I like INCENTIVES
Widely used by bigger companies to increase motivation, an incentive is a trip, event or other benefit to reward the loyalty or effort of a certain employee. As for the planning of a trip, the company has to consider looking for a destination that is not only exciting and somehow prestigious, but also easily accessible and in a politically safe area. In recent years, more tailor-made, authentic programmes with a socially responsible and sustainable dimension have become of great importance.
C like CONGRESSES/CONFERENCES/CONVENTIONS
A convention, conference or congress is considered as an event on a comparably larger scale with the option of a combined exhibition. As they may involve a great amount of varying local suppliers, and thus lead to significant revenues, they are considered decisive for a destination.
E like EVENTS
Company anniversaries, trade shows, executive retreats, seminars – all of these, and many more, are common examples for events. Generally divided into corporate and consumer events, they can take many shapes and formats.
THE IMPORTANCE OF THE MICE INDUSTRY
As the industry relies on many local service providers such as hotels, venues, DMCs (Destination Management Companies), transport providers, restaurants and venues, it creates a significant source of revenue. In some cases hotels even generate one to two thirds of their revenues from MICE activities, since MICE tourists spend on average three times more than a normal tourist. They often serve as potential influencers for a destination and the connections between MICE visitors and local actors stimulate innovation and creativity.
Moreover, destinations benefit from the media exposure related to an event (especially by congresses) and from the involvement of local key-note speakers that act as “ambassadors” for the destination. Notwithstanding the fact that MICE activities offer opportunities for additional stays in terms of Bleisure/Workation.
KEY CRITERIA FOR EVENT PLANNERS
Face-to-face events demand the planner to take certain things into consideration, such as:
- suitable location
- access/security (political/health)
- quality of the service
- unique experience at a competitive price/performance ratio
- strong connection to the industry
- contingency plans
GLOBAL TRENDS (source: American Express: 2022 Global Meetings and Events Forecast)
- Ability to cross borders is expected to increase as more and more countries implement vaccine passports
- Local and regional events are expected to dominate the industry and national sales meetings will most certainly be replaced by several regional meetings
- People will be meeting in person on a more regular basis again
- Two-thirds (67%) of survey respondents believe that in the next one to two years, in-person meeting levels will return to their pre-pandemic numbers
Top two factors, aside from Covid-19 restrictions, influencing future in-person event planning:
- 58% are taking strongly into account health and safety for employees
- 55% expect supplier flexibility to adapt to the customers’ meetings and events requirements
- Increased focus on attendee as an individual (ideal experience, needs)
- Nearly half (45%) of respondents said that the best type of experience to encourage engagement among virtual and in-person attendees is entertainment
Hybrid and Tech
- As technology is constantly improving, it is becoming more accepted and advanced
- Good data visibility and robust analytics needed to make better-informed decisions about which events they focus on and how to spend their money
Diversity, Equity & Inclusion
- Hybrid meetings support inclusion by allowing people who aren’t able to travel to take part
- New focus on supplier diversity
- Assuring that there is a diverse mix of speakers who reflect the audience demographically, incorporating elements of local culture when appropriate
- Reducing waste, calculating the carbon footprint of a meeting (in any form), wisely choosing a location that can easily be reached by everyone