With the world economy improving, companies are more willing to spend money on their employees, training, business and product development. The demand for meetings and events is on the rise and though companies are not splurging, luxury venues are not being ruled out either.

Hotels can have substantial incremental revenue earnings by planning their MICE (meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions) segment properly. The business is not booked last minute and gives opportunities to improve yield. Hotels that understand how to manage residential groups, conferences and meetings will benefit.

In general, there are some emerging trends observed in the MICE industry:

  • Technology advancements and innovations play an important function for meeting planners and attendees: apps, smartphones, mobile sites and technology linked with various social media adds value in the planning stages, in information sharing and in engaging participants throughout. Technology for the MICE industry will continue to develop and play a very important role.
  • Destination is growing in importance: this is in terms of accessibility but also offerings such as transportation, culture, value and local suppliers such as DMC’s, support from Convention Bureau and general infrastructure. Destinations that invest together with the local MICE providers and make the destination ‘MICE-savvy’ will harvest great returns. The competition today is big between destinations. Planners are looking for value of money and attractive destinations to drive higher attendee numbers.
  • Return to luxury: budget constraints have not vanished and purse strings are far from being completely loosened. However, luxury resorts are not out of bounds either. Meeting and events demand has grown since 2008 and there are big demands and competition among many sectors such as IT, healthcare, insurance, banking and finance, and many more. Furthermore, the direct sales organisations such as Tupperware, Nuskin, Amway and others that are experiencing massive growth are also growing the numbers attending their conferences/incentive trips.
  • Size matters: demand overall is increasing, and individual events are also growing. Hotels are actively yielding and giving larger meetings and conferences priority, since they are also booked well in advance, and this enables hotels/venues to improve yield in other segments, to maximise revenues. Good venues have to be booked far in advance.
  • Be creative: venues are being less traditional and more flexible. The traditional boardroom still fill its function, but being more creative in offering meetings outside, on the beach, in the garden or around the pool, also creates new opportunities. Creativity is a key proposition together with flexibility in winning MICE business.
  • A professional mature business: the planners and organisers have become much more professional, and events or meetings are used as a key strategy to improve business or gain more business. In the past, every large company had a travel manager; today, more companies also have event and meeting planners.

Marching ahead

The MICE industry, after the global economic recovery, is set to move ahead rapidly. Meetings, exhibitions and events are essentially networking tools and will always be the cornerstone of successful businesses. For hotels and other suppliers to the MICE industry, it is important to recognise the way in which the world is doing business, the changing trends that are influencing global economies, and the technological revolution that is making its presence felt in the way in which events and meetings are being conducted.

Proactively responding to changes with strategic initiatives will only make the MICE industry stronger than before.