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MICE Tourism: what is it and what these travelers look for.

Posted on 07/05/2019

MICE tourism acronym stands for Meeting, Incentive Travel, Conferences and Exhibitions.

The acronym MICE is a general term for the events industry itself. Despite involving different sizes and complexities, all of these event types got one thing in common. They’re all strongly related to business travel.

Globally, this industry alone generated more than US$ 1 trillion worldwide in 2017. By 2025, this amount it is predicted to grow to an outstanding US$ 1,5 trillion mark. In addition, according to the same research, Incentive Travel is the modality experiencing the highest peak in the next months or even years.


What is MICE Tourism.

The MICE Industry can be broken down into four big groups. Those groups sum up what the meetings industry is and, in general, have a similar overall purpose. Still, they have slight differences among themselves.


1. Meetings

  • Business meetings could be anything from director-only board annual general meetings to a training seminar. Basically, any group of people gathering in a common location, for a common reason, is a type of meeting. Other examples include: strategic planning, shareholders meeting, management meetings, etc. 

2. Incentives

  • Incentives are a way to motivate or reward associates, dealers or any employee of a company, according to their previous performance or as a way to build teamwork. As the context of travel varies, they can count with advisory of local convention bureaus of the targeted destinations. According to a survey done by The Incentive Search Foundation, Incentive Travel is a fundamental corporate culture builder. Some results about it’s effect include: 54% of respondent corporate buyers reported that they budget for it increased from 2017 to 2018. Resort retreats, annual summits and familiarization tours or even a day trip are common examples. Therefore, both the hospitality industry, as well as the tourism industry benefit directly from this kind of event.

3. Conferencing

  • Corporate conferences usually gather a group of people by profession or personal interest in a specific field, looking for information exchange and discussion about a certain topic. These conventions require complex planning and itinerary organization well in advance. They differ from meetings mainly because of scale. A corporate or government conference / convention can have hundreds of participatory meetings happening simultaneously inside it as part of a program. Annual gatherings of industry associations and organizations are a big component of this sector.

4. Exhibitions

  • Exhibitions are also known for their extensive planning. They usually are highly produced trade shows that bring products to their audience. Financial, Pharma, Beauty, Insurance, High-tech and other lead industries populate the largest exhibition centers with senior executives. They could be either businesses selling to other businesses (B2B) or straight to the final consumer (B2C). Larger fairs, despite having a clear target, might combine both modalities in the mix.

As MICE event has a limited duration, it can boost the economy of a whole city, country or region. Major international congresses exponentially increase hotel occupation and service consumption of local services. Thus, MICE events are considered one of the main solutions for the seasonality of destinations. There are so many opportunities in the meetings industry, that it might even become the main economic activity of a country.

Besides, one needs to go out there and explore. MICE travelers are often keen to try a stay-cation. That means, after attending to a corporate event, visitors and participants can dedicate some time to get to know more about the place and it’s attractions. 


Tourism or Events Industry?


Firstly, buyers of MICE travelers usually are professional associations or corporations. Looking at that, it’s easy to understand that MICE is a strong and inseparable intersection of the Tourism and Events industry. Large groups always traveled on business.

Secondly, in modern times, DMO’s (Destination Marketing Organizations) and DMC’s (Destination Management Companies) proved the power of MICE tourism. Through the last decades, they generated long-term economic growth and development to their destinations. Look at Singapore, for instance. It is continuously cited in the 1st  position of Meeting City ranking of Union of International Associations (UIA). It’s calculated that over 800 conventions take place in the city-state every year. In other words, that represents 8.5% of all the top international events in the planet.

In conclusion, MICE business model thrive by keeping up to date with corporate and entrepreneur tendencies. And that also includes selecting appealing destinations. For instance: cities like Orlando, Florida (FL) and Chicago, Illinois (IL) are ready to hold over 200 corporate conferences every year.

If we talk about Europe, research reports say that the beautiful and charming cities of Germany, for instance, generate an annual turnover of 290 billion Euros. In Spain, it generated 178 billion Euros in 2018, representing 14,6% of the country’s GDP. It’s an incredible growth rate that brought Spain to the Top 10 tourism market economies in the world, with China, Japan, Hong Kong, USA, France, Italy, India, Germany and United Kingdom. So it means that the events segment is bringing development, money and structure to theses venues, businesses, governments, etc.

Looking from inside: what experts in the field say.

 “I have no forecast to work in any other industry”, says Paula Lewis, Marcomm professional that organized events to brands such as Visit Florida and Choose Chicago.

That pretty much sums up how professionals in the field are in love with what they do. “The order here is: this industry is relationship driven. So it’s about understanding what makes people make decisions and with which frequency, what brings them happiness and what motivates them. Their psychological psyche makes MICE industry a perfect place to continue to grow personally and professionally,” she continues.

After all, we can say the meeting and the tourism industries are walking entirely hand-in-hand. They ignite and model each other in a cycle that, when successful, can transform places. Because of that, businesses are increasingly incorporating experiences to their marketing strategy. But who are these traveler and what they look for?


Reasons why MICE professionals and brand delegates love live events

Networking

It is a must to maintain an updated network of contacts and good relationships you your peers. And corporate events are excellent opportunities to meet experienced MICE professionals, visitorsand o ther MICE delegates. Creating connections, learning and keeping up with best international standards are a vital part of this industry.

Brand awareness

Corporate events strengthen the positioning of companies and increase their power within the market in which they operate. In other words, social gatherings, parties, conferences and celebrations are responsible for showing the public that business is going well. Leading associations, such as Meeting Professionals International (MPI), take these opportunities to show off their best workforce and how they have a vibrant community.

It is worth mentioning that the projects that are well positioned, are more likely to approach and retain customers, as they are well regarded by the public. It means that, in addition to notoriety for the market itself, the company also stands out before the competition and gains credibility with potential customers.

Professional development

The corporate events work on the development of the professionals already working in the company, through lectures, congresses and training opportunities.

The great advantage is in the technical improvement of employees, who can use their knowledge to improve production processes.

The development of professional skills also occurs when the company launches a new work organization, or proposes different management methods.

Thus, instead of tiring training, the event can be the ideal environment to communicate something, in a friendly way, about the work of employees.

Encourage teams and co-workers

Lack of motivation is one of the problems that most affects companies in Brazil. In addition to compromising productivity, demotivation also has negative consequences for the employee, such as increased stress, Burnout syndrome and even depressive conditions.

Therefore, corporate events can function as a motivating action, especially when aligned to meet the wishes of employees.

It is important to listen to what employees have to say, as they feel valued and, consequently, improve productivity.

Who are MICE travelers and what they look for.


MICE is a very particular type of tourism. It’s probably the most customer-centric industry,” states Tracy Fuller, President of InnovativEvents and Event Heroes. She completes: “And to understand the client’s needs, you need to interpret beyond what they say.”

MICE events are useful for a no number of occasions. Let’s say: a company that spies their competitors must be present to the events where they’ll be. Not spying in an illegal way. It’s a compromise of keeping up with the latest trends and not staying left behind.

Another example of frequent MICE traveler is the solo expert that is going to prospect clients for their consultation services. These visitors are clearly attending to events to execute this particular activity. Thus, creating the possibility of exchange of information among this number of people is fundamental. Each one of these agents need to be in mind when planning incentive trips.

Sometimes, reasons people gather can also be Ideology. After all, what could be better for our ego than finding people who think like us? We, human beings, tend to look for belonging and a sense of community. So that can also be considered an Incentive Travel or a Meeting, as these participants are after a specific objective.

Above all, the secret to be highlighted here is: who’s the client? For the Event Planner, DMC, PCO, or Live Marketing Agency, the customer is a corporation or association in the pursue of having a successful event organized. For the event itself, the customer to take in consideration is the larger audience, composed by the attendees and visitors.

Audience types

In a general way, a good beginning is to clearly know how these travelers differ from leisure tourists.

MICE travelers also usually spend 17.5% more than leisure tourists. That includes expenses on lodging, hotel booking, food & beverage, facilities, air tickets and ground transportation to and from the congress they’ll attend. But as well, their demands and expectations might also be one level higher.


Key takeaways

Incentive travel, whether they’re large events or exclusive meetings, involve a lot of prior arrangement. So it can increase the value, predictable satisfaction and revenue for clients, agencies, suppliers, vendors and destinations.

Usually, we’re speaking about decision-makers here. However, don’t take it for granted. When planning a MICE, aim to start from the beginning, asking yourself the 5 W’s and the 2 H’s first:

  • 5 W´s: What, to Whom, Why, Where and When.
  • 2 H´s: How? How much ?

These are the most fundamental questions for common problem solving you’ll need to sort out when you start planning any MICE event. That’s the only way to reach goals, meet expectations and build up real, branded, rich and memorable experiences.

And whether you’re planning to break in the industry or are a experienced professional, there are also great resources on professional trade organizations and associations websites, such as IAPCO – International Association of Professional Congress Organizers. They have tons of updated info to help event pros and students to keep up to date

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