It’s no news that the MICE industry didn’t escape the recession unscathed. In the wake of cutbacks, virtual alternatives to pricier face-to-face meetings thrived, leading some to suggest, rather dramatically, ‘the death of meetings’.
But according to Martha Sheridan reporting, back from the World Meetings Forum, despite the slump, ‘the underlying value of events to participants and companies remains as strong as ever.’
MICE industry growth and its positive impacts
Things appear to be returning to pre-recession levels with the demand for meetings rapidly growing. Sheridan goes onto explain that, alongside increased attendance levels at conventions as well as moderately rising budgets, forecasters are predicting overall expansion in 2015. Some analysts go so far as suggesting ‘a return to a sellers’ market, as demand outstrips supply in some key city destinations’ – notably in Europe and the US.
This is hardly a surprise in an industry that drives economic impact. We already know that when delegates come to new destinations they spend money, create jobs and impact not only local tourism industries but also marketing, technological, design and production teams that are indirectly involved in making MICE events happen.
What’s more, conferences are integral to the knowledge economy. As spaces for dialogue, sharing new insights and networking, they ultimately create more competent professionals and more advanced industries.
Notable Trends sweeping through the industry
A move to less traditional meeting spaces
Suggest a boardroom venue to your clients and unleash a Mexican wave of yawns. Conventional meeting rooms have taken a backseat to more inspiring spaces – fireside nooks in winter, couches set beneath palm trees on a beach in summer. Destinations providing a laid-back atmosphere, recreational offerings and comfortable surrounds are bound to trump school-room seating any day of the week.
Technology is enabling attendees to become participants
Apps created especially for the MICE industry are revolutionising events. Technology is taking care of registration, sharing detailed programmes, maps, profiles and feedback tools. In addition technology allows events to extend beyond a morning, a day or that conference week by connecting delegates via email, linkedin or event-related apps. These events are lasting longer but also reaching further as podcasts, videos, tweets and reports can spread globally beyond the individuals in physical attendance.
Customised-packages and competitive deals
With competition fiercer than ever before, venues and destinations are responding with tailor-made packages and great value deals. It’s possible to now see corporate clubs and discounts made available from even top corporate destination venues.
A broadened understanding of ROI
When it comes to an event or convention’s return on investment, sales and leads form only part of its purpose. These benefits join myriad event possibilities that include opportunities for professional development, certification, networking, work satisfaction, company loyalty, social responsibility and fundraising.
The MICE industry is facing more stringent corporate approval processes and compliance guidelines which have made timeous planning, solid communication, and the need for reliable partners more important than ever before.
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