A Meetings Incentives Conferences and Events (MICE) planner's job is certainly no proverbial walk in the park. There’s no doubt that to be a successful one, you need to have superpowers — or at least you need to be organised enough to lead people to believe that you have them!
When it comes to MICE tourism, it’s all the wizardry of a normal event with the added complications of travel. Don’t get me wrong, MICE tourism serves as a perfect balance of business and pleasure, and travel incentives are powerful tools and often hugely successful, but they can definitely be challenging. Here is a ‘checklist’ of the main things to tick off when it comes to MICE tourism and planning successful events:
Understand the client: the starting point for planning an event will be to ensure a deep understanding of the client, their business objectives, their desires and their needs. Do your research on them, examine their past events and ask them questions. Once you have all this information, ask yourself the ‘who, what, why, when, with and how’ for every aspect of the event.
Do your research: as a MICE tourism planner, this is something you will be familiar with. Research the client, the trends, the latest accommodation options, the best venues, top MICE tourism destinations, hotels with MICE experience and much much more. I can sum it up in three words (well, technically, in one word three times) but when in doubt, research, research, research.
Calculate a budget: key to any successful event is a clear, concise and accurate budget. It’s of utmost importance to be transparent with all budget-related aspects of any event, and it seems needless to say, but always stick to the budget.
Source the right partners: ideally, you want to work with partners and suppliers that have previous MICE experience, because for the most part this makes for easier processes all around. Take your time and find the right partners, because they can literally make or break the success of your event.
Do a site visit (if possible): a lot can be revealed about a venue during a site visit that could perhaps be concealed in pictures, but not only that, you can really get a sense for a space and a venue’s offerings if you see it in person. Negotiation around contract specifics is also easier in person than via correspondence.
Lock down dates: once you have a location that is ideal for the event you are planning, you need to lock down the dates. Be sure that this happens well in advance, allowing you enough time to create a memorable event.
Create a solid event brief: clear, detailed, digestible event briefs or requests for proposals (RFPs) are imperative. They put everyone on the same page (literally) and serve as a paper trail, should there be a ‘broken telephone’ at any stage of the planning process. Create or find a template that you feel suits you best, and tweek it for each event. Ensure that clear timelines and deliverables are outlined in the event brief.
Check in with clients and vendors regularly: make sure communication channels are always open and that goals, duties and deliverables are understood at every step of the way. Check in with vendors throughout the process to ensure that things are on the right path, and keep clients updated where necessary.
Have a vendor portfolio: keep a constantly updated list of vendors in cities/countries/ areas that you have worked with that you trust and find efficient and good or even those that you heard are great and would like to work with in the future. Over time this list will grow and it will serve as a valuable resource for future events.
Incorporate the latest trends: always be ahead of the times to impress clients and wow event attendees. Eco-friendly events, unique experiences for event participants, unusual venues and accommodation options, incorporating the latest technology into events, health conscious catering — are all recent trends, so see where and how you can incorporate them into any of your events.
Manage expectations: crucial to any event is to manage client expectations. Oftentimes clients have grand ideas of an event fit for Royalty, when all they can actually afford according to their budget, is one where a rendition of a Queen song is played. You need to manage your client’s expectations based on what they ask for and what you will be able to deliver based on the budget. Remember, in general, transparency is key but it is especially vital when it comes to anything budget-oriented.
Have an event emergency kit: unfortunately, in real life (and the MICE tourism industry) there are no fairy godmothers, no pumpkin-carriages and no prince charmings that are ready to whisk us into the sunset when things go awry. Things can, and often do, go wrong during an event — that’s just the nature of the industry. Be the MICE planner armed with an event emergency kit that offers solutions instead of waiting for someone else to fix a situation. Here’s a comprehensive list of what to keep handy during any event.
When it comes to MICE tourism, the location of the event can be a huge contributing factor in the success of it. It can be difficult to pick the perfect place, but if you are looking for somewhere with an incredible, engaging culture, gastronomic cuisine, beautiful views, ample experiences and prime weather, then look no further than Spain. Contact us for more information on running MICE events in Spain and our list of hotels in Calpe where our experienced staff can assist you in creating truly memorable events, designed to cater for your and your client’s every need.