Nothing to do with pest control, everything to do with business-minded travel. Put simply, MICE stands for Meetings, Incentives, Conferences & Exhibitions. It is business tourism at its finest, aimed at bringing together top professionals from every sector in an enhanced, tailor-made hospitality setting.
Meetings are typically held in hotel conference rooms or at convention centers. They are single-day events that bring together a group of professionals to address a key challenge or set goals for the organization.
Incentives are travel rewards a company may provide in return for excellent professional performance from individual employees, groups or partners. A few days in a resort, hotel or popular hospitality venue at your company’s expense does wonders for employee loyalty.
Conferences take meetings to the next level and are designed for a large corporate group to share knowledge across several days. They often include not only key members of the organization, but also guest speakers and the general public.
Exhibitions are essentially trade shows where an organization promotes its key products and services to the public. They are hyper-focused events that drum up business and help employees to network and build lasting professional relationships.
Implementing tailor-made MICE services into a hotel infrastructure is a way of securing additional long-term valuable growth. The latest Convention Industry Council report claimed that 85% of meetings in the U.S. are conducted at venues with lodging, generating more than 275 million room nights annually.
The expenditure of MICE travelers is much higher than leisure travelers, with profitable customers coming from the world of IT, banking, pharmaceuticals, retail and hospitality.
In brief, hotel meetings and corporate events are great way to boost revenue and secure those extra bookings. Lastly, developing MICE services is the perfect opportunity to enhance a hotel’s reputation and profile, besides its profitability.
The expertise required to excel in MICE tourist management is based on interpersonal, creative, organizational and technical skills. Innovative creativity is needed to design original event concepts, select the right venues and market effectively. The strong practical component must include technical know-how ranging from audio-visual dexterity to accessing fast-track visa apps. Soft skills such as patience, empathy, teamwork and problem-solving are vital if, for example, a large traveling party from a culturally-specific region are to be greeted with the appropriate welcome drink.
This niche hospitality market has seen hotels having to create jobs for innovative meeting planners and professional conference services staff, as well as develop industry-specific programs to add new dimensions to their overall service infrastructure. In some cases, recruiting in-house can prove difficult if all competencies are to be met, hence the rise in Destination Management Companies (DMC) that have started to spring up worldwide.
A DMC aims to offer the full range logistic services in their specialist destinations: meet & greet, transfers & transportation, hotel accommodation, restaurants, activities, excursions, conference venues, themed events and gala dinners. They are often able to provide preferential rates based on the buying power that they have with their preferred suppliers.
A number of global events focus on MICE travel, especially the incentive niche, many of which are organized by Questex Travel Group (formerly MEET). Of the annual events, these are some of the most prominent in the industry around the world: