Meetings, incentives, conferences and events are big business for the hospitality industry, offering high-value repeat business while also connecting with a large traveller audience
The world of Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Events is returning following an almighty pause during the pandemic. Over the last few years we have seen big changes in the makeup of this business, and what is quite clear is that no MICE business is the same.
The global events industry is one that is going to see rapid growth: from a valuation of $890 billion in 2020, the market is expected to grow to more than $2 trillion by 2028.
As MICE travellers begin returning, hotels need to up their game to maintain these valuable contracts and up the ante for revenue generation. MICE travellers can be a picky bunch, with the need to provide exceptional service at each touchpoint as well as cater to very specific needs and preferences. However, studies have found they are a valuable audience spending 17.5% more than leisure guests.
Following years of remote working, virtual meetings, and increased costs, companies are now taking a new perspective on events, with the need for hospitality businesses to take these into consideration. Social events are also changing as people look to reconnect and deliver real experiences.
Today, hybrid events are big business, with a growing emphasis on more local rather than international travel; bookers expect to make reservations online instead of through a dedicated account sales manager, with more importance on health and safety and a focus on sustainability and wellness.
MICE business brings huge amount of value and benefits to a hotel
Revenue generation and occupancy rates: MICE bookings tend to be group bookings on protein. The large number of delegates to events often means that multiple properties are booked out with the requirement to host massive gatherings, dinners and parties. It’s a great way for hotels to improve occupancy, especially during the low-season.
Amenities and upselling: Beyond the scheduled programme of events, MICE travellers use a much wider range of amenities than your typical business traveller. From requiring additional meeting rooms and conference facilities, food and beverage, or using recreational amenities like gym or spa – hotels can earn substantially more revenue from each and every guest, if they’re appropriately catered for. Since many travellers are on business, they’ll have expenses and therefore look for premium services and experiences, especially if they are hosting customers or suppliers.
Repeat business: Not only does MICE business lead to repeat bookings for subsequent events, the exposure to delegates offers a huge pool for potential follow-up business or leisure bookings. In addition, hosting large-scale and renowned events will enhance the profile and reputation of the property, both in the industry and within the local community.
MICE Business: services and products
It’s important to consider MICE business with the right level of regard to the revenue it can generate. This requires hotels to think through the products that can be offered but also how services can be operationally delivered without impacting the guest experience.
Quality of facilities: consider the technology you are using in your suites, meeting and conferencing rooms and invest in state-of-the art facilities if it reflects the business and people you are hosting. This is not limited to high-speed wifi internet, but should include AV technology, accessibility, lighting, sound and comfortable and practical furniture. Nowadays there’s a need for live broadcasts and virtual events supported by high-end sound equipment and video technology.
Tailored packages: knowing your customer and their needs is essential to giving them the experience they are looking for while taking much of the stress and organisational off their hands. Afterall, you know your hotel better than anyone. Create customised packages that consider facilities, accommodation, transport, food and activities, providing the brand experience of your customer’s business – not your hotel.
Going beyond: for a lot of MICE travellers, the hotel may be the focal point – but it’s unlikely they’ll want to remain wholly on site throughout their stay. Look to offer cultural or sightseeing experiences especially during their downtime, or to facilitate networking opportunities. Travellers often want a space to connect outside of the main programme or conference rooms, so think about how you can create lounges or social spaces where delegates can interact.
Rewards: while they may only be onsite for a short period of time, make the most of their buying power and attention with programmes that reward MICE travellers whether that be discounts, upgrades or special perks.
Event planning assistance: although the business booking the venue may have experience at event planning, many delegates will not. Providing assistance for organising events, efficient registration processes and offering digital guest services where possible can help your sales contacts provide a smooth experience to their delegates, and make it more likely the event will return to your venue.
Customer service: remember, many MICE guests are away from home on business. Ensure they receive excellent customer service throughout their journey, from booking to departure. By providing access to staff, concierge or even digital help desks throughout the property, you can deliver enhanced guest satisfaction and create a positive lasting impression.
Sustainability: with a new generation of business travellers and conscious consumers, have a sustainability programme you can promote within your operations. Environmentally-friendly practices are highly appreciated, so ensure you publicise the work your property commits to.
Technology systems: Support your customers with a platform to effectively manage the event and for your team to keep on top of the needs and requirements. A central system will provide efficiencies that empower your team.
By incorporating these aspects into your MICE offering, you can create an environment and product that caters to the specific needs of MICE travellers, encouraging them to return and recommend your hotel to others.