MICE Industry to Boom in 2012

2012 is set to be a strong year for the MICE industry. We review some of the key factors behind its success.

As the hospitality sector remains in a period of slow growth, businesses are looking to invest more money into securing meetings clients, whilst still keeping an eye on the bottom line market. Investing wisely is crucial to any business and keeping up with new and emerging technology and meetings trends will help to keep hoteliers one step ahead of their competitors.

The demand for meetings is growing steadily again and is the strongest it has been since 2008. The meeting budget for companies is still being watched and scrutinised very closely by corporate accountants, but high-end or luxury resorts have not been banished completely and they are starting to come back into the corporate consciousness, albeit with a guarded approach.

MICE: An Upward Trend

The size of meetings is trending up and with some hotel space at a premium; larger meetings willing to pay higher rates are being given preference. Hotel flexibility is beginning to decline as demand strengthens again, meaning planners can no longer rely on being able to make a booking 30 days before the event or receive premium space at reduced prices.

Premium space has never been so important because areas for meetings now have to be more creative then ever before. Meeting planners are now looking for hotels with spacious areas, outdoor meeting spaces and non-traditional places for smaller gatherings or areas that will inspire attendees. Meeting technology is also of huge importance with Apps being downloaded on iPads and Smartphones, meaning fast and clear internet access has to be available at all times.

Comeback: MICE Package

The meeting ‘package’ is making a strong comeback with planners embracing the benefits of the value they offer, but are open to and expectant of price increases as well. The revival of the meeting ‘package’ may well be supported by the reappearance of teambuilding and training budgets.

Groups are looking for unique half-day teambuilding options onsite, so hotels that provide creative opportunities, such as mixology classes, kitchens for cooking lessons or golf courses, are beginning to see a rise in their meetings business. Corporations are also looking to invest in the training of staff again as the competitive global economy has made businesses realise that they cannot afford to have anything but the most skilled and trained employees to fend off competition.

Location, Location, Location

The location of the venue is also at the forefront of a planners thinking again, with businesses wanting to counter-balance the destination experience with affordability. Hoteliers that can offer great value, a relaxed atmosphere and good recreational facilities, yet still provide a venue where work can be achieved, will be the ones winning the business.

The MICE sector is crucial to any successful hotel as it provides a stable revenue flow. Ensuring you a in a position to compete with your market rivals for this business is vital, so trying to be one step ahead of them and move with the trends is good business practice for all hoteliers.

By Phil Benson

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