The MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conferences, and Exhibitions) industry generated roughly $1.2 billion in 2022 and is likely to reach $1.8 billion by 2030 (Statista). MICE is one of the most lucrative hospitality industry segments with the potential to boost a hotel's sales and reputation.
Although the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 adversely affected the global MICE industry, the market will likely recover, with the meetings sub-segment anticipated to garner $979.6 billion from 2021 to 2028 per data from Research Dive.
The growth of the MICE industry is due to corporate travel growth in 2022, as the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions begin to ease. Corporate travel spend will reach 36% of its 2019 levels in Q2 2022 and 55% by the end of the year. (Deloitte Insights)
However, although COVID-19 seems to fade as the primary concern impacting corporate travel, several other causes - like increased travel prices - obstruct its recovery.
Still, despite growing compared to its pandemic levels - when the global business travel spending plummeted by more than 50%, generating a loss of $700 billion in 2020 - corporate travel will not likely reach its pre-pandemic levels this year nor in 2023.
The decline in business travel spending is not surprising, considering that the entire world economy shrank by more than 3% in 2020, with countries dependent on tourism and travel among the hardest hit by this decline. For example, global business travel spending throughout 2021 declined by 61%, according to the World Travel & Tourism Council.
MICE Benefits for the Hospitality Industry
Attracting business and corporate travellers is essential for hotel occupancy and ancillary sales. Therefore, MICE sales are beneficial as they have the potential to generate a sizeable portion of a hotel's revenue.
Through MICE sales, hoteliers can boost ROI by:
- renting event spaces
- driving more business travellers to book accommodation
- generating more a la carte restaurant and bar sales
- promoting and selling more spa and wellness packages
In addition, attracting business travellers can also increase a hotel's reputation and lead to more bookings by leisure travellers, too - as many business guests bring the family along (the bleisure travel trend) or talk to their peers about their destination experiences.
Done right, MICE sales can bring long-term business benefits for hoteliers. Use the opportunity to:
- Build strong business - commission-based - relationships with nearby venues like bars, restaurants, entertainment facilities, spas, tours and trips, gym and fitness halls, paid attractions, etc.
- Include unique experiences in your MICE packages: tasting tours, guided destination walks, cycling tours, and others.
- Provide a wellness activity during event breaks to enhance the participants' work/life balance.
- Establish your hotel as an environmentally aware, socially conscious property and conduct business ethically.
Thinking outside the box offers hotels a prime opportunity to gain PR and social media benefits: guests will always dissect the tiniest details when they are more than impressed with a hotel's services.
However, outside-the-box thinking is not enough to attract MICE tourism. Because the COVID-19 crisis changed most industries, hotels too must understand their new business environment and adapt. Several examples of "needs" occurring in hotels worldwide follow:
- Hoteliers must implement health and safety measures that will likely increase prices across all their services.
- The need for cutting-edge communication technology for long-distance meetings is on the rise. Forward-thinking hoteliers will invest in such tech to respond to new consumer demands for hybrid-type events that blend in-person and virtual attendance.
- A healthy work/life balance is a major concern for many business travellers. Hoteliers who meet this need by providing free or moderately priced wellness activities will have a lot to gain.
Adapting to these new industry requirements doesn't only benefit the hotels but also their patrons, be they MICE customers or regular guests.
Other MICE Benefits
MICE sales don't benefit only the hospitality industry: they have a snowball effect on destination-based economies, involving players from other niches.
MICE tourists will book venues but also need transportation, travel, tour operators, entertainment, restaurants, etc.
To organize successful MICE events, you'll need the cooperation of many other specialists: electrical engineers, caterers and serving staff, booth suppliers, corporate stationarity designers, bulk eco-friendly promotional gifts, and so on.
To illustrate the previous passages, here's a part of the MICE definition by EHL Insights:
"It is business tourism at its finest, aimed at bringing together top professionals from every sector in an enhanced, tailor-made hospitality setting."
Let us also not forget that MICE travellers have a higher purchasing capacity than typical leisure travellers and are also likely to spend on goods usually not needed by leisure travellers - for example, office supplies.
Finally, MICE events enable participants from home and abroad to create meaningful business connections and exchange information.
MICE spaces are not hard to buy; however, many are expensive and lack the functionality business travellers need. Still, you can always browse a smart and efficient platform like Book a Space to find events venues and meeting facilities. In addition, all spaces listed are flexible, customizable, and adaptable to the hybrid workspace model that provides today's desirable environments and defies traditional working routines.