The MICE industry is reportedly experiencing a ‘moderate growth’ through out 2011 and into 2012 as the need for international corporate presence increases.
As companies are now ‘savvy’ at seeking out deals, to remain competitive, suppliers will need to understand their business customer and be able to provide added value to their accommodation, travel and facility offerings.
Key trends include the identified need for better collaboration between planners and suppliers, good quality venues and facilities, and greater content for MICE. Being able to meet corporate social responsibility requests will give providers a competitive edge, sustainability will remain a key objective for companies, and growing usage of technology is already visible within the industry.
A number of reports highlight the potential increase in the industry ‘dabbling’ with virtual channels and social media. Technology and alternative virtual channels are predicted to become more mainstream as interaction, innovation and ‘connectivity’ become more important, perhaps changing the way the industry works and communicates. The online environment is no longer seen as a threat to the live event circuit, but as a tool to deliver a greater impact and involve even more professionals.
So, how have destinations recently used this environment to attract business tourism to their area?
Tourism Ireland’s Twitter Tour for MICE
Tourism Ireland’s British office recently announced a new business tourism promotion offering senior executives a chance to win a tour of Ireland by Twitter.
In collaboration with the International Special Events Society (ISES) and the International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA), Tourism Ireland launched a competition aimed at senior executives involved in the meetings, incentives, conferences and events (MICE) sector. The prize on offer is a ‘t’weetour’ – a tour of Ireland that can be followed on Twitter.
Members of ISES and ICCA who are active in social media are being targeted to enter the competition. Three winners will be selected to travel to Ireland this month, courtesy of Tourism Ireland, and each will have their own itinerary. Winners are invited to live tweet their experiences in Ireland, highlighting the country as a destination to their network of colleagues in the industry.
Tourism New Zealand “Beyond Convention”
Tourism New Zealand has just introduced a new campaign to internationally market the business events sector. “Beyond convention” is the creative territory that will provide an umbrella theme for all Tourism New Zealand’s destination marketing material for the business events sector.
Tourism New Zealand’s General Manager Marketing Communications Justin Watson said it is the first time a creative theme has been used by the organisation for this sector. “…Beyond convention can be applied across the sector – for meetings and conferences, convention relates to the event. In the incentives space, it is more about promoting that there is nothing conventional about an incentive trip to New Zealand.”
The theme will be rolled out promoting New Zealand across a range of concepts such as “beyond the meet and greet”; “beyond the morning break” and “beyond the cityscape”.
Visit York 4 Meetings
The changes will also see the first ever ‘Visit York in London’ meet the buyer event, aimed at attracting conference buyers from London and the South, as well as a number of international business tourism marketing opportunities in partnership with Visit England.
Other projects the Visit York 4 Meetings team are working on include the Conference Ambassador Programme with 30 Ambassadors on board, a dedicated sales day working with York venue sales staff to drive business conference bookings to the city and a programme of exhibitions and workshops promoting York’s conference venues.