Ensuring Security Standards in Group Business
By Paulo Salvador Global Vice President Marketing & Sales, Worldhotels | September 15, 2013
Changes in MICE Business
Travel is one of the oldest and most desirable pastimes of mankind. For hundreds of years, people have traveled the world to visit family and friends, discover faraway places and cultures and to do business face-to-face.
Within the travel and hospitality industry, the MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Congresses and Exhibitions) industry has become a segment of its own and by itself represents revenues of over 400 billion dollars. The US, UK, Germany and France are today's largest MICE markets but are slowly being overtaken by countries like China, India and Russia. These countries provide great destinations for group business and are mainly domestically oriented with small meetings of less than 50 participants accounting for 50 per cent of the market's volumes.
As the MICE industry grows, it also becomes more and more sophisticated. There is a challenging outlook shaping the industry that has been impacted by two factors: consolidation of corporate meetings and the rise of technology and online tools. Nowadays it is almost impossible to find and book a venue without the professional support of different intermediaries. They save time and provide tools that help meeting planners to find the best solution for their clients.
In the MICE industry the internet has become "a must have" for sourcing, planning and booking events. On top of that, growing web distribution and developments like virtual meetings and webcasts pose a serious challenge to hoteliers.
For us at Worldhotels, and with the support of our technology partner Trust International, group business, whether it is conferences, events, meetings or incentives are one of our largest areas of business. We have long term and close relationships with many of our corporate clients and these relationships are based on more than just delivering a product for a competitive price – they are based on mutual trust. And confidence is a key component of the purchasing process of a meeting. Also, each of our hotels provides a unique experience for the guests who come not only to participate in a conference but also to "experience" the conference. Some important safety aspects of today's MICE business that are critical for our hotels include the following: