The Collective #MICEBEAT: Lead off Discussion on the Future of MICE
A data-led, informal think tank on the future of the Meetings and Events Industry
Highlights, Insights and Action Points for Independent Hoteliers
“We’re not all in the same boat but we are in the same storm” Kristy White, Knowland
Event planners and venue suppliers in Europe are still feeling uncertain about when and how the meetings and events industry will fully pick up. With restrictions persisting and a slower vaccination rollout, Europe has lagged behind other regions in its recovery. The silver lining?
A chance to use relevant data and real life recovery experiences to navigate the choppy waters into the inevitable upturn.
For over an hour, Co-hosts Lea Jordan (Co-Founder,techtalk.travel) and Rita Machado, (VP Sales and Marketing, Great Hotels of the World), together with featured panelists, Kristy White, (VP, Product Management, Knowland) and Luke Stevenson, (Regional Sales Manager, Encore Global), discussed a sweeping number of issues based on hard data points and on-the-ground-experience. Topics on the mind of every event operator were addressed including the return of big events, the cost of technology for hybrid events, the rise of bleisure and how hotels can leverage their leisure facilities to boost meetings, RFPs and online the future of online bookability, to name a few. Access the full live streamed conversation here.
In the meantime, based on the discussion here are:
10 things you can do now to bounce back better without bloating your budget
“We don’t need big events for recovery” Kristy White, Knowland
Datashows that as recovery began to pick up in Asia, Middle East and the U.S meetings with meetings that had an average of 15 to 20 people but the meeting space was twice what it typically would have been. Across geographies, these meetings were often booked on the same day as the inquiry was made – directly with the hotel. They weren’t looking for quotes, they were looking for availability of space.
- Have at least one staff member dedicated to answering incoming inquiries for events
- Look at each incoming contact as a relationship building opportunity for the future. In the foreseeable future meetings will remain small and will be booked over a phone call or a quick email.
- Proactively provide buyers with detailed information about outdoor meeting spaces, outdoor activities and leisure offerings. This is what they are already asking about.
- Rethink every single space in your hotel from an event venue perspective. Your boardroom now has the potential to reach unlimited participants.Your terrace is now a desirable commodity; your restaurant, a certified clean and safe venue with more distancing space than your conference room.
“Football matches are hybrid events,” Luke Stevenson, Encore Global
Television is the platform, and audiences and their experiences are vastly different. In the stadium attendees have big crowds, cheering and singing. Participants at home though, have replay and can choose different angles, for example. We don’t often think of this, but hybrid events have been around for a long time now.
- Make hybrid options a normal part of event planning with your clients. Current booking trends show that this is already quite standard whether we’re talking about weddings, where guests who are unable to travel pop in and out of the ceremony and toasts or corporate events that connect multiple venues to one main live streamed event.
- Partner with meeting technology experts who can guide your clients through all of the different options, needs, issues, platforms, and price points. A venue shouldn’t have to supply the technology but they have a lot to gain if they are able to assist buyers who can’t anticipate all of the variables
- Secure a robust and stable internet connection solely for your event spaces.
- Improve the security of your IT network and have an IT specialist on hand to ensure all aspects of your meeting run smoothly.
- Revenue manage the online component of meetings held in your venues. Price bandwidth when small meetings are broadcast to hundreds of viewers, or bring sponsors on board who may be interested in a unique point of access to the audience.
“We need to go hunting” Rita Machado, Great Hotels of the World
Opportunities are there. Getting back to sales, while different now, will be necessary. Proudly a “people industry,” technology has been a looming presence that we have been reluctant to embrace. We´ve made the shift now. Our clients have too.
- Embrace the new landscape. Smaller but more scalable events, outdoor venues, bleisure, hybrid – they are all here to stay. This doesn’t imply complete shifts or huge costs. Often enough just a mind re-set and a fresh perspective on what is already there. A thorough and brutally honest good old SWOT analysis can be the perfect place to start.