The Collective #MICEBEAT 4
The Return to MICE – Leveraging Data and Technology
A unique time to reset how we do things
For October’s t-Collective #MICEBEAT session, Co-hosts Lea Jordan, Co-Founder at techtalk.travel and Rita Machado, VP Sales & Marketing, Great Hotels of the World, brought on Kristi White, Chief Product Officer at Knowland and Dan Humby, Vice President, Sales – Europe at Groups360 to discuss how hoteliers can leverage data and technology as MICE business returns.
We’ll be providing the key takeaways from the session but we highly recommend that you listen to the full session.
Hotel Recovery in Numbers:
- Whereas in the Middle East and APAC regions, a return to business is slow – on both sides of the Atlantic indicators of recovery in hospitality are exciting. The US has captured 80% of demand as compared to August 2019 – and Europe is following close behind with 73% of demand.
- With a strong domestic market, Berlin has taken the lead – capturing 75% of demand as compared to 2019, followed by London at 60%. Although Paris and Rome are recovering at a slower pace – 47% and 45% of 2019 levels, respectively – they have increased significantly in recent months. They are thus moving in the right direction.In the six weeks leading into October, the corporate segment, mainly through GDS, exploded with a 40% recovery in business travel across all sectors.
- In the same period, attendee numbers have increased to an average of 110 – although less than in 2019, they have been steadily increasing in size.
Beyond data – what’s the word on the street:
However, the return to business is also being largely characterized by:
- Labor shortages: on both the buyer and supplier side of the industry, leading to a change in the buyer profile. Oftentimes meetings are requested by an over-stretched, multi-tasking PA to the CEO, rather than a specialized and experienced meeting planner. Additionally, there is added complexity (and delay) by the client’s need for risk managers and legal departments to approve the event.
- Smaller meetings driving the return: effectively, high touch low return. Sales teams are swamped with sifting through and qualifying RFPs that may not match the hotel, be duplicated, or not generate significant revenue.
- Shorter lead times: Suppliers critically need to put into place processes and strategies that help them prioritize lead response.
Can hoteliers use these trends to their advantage?
All of these trends speak to a collective need to work more efficiently in the hotel’s Groups department. Now is a time like no other for hoteliers to re-evaluate how group bookings are handled and to push for the long-overdue digital transformation in the sector.
- By automating small meetings requests with online booking systems, reduced sales teams can spend more time hunting and managing more complex meetings and larger pieces of business.
- A digitized process enables revenue managers to collect booking data to benchmark and evaluate what you need to change. Are they losing business to prices, room numbers, speed of response?
- Automation can also lead to a vast improvement of how information reaches buyers – faster, clearer, and more transparent leading to better-qualified leads for hotels.
What can you do now as you look ahead towards 2022?
Larger more complex meetings will come back. Not all of your MICE business can be improved with technology alone and you won’t and can’t digitize your entire operation in one fell swoop to survive. However, once you understand that, for example, only 5% of corporate meetings have had a hybrid component, you can begin to focus on what will really matter. So as you look towards 2022, don’t get stuck on how to get back to 2019. Look at where the digital transformation will have the biggest impact on your operation for the longer term.