As a tour operator and travel expert, you’ve likely heard the term MICE thrown around a time or two at least. Even though it may sound like someone virtually yelling at you about small rodents, it’s not something to ignore. In fact, it’s something you should consider incorporating it into your current tour business.
FOR STARTERS, WHAT DOES MICE MEAN?
MICE stands for “meetings, incentives, conventions/conferences, and exhibitions”. According to Tarun Bhardwaj of Financial Express(opens in a new tab), MICE “has now become an integral part of the international travel and hospitality industry” — and as an industry, it was valued at 752 billion USD in 2016, according to various reports. MICE travel typically refers to corporate groups traveling with a particular motive in mind, whether that would be to attend an international meeting, enjoy the benefits of an incentive trip, participate in a conference or conventions, etc. Think of it as an audience that could be accessible to any tour operator (provided you’re interested in hosting them, of course).
WHY SHOULD YOU CATER TO MICE GROUPS?
With an increase in European spending on MICE travel(opens in a new tab), this market is on the rise. More countries and companies are looking to spend more on international conferences and destination meetings, and more than 50% of all business travel is MICE tourism(opens in a new tab), according to Galina Kulakova of Amara. MICE groups are also known to spend more overall, since the company tends to cover a majority, if not all of the costs, allowing travelers a higher spending power. This is great not only for your business itself, but for your local economy, especially if you are in a location where the tourism sector is still in development. It can also be a great solution to reducing seasonal limitations(opens in a new tab) if you find yourself in a bit of a rut during the shoulder or low seasons.
NOW WE KNOW YOU WHAT MICE GROUPS ARE AND WHY YOU SHOULD MARKET TO THEM. BUT WHAT DO YOU DO WITH THEM?
This entirely depends on the type of group that you’re hosting, but if a MICE group is choosing your company, then they like what they see, so think of it as a custom group tour. Establish what they need to accomplish on their trip (including the purpose of the trip as well as what they want to do or see), how many people will be in the group, when they will be arriving, how long they will be staying, and everything in between. Apart from the logistics, there are a few tips that the team here at Tourism Tiger deem worthy of your consideration.
1. Become an expert on your location & make connections
Our clients at Chicago Travel & Tours(opens in a new tab) have hosted multiple MICE groups in the past, and have told us quite a bit about their experience during the build of their new website. Not only do they position themselves as the experts in the Chicago area, they have also taken the time to make friends with other businesses and individuals in the area. The Idea is to provide themselves with a larger range when it comes to activities they can offer. Consider who you can make connections with in your area, and take steps to meet them and talk business. For example, say you are based in Chicago, just like Chicago Travel & Tours. Maybe you find a connection with some administrators over at Wrigley Field to see if you could arrange some private tours of the stadium or meet the Chicago Cubs’ team manager. Maybe you reach out to the Shedd Aquarium and see what unique opportunities could arise from that. Try to ask yourself what you think would be fun or exciting to do — chances are, the people that are choosing your company to hang out with are going to share the sentiment.
2. Consider the needs of your potential clients & get creative
As we tend to recommend what is best for our clients, you need to think about what is best for yours and what makes your area special. In this case, we’re asking you to go above and beyond, since surely, your business is already taking advantage of what makes your area special(opens in a new tab), right?
Most MICE groups are going to need a few key items though! Accommodating facilities (think conference rooms), technical equipment for events (like WiFi), catering, and security are all necessary things to account for and provide. While those things may seem boring, it’s time to scout out the places that not only offer those necessities, but can also give this group a true taste for your location. Maybe you find a nice conference room in a local art museum or a catering company that can provide your group’s native cuisine with a local twist. The possibilities are endless!
3. Provide sample or past itineraries
Once you start advertising that you can accommodate MICE groups, it’s likely that those getting in touch with you are shopping around. One of the best ways to convince them that you’re the company for them is to provide sample itineraries, real or imagined. With physical examples of what you can do for them, they are more likely to book with you and have a better sense of what they want. Keep in mind that the person you’ll be in touch with is likely Representative Ryan, the personality that is looking to satisfy a diverse group of people. Follow tip #2 and get creative! Offer a wide variety of activities and possibilities so they can clearly see your range and ability. Make your itineraries detailed so they know you’re on top of it.
But, most of all…
4. Be yourself
At the end of the day, you’re good at what you do because you’re you! You know your area and your business better than anyone, and with the right marketing and advertising, you will attract the right group of people for you. Adapt MICE travel criteria to fit into your business, not the other way around.
If you’re looking to incorporate a page into your website to target the MICE audience, it’s best you leave that to the professionals. Get in touch with us today, and we’ll handle it.
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