A recent whitepaper on ‘Business travel in India’ by FCM Travel Solutions and KPMG revealed that the business travel spends in India is expected to reach USD 93 Billion by 2030. A large part of this expense is cornered by the MICE market

The term “MICE” in the context of travel is an acronym for meetings, incentives, conferences, and exhibitions. The MICE market refers to a specialized niche of group tourism which is a big money-maker in the travel industry. Travel Planning Experts and Travel Companies must look at MICE as another vertical with huge bottom line potential.

For those looking to get started, here is a beginner’s guide on MICE management and execution:

The Different Types of MICE Travel:

When it comes to understanding which type of MICE travel, you’d rather get into – it’s important to understand the different terms that comprise the acronym. While meeting and conference travel may sound similar, for instance, understanding the nuances will be important when planning to take that plunge into the MICE business.

MEETING: It is any number of people coming together in one place for an activity, which can be a one-time event or recur regularly. Normally meetings consist of participants from the same company.

CONFERENCE: Similar to a meeting, it is a gathering of people coming together at one place, but conferences usually have specific objectives and exchanges of information.

INCENTIVE: Incentive travel is typically given to employees or channel partners as a reward. Incentive travel doesn’t usually have a business or explicit educational component.

EXHIBITION: Products or services are displayed, and they might be the primary focus of the event, which means that exhibition travel agents are those who organize such showcases.

For Travel experts who would like to get into this vertical, next is a brief of the Mice Planning Process

THE MICE PLANNING PROCESS

The Brief and Proposal

The first stage of the event planning involves taking a brief from the client. As the event planner, you need to ascertain what their needs and objectives are; what is it they are trying to achieve? What needs to be communicated? What budgets do they have? How are they going to measure the success of the event? Will it be through an increase in sales, media activity, or just feedback from the guests? Often, a client wouldn’t have thought about some of these points, so it’s your job to ask the relevant questions to help them articulate their goals before you can go back to them with a creative solution in the form of a proposal or an inspiration deck.

In order to provide all this information, you may need to:

  1. Concept/Theme; Devise the creative concept, strategy, theme, and format of the event.
  2. Feasibility; Conduct a feasible study and investigate whether the event concept is viable and whether permits, licenses, or special permissions are required.
  3. Venues/Locations; Research venues and locations, check suitability and availability, conduct inspections, reserve dates and obtain prices.
  4. Travel and Accommodation; Research travel and accommodation options, including prices and availability for guests and staff
  5. Timeline; Decide on the programme timeline and order explaining what will happen when.
  6. Catering; Research catering options, obtain sample menus, and written quotes from suppliers
  7. Production; Create initial designs, set drawings, visuals, models, and mock-ups for the décor, set, and theme, and obtain written quotes. Get quotes for stage equipment and other ancillary services.
  8. Marketing and Communication; Develop ideas and obtain written quotes for event marketing materials, invitations, tickets, payment processing, websites, social media campaigns, databases, brochures, mailings, conferences packs/event brochures, handouts, giveaways, signage, and branding.
  9. Entertainment/Activities/Speakers; Check availability, and obtain written quotes for entertainment, activities, and speakers.
  10. Budget; Create a detailed budget, often with a number of different optional ‘upgrades’ or reduced spec alternatives
  11. Presentation; Create a presentation to communicate all the above information.

Project Execution, Monitoring, and Control

The execution stage of the process is about taking actions for all the elements that were researched and presented at the proposal stage.

This stage of planning is about making everything happen; fine-tuning plans, finding solutions to problems, negotiating with suppliers, number-crunching the budget, adhering to deadlines, promoting the event and coordinating replies, confirming reservations, booking equipment, staff, and resources, paying supplier deposits, and designing, creating, or sourcing the deliverables such as the sets and décor, or the event marketing/communications materials.

The execution stage would include:

  1. Travel Arrangements; Booking and confirming flights for guests, production crew, onsite coordinators, artists, speakers, and performers.
  2. Travel Schedules; Drawing up a list of all flight arrivals/departures and ensuring someone is there to meet each person and providing transfers to/from the Hotel.
  3. Accommodation Arrangements; Reserving and confirming hotel rooms for guests and staff, including any ground transfers necessary to take them from the hotel to the event venue.
  4. Designing a detailed agenda for attendees or using technologies similar to Travelexic for sharing agenda and travel documents directly on attendee mobile phones.
  5. Registrations; Maintaining a database of attendees or participants to confirm arrivals manually or use an enabling MICE management solution such as Travelexic to organize and cut down operational work.
  6. Production; Making sure that the event proceeds smoothly, managing the event flow, manpower and equipment.
  7. Budget; While performing all the above duties, ensure that all is within the planned budget.
  8. Post Event Evaluation; This would include following up with guests, team de-briefs, client de-briefs, budget reconciliation, processing final payments, and finally, collecting data and measuring results. You may also use the in-app feedback notification feature available with Travelexic, to collate and analyse incoming feedback.

There will be clients who will make crazy demands, expect you to perform miracles with no budget, or turn things around in unrealistic time frames. In the MICE tourism industry, managing clients can take up a lot of your time, and will often be a test of your patience, diplomacy, and people skills. For most operational tasks, the use of MICE technology, including itinerary app, will help give you an edge and help free up time for investing in people management and crafting experiences, that will stay on with your clients forever.

Of course, you would want to do everything – event execution, travel and accommodation arrangements by self. It might be best to leave event execution to a specialist before you learn the ropes. In the end, there is nothing quite as satisfying as seeing months of meticulous planning, thorough organization, and military-style logistics, finally come together in an exhilarating live event….and YES, THE MONEY!


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