Insights from the MICE Conference Expo & Awards, 2019

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From Left to Right : Moderator: Puneet Saxena, Robinville ; Vishal Goradia, Hubilio ; Vijay Dadhich, Blue Moon Travels ; Dhruv Chauhan, Travelexic Technologies ; Hansraj Dutta, Hanker Solutions ; Rajesh Raghavan, Pinwheel Travel & Experience ; Dhiren Sirohi, KolorMICE

The MICE conference Expo & Awards were held at Delhi on July-19-2019. Travelexic was pleased to participate as a technology partner and also shared its views on the scope of technology in MICE. 

Here are the salient insights from the conference for all the operators who could not attend.

Are OnlineTravel Agents (OTAs) a potential competitor to MICE?

Though OTAs can’t be termed as direct competitors, their role in the travel industry cannot be neglected. With OTAs coming up with discounts and offers, they have increased the expectations of consumers in terms of pricing. However, their inability to handle huge groups and the lack of flexibility in handling specific requirements give MICE operators an edge over them.

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What new destinations are catching up in demand?

An interesting insight shared was that travelers are obsessed with locations in movies and popular web series. Prague, when bollywood movie Rockstar was released, Manali when Ye Jawani Hai Diwani was released were two of the examples. Besides, locations like Budapest, Croatia, Scandinavian countries in Europe, Penang in Malaysia, Bali in Indonesia are few of the destinations catching up.

How to retain customers?

It was concluded that the only mantra to retain customers is by providing them the best of experiences. This generally comes through innovative ideas, dedication and consistency. One of the ideas shared was to let travelers find their own route to airport by giving them a map and a cab. It was discussed that such experiences leave a long lasting memory and help in retaining customers.

Are more and more corporate companies booking directly with a local MICE operator in the destination?

It was discussed that companies can sometime think of bypassing the local MICE operator and book directly with an international (destination) operator, if enough value isn’t perceived in dealing with a local MICE operator. More so,  when travelling to previously traveled or nearby destinations. However, these cases were rare. But staying ahead of the trend, and adding more and more value to partners, was suggested as a way to negate this trend.

Role of technology in MICE travel ?

This subject was widely discussed and it was concluded that technology will have to be the enabler and augment the capabilities of a MICE operator. However, it won’t be replacing the personalized touch and the experiential capabilities of a MICE operator anytime soon. The utility of a MICE solution will be in bringing efficiency to the backend work. In context of incentive travel, in cases where the MICE operator is expected to reach out and get details from individual travellers – the current channel of communication is largely one to one. Web and mobile based MICE Technology can help create a bridge and enable collective communication. Tools such as bulk document sharing, crowdsourcing of data through live forms, broadcast notifications and real time change management are examples of how collective communication can considerably bring down man hours devoted to such work. Thereby, freeing up time for event manager, organizers to focus on experiential aspects of travel.

Moreover, with the increasing participation of millenials in both conferences and exhibitions – use of event technology becomes the only way to appeal to this demographic. Itinerary apps and increased engagement through gamification is the way forward.

What to expect in the future with regard to technology?

Another interesting idea proposed was that of connected technologies that could bring the corporate, MICE operator and traveller on the same platform. This will not only help bring down the delay in information flow ( corporates have to collect dealer data for incentive trips at a Pan-India level ). It can sometime take days before the information gets collated and shared with the MICE operator, leading to delays in initiation of the process. Joint status tracking and real time updates will ensure better planning, management and experience for the travellers. Later, vendors such as VISA operators can be plugged in and help further streamline the process.

MICE Conference Expo & Awards, 2019 helped bring people from the association, MICE fraternity, MICE technology and corporate in the same room. It was well received and unanimously egged on, by the community, to bring more such events to life.

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