MICE definition and strategic issues for professionals

MICE definition optimize 360

Through our Digital Hotel Agency Optimize 360

What is MICE?

What is MICE?

MICE stands for Meeting Incentives Conferencing and Events. (Also known as Meeting, Incentives Conferencing and Exhibitions). This term covers everything to do with meetings, congresses and trade fairs, from incentives (rewards for participants) and conferencing (collaborative conference work) to exhibitionism (product presentations) and corporate team-building events.

The meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions industry has become an important part of the business travel industry.

The MICE sector focuses on planning events such as meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions. This very often requires a team of professionals capable of organising and planning an event from start to finish.

The MICE sector essentially comprises convention centres, hotels, suppliers of goods and services (catering, interpreters, furniture hire, transport vehicle hire, etc.), professional organisers and convention bureaus. But that's not all...


The first part of the acronym, 'meetings', refers to the organisation of professional meetings, with all that this can entail in terms of consequences (travel, journeys, hire of meeting room(s), meals, hotel accommodation, etc.).

We will see later that, economically, a large number of operators are positioning themselves in this niche. All the more so in a context where distance working and teleworking have revolutionised the number of 'physical' meetings as they were known before Covid.

Specialised software such as Zoom, Google Meet, Microsoft Teams, etc. exploded during this period.


Incentives are, in the broadest sense, events created to encourage emulation, and are performance "reward trips" or "reward events".

Incentives Optimize 360

Corresponding to positive events, challenges, in-house competitions that sometimes lead to trips, company events outside the work environment, etc.

3 Conferencing

Conferencing can be divided into two distinct elements

3.1 Internal company conferencing

3.2 External conferencing to attract an external audience

In both cases, there may be a need for very specific organisational logistics (from hiring plenary rooms to amphitheatres, sub-committee rooms, etc.).

4.events ( or exhibition )

 Event management is a very broad field. We'll see later that it can encompass a whole range of very different types of event, from a simple family birthday party to a corporate incentive involving hundreds of people (with all that goes with it in terms of organisation).

What are the world's MICE organisations?

    • International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA, Amsterdam)
    • Union of International Associations (UIA, Brussels)
    • International Association of Professional Congress Organizers (IAPCO)
    • European Cities Marketing (ECM, Dijon)
    • MICE MAKER (Munich)
    • Meeting Professional International (MPI)
    • Professional Convention Management Association (PCMA)
  • Each of these associations publishes an annual ranking of the cities and states that host the most international congresses.

What are the different "MICE" events?

and the many players involved

  • Business travel.

which involves: transport (car hire, trains, planes, taxis) and, in fact, all the organisations that book these same forms of transport (rental companies, tour operators, OTAs (booking, Expedia, etc.), etc.).

  • Meetings

Here too, from room hire for small businesses to the hire of mega plenary halls and the organisation that goes with it, we find venue and room hire companies, whether they are individuals (AirBnB) or professionals (Regus, 1001 salles, Easyrider, Bird-office, etc.).

  • Seminars

Seminars differ from simple meetings in that they are generally planned over several consecutive days and involve both work and team building or trainingoptimize 360 seminar

Organised from SMEs to major groups, they are generally annual or bi-annual and, given their size, involve budgets of

Because of their size, they often involve organisations such as Events Agencies to help with the logistics organisation from A to Z, freeing companies from this cumbersome in-house management.

  • Incentives and Team Building

Corporate incentives can have a wide range of motivations and implications.

These range from a simple competition for salespeople within a sales force, to a manager's desire to unite his team, with a variety of objectives: creating emulation, a sense of belonging and team cohesion, trainingmotivation, etc.

It may be all the more important to create incentives if the populations concerned are heterogeneous and/or geographically distant during the year.

In intercultural management, companies like Pernod-Ricard, for example, organise a mega-meeting and convention every year on the island of Les Embiez, bringing together managers from all the countries in which they operate.

  • Training events

The need for training and the organisation of training can be both individual and collective.

When it comes to training even 5 people up to 10 people, the organisational involvement is obviously not the same.

In fact, it is the training organisations themselves, an individual trainer, and possibly external contributors, that will have to be coordinated with the internal population of the company being trained.

  • Product launches

Often linked to moments of innovation that bring potential buyers and sellers face to face, product launch events are organised specifically for this purpose.

The best known of these are undoubtedly the launches of a brand's new cars, organised either by the global brand (BMW, Audi, etc.) or by local dealerships or groups of dealerships.

Obviously, you don't present a range of cars, a perfume or fashion items in the same way, and you don't publicise them in the same way, whether it's a simple Pop Up Store or weeks of Fashion Week.

  • Conferences

Conferences are larger-scale events that often involve presentations, demonstrations or workshops with a large audience.

The aim of these events may be to inform or educate participants about an aspect of the company's business, a product, a brand, an innovation or simply a theme to be shared with a wide audience. audience.

  • Web conferences or webinars 

Particularly popular during the Covid period, web conferencing has been democratised and facilitated by a whole host of web operators who have made available tools that were previously reserved for large organisations.

There's no longer any need to travel to organise a meeting on the fly, with Google Meet, MicrosoftTeams or the equivalent to bring people from all over the world together around a screen, with screen sharing of documents, enabling immediacy, online collaboration and interaction between participants. Visit Web 2.0 pushed to its peak.

There's no need to go into the advantages and disadvantages here, as there are so many on both sides.

  • Trade shows and exhibitions

The Covid period is particularly hectic for these events, but they are still often large-scale events, with vertical themes bringing together professionals from the same business sector (Salon de l'Agriculture, Salon de l'Automobile, etc.).

They still allow products to be presented "in real life" and are still essential physical meeting places for certain professions where live demonstrations and products cannot be completely digitised.

It could also act as a vector for business tourism if these trade shows are not duplicated around the world.

  • Exhibitions (e.g. car launches)

Some one-off events need to find a venue if they don't have a showroom, flagship or showcase of their own.

Not to mention the fact that sometimes real shows deserve to be original and put into context.

Exhibiting, demonstrating live, staging, magnifying, making unique and exceptional... these are all verbs that can lend themselves to this theme, all the more so for luxury brands and brands with considerable resources that want to put their products in exceptional situations and invite potential customers to these events.

Organising events here can be part of an events strategy and a communications policy that is itself inherent in the overall strategy of a brand or company.

  • Weddings, cousin parties, birthdays, baptisms, Bar Mitzvahs ...

Here we will find smaller venues, sometimes châteaux, hotels, going for the ultra-luxury or more modestly going for the simple receptive, when it is simply a question of accommodating guests of a wedding taking place in the vicinity.

But these themes, although more individual, are also sources of business for a whole section of the economy, from hotels to wedding planners.

Professional events are not the only source of MICE, contrary to what you might think at first glance.

  • Coworking and coworking spaces

Corporate events can sometimes be confined to more occasional, spontaneous and smaller-scale requirements.

Hence the advent of coworking spaces, which (particularly in the years before Covid) were democratised and grew like wildfire before the Covid waves challenged them a little with the advent of teleworking.

  • Room hire by the hour or by the day

With this in mind, a brand like Regus (renamed International Workplace Group in 2016), founded by the now billionaire Marc Dixon, made its fortune on the concept of more or less ephemeral office rentals, creating more or less permanent professional meeting spaces, with flexibility ranging from hourly rentals to annual or multi-year rentals.

Smaller companies then entered the market to cater for a smaller clientele, in particular SMEs looking for a meeting room for just a day or even a few hours in a particular location. geolocation very specific.

This has led to the emergence of mini-OTAs for booking rooms, such as Bird Office , Offithis Riders, Kactusor Welho which even offers event spaces.

Far from the billions of euros generated by Mark Dixon, these "small operators" have come to position themselves in a whole area of the market that is still up for grabs.

  • Pop Up stores or Events

Certain professional events can also be linked to a desire to test a concept before redeploying it on a larger scale.

That's how Pop Up stores came into being, a kind of shop inside an existing shop (Corner), or outright rental of an ephemeral doorstep to set up a test shop.

This allows clothing brands to test themselves in areas where they feel the catchment areas are potentially representative of future customers.

For example, we find many of them in the Marais district of Paris, which is known for "setting the trends".

This allows you to test your business without having to invest in one or more fully-fledged businesses at the outset.

  • Digitised online events

With Covid, 'physical' operators have been forced to rethink their models.

With physical trade shows no longer able to take place because of the various confinements and drastic reduction in national and international travel, genuine online digital trade show platforms have been created, enabling visitors to continue exhibiting virtually.

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From the simple webinar or cybermeeting, we have moved into a higher dimension (3D, in fact), with operators such as Digital EXPO, which lets you create immersive 3D virtual living rooms.

Beyond the covid, it's quite easy to understand the potential savings in terms of travel costs (not), stand construction costs (not), and customisation possibilities whose only limit seems to be the imagination.

Virtual trade fairs barely created and already overtaken (?) by the advent of the Metavers so dear to Mark Zuckerberg this time:

  • Le Métavers

According to Zuckerberg, we are on the cusp of the creation of a real revolution in terms of digital consumption habits, and a parallel virtual world that could soon see the light of day.

But given the fall in Meta's share price ( Ex Facebook ), and Mr Zuckerberg's personal fortune plummeting in the process, we're not there yet at the time of writing.

A genuine revolution, the digital divide that separates us from this new world seems to be more a dream 20 years in the future than a reality today.

It may (or may not?) be a long time before a real professional event takes place in the metaverse.

As you will have realised, MICE requires a team of professionals to organise and plan the event from start to finish, especially when the number of people (participants) is high, and the organisational logistics that go with it.

Sending a company convention abroad is not something you can improvise, whether in terms of transport logistics, entertainment or even insurance.

This is in contrast to simple online meetings, which can be set up and organised in just a few clicks.

The MICE industry: some figures

As we explained above, it is in fact very complicated to consolidate MICE sales, given the large number of possible and sometimes indirect players and protagonists involved.

Once again, restaurants and hotels located close to a trade show or outdoor event benefit from the trickle-down of figures from these same events.

We can therefore clearly assume that the trend is in line with that of the surrounding global economy.

MICE period before Covid

As the excellent Coach Omium website here, While companies sponsoring professional meetings in most sectors saw the economic crisis furiously impose cost-cutting measures from 2008-2009 onwards, the MICE business continues to be a rollercoaster ride.

And we can't really predict how it will develop. Moreover, there are not always rational explanations for this phenomenon. At least the good news is that demand has picked up nicely since 2017. And, paradoxically, 2019 has been moderately disrupted by industrial action and strikes.

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MICE post Covid period

We don't yet have any concrete figures, as the health crisis of 2020-2021 is still too close to call, but it would seem that just as international tourism is recovering, so too is the MICE sector, according to tourism professionals.

In any case, MICE is and will remain a powerful source of additional sales for a number of professions (led by the hotel industry).

Optimize 360 gives you a An example of a hotel that has succeeded in literally boosting its sales thanks to MICE.

The challenges of MICE: Organising and then making the event an event

There are two major challenges for MICE.

Organising the MICE event

As you can see from the above, organising a MICE event can range from simple meeting room hire to company conventions, exhibitions and trade fairs.

In fact, the complexity of the organisation, the costs and the number of people involved are directly correlated to the size and scale of the event.

The larger the MICE event, the more important it will be to anticipate it and then to seek support, even if very large organisations may have a Chief MICE Officer.

When it comes to organising a seminar, meeting or symposium abroad, starting with finding the Idoine venue... you'll need to call on professionals to bring your project to fruition.

Making the event an event

2nd challenge: getting the word out.

If it's an internal company event, it's not too complicated to block everyone's diaries, post it on the intranet and get the managers concerned to pass it on to their teams.

On the other hand, for tourism professionals and those who work with them (hotels, restaurants, etc.), it will be a case of either becoming a central player as a "recipient of the event", or even being virtually the organiser...

Getting the word out about your know-how is therefore going to become essential for Event Agencies themselves, for tourism and incoming professionals, and if it "s a trade show or conference, to disseminate it as widely as possible (by Pulling - or by using the Internet). referencing Google - and Push - Social Networks, Advertising - ) the dates and details of this organisation or event.

This is where Digital agencies like Optimize 360 to help them.

About the author

Frédéric POULET is the founder of the SEO Agency Optimize 360 After 20 years in large groups, he founded Optimize 360 to put the know-how of large groups to work for SMEs.
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