The first B2B Insider Gathering of MICE-in-the-bag, called MICE of Cards, took place in London on Wednesday, March 15th at the St. Ermin’s Hotel, Westminster. The first event was carried out according to the unique formula of MICE-in-the-bag: a pop-up, one-stop meeting environment for delivery-ready sellers and budget-ready buyers of MICE. MITB’s formula is to match pre-‐selected sellers and buyers, providing savings in prospecting costs to suppliers, enabling them to offer buyers more attractively priced packages.
20 London-‐based buyers and eight suppliers representing countries including Turkey, Germany, Italy and the Netherlands expressed considerable satisfaction with the meeting, commending its effectiveness and friendly atmosphere, which proved to work better than other formal environments.
Initial matches were arranged between buyers and suppliers, according to their pre- screened needs, after which further meetings took place throughout the evening in a relaxed buffet-style environment.
Points from the keynote speech by Paul Revel, editor of Buying Business Travel
Prior to the event, the suppliers heard a keynote speech from Paul Revel, editor of Buying Business Travel presenting the latest insights on the MICE industry. “IBTM’s forecast for this year predicts the balance of power will shift from sellers to buyers in the global MICE market,” he said, “pointing to a ‘quiet optimism’ towards global economic performance despite the turbulent geopolitical and economic environment.”
Revel predicted that cost-per-attendee-per-day at events will stay flat in Europe this year, compared to rises of 3% in Asia-Pacific and 3-‐5% in North America. “The American Express Meetings & Events 2017 forecast also expects European meeting budgets to remain flat this year. It found that Britain’s decision to leave the EU hasn’t had an effect on budgets, but has caused businesses to act with more caution.” The study showed that as Europe faces its share of global political and economic uncertainty, MICE activity will shift in terms of numbers, size and length.
From a buyer’s perspective, Revel commented on a preference for end-to-end management and budget control, saying: “Experts suggest a growing percentage of companies are looking at their programmes to ensure that planning processes address every element and stage of each event. One UK expert says buyers are increasingly requesting to have a single point of contact to plan sourcing, location, and planning with full visibility of the budget and the service”.
In addition, Revel addressed increased attention on duty-of-care and risk management, but that ROI against objectives remains a paramount concern, despite the familiar problems of quantifying staff retention, company culture, increased brand awareness, or enhanced market positioning.
An emerging need noted from business-‐event delegates is in well-‐being and productivity. Revel commented that: “Focusing on the experience is part of the consumer-‐driven approach we’re seeing in business travel and events. Overall, I would say that the focus for some buyers is on the overall value of an event, rather than just its cost: they are looking at what the whole event delivers – whether that’s incentivising and enhancing performance and sales or building loyalty, relationships, awareness and creativity”.
Points from the speech by Justin Roux (partner, MICE in the bag)
These thoughts were echoed by Justin Roux, who is Communications and Marketing-‐advisor of MICE-in-the-bag, SVP of Communications for Luvata Group and advisor to some of the Nordic Capital Portfolio Companies.
“The key to success is to define uniqueness in a crowded market. Generation Z customers (i.e. those born after 1982) are coming – people who want to capture the moment, engage in culture, ignoring the boundaries of the previous generations.”
Statements from the organizers
AYSE SABBATINI (managing director, MICE-in-the-bag)
“Participants really enjoyed our event. They liked the organization; they liked their hosts personally introducing buyers to suppliers – which is rare in an industry where B2B workshops are based on cold automation. They also loved MICE-‐in-‐the-‐bag’s two managing directors running the event personally. It’s our passion – we’re people who have been there.
The buyer selection is made on the basis of three important details: interest in the destination, next year’s planning and, if possible, the available budget. What makes us really different and effective is that we collect this information from the buyers right before scouting the suppliers. That’s why we feel we’ll have a good chance of success”.
ROSY BURNIE (managing director, MICE-‐in-‐the-‐bag)
“The MICE industry is unique, in the sense that you are constantly meeting people from a global perspective. Face-‐to-‐face gatherings are still a very effective way to do business. Getting the right people to meet each other and getting to know each other is priceless, as they will be more comfortable when working together. This is the core business of MICE-‐in-‐ the-‐bag. Given the feedback we had from both buyers and suppliers, I feel we have the right formula”.
Statements from participants (buyers’ side)
PERRI NADARAJAH (executive assistant to CEO & CIO, Pay Point)
“I wish to say thank you for a great evening. The venue was superb and the supplier meetings were just right. You and your team did a great job! My thanks also go to your speaker, Justin Roux. I thought he was great and his presentation was most informative. Please pass on my thanks to the whole team. I wish you all the best with your new venture!”
Statements from participants (sellers’ side)
CARLO MARZORATI (marketing manager, Charme & Adventure – Italy)
“I really like this informal way of networking. After all, relationships among companies are relationships among people. One speaks to each other, thus building the trust, which is basic for any professional relationship. I am positive that this way is better than traditional exhibitions, where you don’t always get properly tuned in with your counterpart. Ayse and Rosy’s interaction guarantees that every detail gets tailored and aimed to match the actual needs.”
EVELIN RATTI (head manager, Palazzo Italia, Berlin – Germany)
“This gathering gave me an excellent opportunity to directly get to know the buyers, with the organizers effectively approaching both sides (buyers and suppliers). A great atmosphere from the beginning.”
DENIZ ÜSTERTUNA (board member, Regnum Carya Golf & Spa Resort, Antalya – Turkey) “Thank you for the great organisation! A wonderful location, and well planned, selected and matched buyers. I am looking forward to the next event.”
The next workshop
The second B2B “MICE of Cards” insider gathering by MICE-in-the-bag will take place in Stockholm on Thursday, June 8, in a venue still to be defined. More news upcoming.