Hotels and venues looking to capitalise on the thriving MICE travel market should look for specific ways to spotlight the unique character of their property, the local area, and the overall event experience. To make that happen, be sure to tap into the wants and needs of planners and craft packages that work for their objectives. Today, that means more experiences that are visual, personal, and secure — especially when it comes to personal data.
By taking a closer look at these elements and then implementing best practices for each, your hotel or venue can truly own the MICE experience. Here are some ideas to get started:
1. Seeing Is Believing
When you’re marketing your venue, make sure to use photos and videos to tell a visual story across qualified channels such as online sourcing platforms and social media. It’s the most effective way to make a more powerful impact, right where planners source.
For inspiration, search for the InterContinental Sydney on social media platforms. It uses the power of all its social media profiles to showcase the property as an elegant, sophisticated getaway. Its visual storytelling puts guests in a dreamy, relaxing environment which serves the experiential uniqueness of the site perfectly.
Visual storytelling is also a great way to stay connected and build relationships with your planners after their event. After all, if it really is about the experience, make sure each interaction and experience is visually memorable.
Takeaway: Become more sophisticated in the visual stories you create for planners and event attendees. Use video and imagery across qualified channels to make an impact where planners source. Remember, visual storytelling serves as a powerful post-event nurturing tactic.
2. Get to Know the Neighbourhood
According to the World Tourism Organisation, 1.32 billion people travelled internationally during 2017 — a 7% increase over 2016. During the first nine months of 2018, travel again increased by 5%. Asia and the Pacific led growth with a 7% increase, followed closely by Europe and the Middle East (6%).
With more people travelling to the same places, hotels and venues need to find new ways to keep a destination fresh and maintain repeat business by standing out in an often familiar crowd.
We call this “getting to know the neighbourhood,” and it’s about helping event attendees discover unique and interesting experiences, which aren’t the usual suspects and don’t follow the well-trodden tourist trail.
This year, think local, intimate and personal. If you’re located in a top 10 destination, learn how to tell a different, creative story that will shine a new light on a familiar city and resonate with event attendees.
Takeaway: If your hotel or venue is located in a well-known city, spend time discovering local stories and unique experiences that will surprise and delight even the most well-travelled attendee (and planner).
3. Start Hiring Cybersecurity Body-guards
Planners may want personalised experiences, but they’re also concerned about privacy and security. Data breaches, insecure Wi-Fi networks and inconsistent POS standards are now amongst the “cyber” worries that planners bring to their event tasks.
The problem is that cybersecurity is increasingly difficult to implement and maintain. The accelerated pace of today’s data-driven world and the very nature of a hotel’s business model to provide tailored and more personal service makes for a vulnerable situation. One only need to look at the headlines from November 2018, when Marriott admitted that its Starwood brand had been hacked and that the personal data of some 327 million guests had been exposed, to understand the extent of the risk.
Ironically, it’s also the era of increased protection. Indeed, while meeting the Personally Identifiable Information (PII) requirements behind the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) can be a time-consuming and costly endeavour, it also helps to ensure that best practice techniques are used when dealing with customer PII – important when dealing with bookings and POS transactions.
Make sure that training is provided and that cyber risk assessments are carried out. Don’t forget to factor in the electronic devices that make up the Internet of Things, such as smart plugs, connected fire alarm systems and remote locking systems.
Takeaway: In the era of big data, hospitality professionals should be more mindful of their responsibilities to protect and secure customer data. Creating a culture of cyber accountability required a road map, common-sense best practices, and strong technology solutions.
The Bottom Line
Maximising your visual imprint, capitalising on your community, and strengthening your cybersecurity are three key ways to own your MICE experience. Use these to continue to perfect your MICE experience, so your hotel or venue offers something unique to your guests, something they are unlikely to find elsewhere.
For more ways to improve your group experiences, download Cvent’s Eight Great Best Practice Tips and Trends here.