You’ve probably come across this acronym many times: MICE. But what does MICE stand for? And what is MICE?
If you already know that it’s got more to do with meetings than fuzzy rodents, you’re on the right track. But there’s still a lot more to know about MICE. In a nutshell, it’s a key segment in the hospitality industry and, depending on a hotel’s set-up, MICE can generate over 50% of a property’s revenue.
Keep reading to find out about each MICE segment, which technology is used, the types of jobs and careers that are available, and much more.
What is MICE?
MICE is an acronym that stands for meetings, incentives, conferences, and exhibitions. In recent years, the terms "meetings industry" and "events industry" have been gaining popularity as alternatives for MICE.
It makes up a big part of global business travel since every industry has regular events of some kind. The main goal here is always to bring professionals together, foster connections, promote new ideas, and push growth.
Traditionally, MICE encompasses mostly business events. Leisure events like concerts or festivals fall into a different category. However, many organisers now add leisure elements to larger events to better engage attendees and create a more memorable experience.
A closer look at the four pillars of MICE
As outlined above, the MICE sector is made up of four main event types: meetings, incentives, conferences, and exhibitions.
In the past, the overwhelming majority of all these event types were held in person. In recent years, the trend of moving smaller gatherings to virtual spaces occasionally was on the rise. However, demand for hybrid and virtual events skyrocketed due to COVID-19, leaving a deciding mark on the MICE industry.
Still, the four pillars remain largely unchanged. Let’s take a look at them.
Meetings are usually a single-day event held in hotel conference rooms or at convention centres. They can vary in size from only a small group of senior executives to larger gatherings like annual shareholder meetings.
The purpose is to bring together people from one company, industry, or project to address challenges, discuss plans, and set goals. Catering is often kept simple and there’s rarely an entertainment program.
Incentives are probably the most fun part of the MICE segment. They include all types of travel rewards a company offers to individual staff, teams, or partners (e.g. affiliates). In this context, the goal of an incentive is to thank people for their great performance, boost morale, or increase employee loyalty.
Incentives can take different forms depending on the company organising them. Some may send their team for an all-inclusive weekend trip to an out-of-town resort. Others might plan a variety of activities closer to home to encourage staff to bond in an informal setting.
Think of conferences as supersized meetings. They often last more than one day and can vary in size, but usually they have more attendees than meetings. As with incentives, conferences can look very different depending on the organisers and the industry behind them.
Common activities at conferences include one, a mix, or all of the below:
- Panels: A group of experts discusses a topic and presents new findings. A moderator asks questions, ensures good flow, and may take questions from the audience.
- Presentations: At a company conference, senior leaders may present the latest successes or results of the business. At public industry conferences, thought leaders may be invited as guest speakers to share the newest trends and insights. Presentations often rely on props, slides, or other visual elements.
- Speeches: Also known as keynotes, speeches often mark the beginning or end of a conference. Sometimes it’s the host or organiser welcoming or thanking attendees for joining. Other times an industry leader may address an important issue and share ideas for solutions.
- Discussions: They can be part of a panel. In this case, a select group talks about a topic while the audience listens. Some organisers use breakout rooms to encourage active debate among small groups of attendees.
- Workshops: A small group of participants works on a specific problem case or researches a certain topic. This approach is a great way to offer attendees an interactive learning experience.
The purpose of conferences varies, but usually, they’re meant to address and find solutions to challenges in a business or industry. Sharing new insights and research is a big part of that. So are networking and team-building activities.
Also referred to as trade shows, exhibitions are usually massive events that draw thousands of visitors and exhibitors from around the world. They can last anywhere from several days to a week. Exhibitions are usually very industry-specific and have a well-defined target market.
Exhibitors go to trade shows to present and promote their product or service, drive business, and liaise with existing and potential partners. Industry professionals go to network, find clients or jobs, and discover new ways to solve problems.
Common activities at exhibitions can include one, a mix of, or all of the activities present at conferences, as well as:
- Networking events: Trade shows often have networking parties for subgroups among their attendees. This is a great place to meet potential partners, discuss collaborations, and exchange thoughts on current trends.
- Awards: An award show is part of many exhibitions and honours industry leaders for their achievements. It also gives winners quite a PR and marketing push. Even if you’re not up for an award, it’s worth checking out the nominees for inspiration.
- New business pitches: Since trade shows want to promote growth and innovation in their industry, there’s often a dedicated event for new business pitches. It’s great for start-ups to gain visibility, funding, clients, and job applicants.
Why MICE business is important for hotels
MICE is an important source of business for many hotels. First, exhibitors and attendees fill many rooms at properties with meeting facilities or close to convention centres. Second, a study from Hong Kong found that on average MICE guests pay 17.5% more than leisure guests.
This is partly because having large events in town leads to high demand and the chance to charge premium room rates. Hotels that host on-site meetings or conferences may offer slightly discounted rates to organisers. However, they can drive additional revenue from meeting and F&B packages.
Finally, MICE can be a reliable source of recurring revenue. Many conferences and trade shows happen at set intervals, so hotels plan their annual budgets with these events in mind.
Leading MICE technology
MICE technology has developed by leaps and bounds in the past years. Here are some of the most popular industry-leading examples.
MICE technology for event organising and planning
- Proposal management: Modern proposal management systems allow you to automate proposal creation. They also let you set up interactive microsites which are easier for clients to go through than cumbersome PDFs.
- Supplier networks: Venues can be listed on these networks — like the Cvent Supplier Network™ — and get notifications when an organiser posts a request for an event proposal (RFP). The benefit for event locations is that they can respond quickly to new RFPs and have access to international planners.
- Event diagramming tools: They allow organisers to carefully plan their venue’s setup and floor plan. Every chair, table, booth, and hand sanitizer station can be included and mapped out. Especially in light of COVID-19, this is important to guarantee events comply with all local safety regulations.
- Room block management: Tools like Cvent Passkey® make it easier for hotels to manage event room blocks, all without endless rooming spreadsheets. They allow properties to provide organisers with a private booking link that feeds attendee bookings directly into the hotel’s reservation system.
MICE technology at the event
- Facial recognition: This technology can be used to grant admission to registered attendees on Day 1 of the event. It also does away with the need for IDs or tickets since people entering can simply have their faces scanned.
- Augmented, mixed, and virtual reality: As these technologies evolve, they create new chances for more immersive and engaging events. Especially for product demonstrations, presentations, or entertainment, AR and VR are opening endless new doors in the MICE industry.
- Internet of Things: Web-based access control (think digital keys), thermostats, speakers, and lighting controlled via the internet: The Internet of Things makes it all possible and creates new ways for venues to tailor their service to the client’s needs.
- Virtual event platforms: The increased demand for hybrid and virtual events created the need for sophisticated virtual platforms. Cvent’s Virtual Attendee Hub® addresses that by offering an online space where organisers and attendees can network, engage, and interact.
Starting a career in the MICE field
As you can tell from previous sections, the MICE industry is a diverse industry that encompasses a wide variety of jobs. They all have one thing in common though: They’re demanding, require a high degree of flexibility, resourcefulness, communication skills, and resilience. And in many cases, they come with long hours and shifts on weekends or holidays.
MICE jobs at a hotel level
At a hotel level, the sales and marketing teams take care of a lot of the organisational tasks related to MICE. They handle incoming inquiries, create offers, and liaise with other departments to realise the client’s vision for their event.
Banquet managers look after the operational side of things. They plan set-up and tear-down, schedule the staff, and work with suppliers to ensure everything runs smoothly on the day.
MICE jobs at an event location
Account and event managers at a concert hall or a convention centre look after a set of clients to support them in planning their events. They call in suppliers, get quotations, and participate in planning every detail. Depending on the event, they may attend to make sure everything runs smoothly.
MICE jobs with large companies
Large companies that regularly host events often have an in-house events team. They take care of all the organisational tasks like outlining and planning events and communicating with the venues.
Inviting guests and planning entertainment is also their job, but they may call in an external planner to help with the latter. And of course, they’ll be on-site during the event to oversee the overall operation.
How to find jobs in the MICE industry
Staff are always in high demand in the MICE industry. It’s just a matter of where you look. If you have an ideal company you’d like to work for, check their job board. If you’re looking for a specific position, look at industry job boards like Hosco.
Alternatively, there are many industry-specific groups on Facebook or LinkedIn where recruiters often share open positions. You can even reach out to recruiters directly, submit your CV, and ask if they have listings matching your profile.
Now you know the basics about the MICE industry!
After reading so much about the MICE industry, you know what an exciting domain it is and how many moving parts it has. There’s a place for everyone, whether you’re a creative planner, a meticulous organiser, or a sociable salesperson. The best thing is that everyone works together to create the most fun and memorable event for their clients and attendees.