Sydney Paulden says more clarity is required about entry into the USAA few years ago I led a group of UK delegates to an event at the Amfora Hotel on the beautiful Croatian island of Hvar. When we had cleared immigration at Split Airport I found that we were one delegate short. I found that she was being held by immigration because, unknown to me, she was travelling on a Belarus passport and so required a special visa
Corporate groups are still welcomeThailand has long been a favoured corporate destination, especially for incentives. The death of His Majesty King Bhumipol Adulyadej, though after a long illness, has shocked the nation. The whole country, therefore, is in mourning. His Majesty, aged 88, had ascended the throne at the age of 18 after the sudden death of his older brother. He became the world’s longest serving monarch.
Sydney Paulden asks if you have ever seen instructions on how to use a hotel bathroom?There is one thing that always seems to be missing from a hotel room. That is a sheet of simple instructions on how to use the controls of the shower.
Bring up this topic in the company of any frequent traveller and you get immediate recognition of the problem and the examples of start flowing of the problems people have encountered over the years.
Destinations can suffer overnightWe have to face the fact that in many countries of the world terrorism is not only disrupting tourism but is actually targeting the tourist industry. One serious incident can ruin tourism business overnight.
Naturally, MICE events are very sensitive to any prospect of danger. Organisers are not going to risk wasting investment in preparation for an event that may have to be cancelled. Companies, of course, are not going to choose a risky destination as a venue for hosting the cream of their workforce or clients. ‘Safety’ is now a box that has to be ticked whenever a destination is being considered.
Isn’t it supposed to encourage MICE initiatives?ITCM was surprised to receive a release from Michael Hirst, Chair of The Business Visits & Events Partnership (BVEP) distancing that body from UK Events Week, an initiative announced by Mash Media to coincide with their show, Confex 2016, 29th February to 4th March. .
The award-winning 3D film of Jerusalem helps to provide an answerEveryone engaged in the global travel sector is asked by acquaintances ‘Which is the best trip you have ever made?’
That is an impossible question to answer, of course, without defining the word ‘best’. Was it a canoe trip on the Zambezi close to the edge of the Victoria Falls? Was it a day with a group in Disney’s Magic Kingdom? Was it attending a ball in Vienna?
If the question relates to a choice of destination for an incentive group, then there are entirely different criteria. What is the age range of the award winners? Does the host company prefer some kind of connection with its core business? How important is the overall cost? What about flight connections? And so on . .
Incentives are back in fashionITCM is in touch daily with scores of MICE correspondents around the globe. We are very pleased to report that we are receiving more and more notices stating that MICE business is on the up.
In addition to news material, we welcome enquiries from event organisers asking if we can be of assistance in bringing them up-to-date on specific destinations or venues that they are considering. These enquiries, too, are on the increase.
Behaviour protocol should be established for the futureThe world has great sympathy for so many people in parts of West Africa who have lost family members to the dreadful ebola epidemic. No one can fail to appreciate how appalling it must be to live in an affected area and to see the fever spread around you.
It has at last become a priority for nations outside the affected areas to provide assistance as rapidly as possible – and, at the same time, to do everything possible to protect their own nations from its spread.
. . . the destination is on showOrganisers of large events, with several hundred delegates up to many thousands, don’t just choose a venue. They choose a destination.
Large numbers of senior people from many countries, with lots of disposable income, will not only participate in sessions in a venue, but will be seeking alternative places to eat and drink, tourist sights to visit, attractions to take in on a leisure activity.
Business is arriving – but from different sourcesThere is a definite sense that the MICE sector is showing signs of recovery. At present it is mainly in terms of enquiries for events, but there have been some notably big pieces of business. The interesting pointer is that recent big contracts, especially for incentives, have come from the emerging markets.
The outstanding source is China and there is also lots of new potential in countries such as India, Russia, Brazil, Indonesia and Korea.
China is now second only to USA as visitor to ITCMChina is still a novel destination and event organisers can be sure that their award winners or delegates will have memorable experiences if they select some part of China for their venue or programme. It is a huge country, with unending diversity of customs and cultures, visitor attractions, flora and fauna – and it was closed to foreign visitors for long periods.
Paris and Madrid overtake ViennaICCA (International Congress & Convention Association) has released its statistics for meetings held in 2013. They show continued growth in spite of the years of recession. As many as 11,685 regularly occurring association events which rotate between at least three countries were identified as having taken place during 2013. This was 535 more than the previous year.
Destinations and venues can reap big benefits within a couple of yearsNot everyone can be a champion in a sport, but pretty well everyone has a competitive instinct in one form or another.
This instinct can be encouraged and then put to good use in business - and particularly in MICE business.
There are hundreds of thousands of people round the world setting themselves targets in all kinds of different ways. Notably there is running or just jogging. They aim for their PB – their Personal Best. It’s a natural inclination.
ANTOR members vote for shorter showOne the one hand the number of MICE exhibitions, workshops and round-table forums is increasing. On the other hand, there is a very evident demand for shows to be shorter. The most recent example was International Confex in London, which has been going for over 30 years. In 2014 it was cut from three days to two.
$50m in events secured for Sydney’s new facility at Darling HarbourThe impact of the events world on the outside world as a whole is most visible when a big conference comes to town. Cities talk in terms of millions of pounds or dollars benefit to the local economy.
However, there is even more to it than that. The additional benefits have been nicely summed up by Lyn Lewis-Smith, the CEO of Business Events Sydney.
Sustainability and fun are ingredients in event cateringCelebrity chefs who feature on TV would probably require fees that would break most budgets for feeding delegates at conferences, but their messages are having an influence on the MICE catering business and can be incorporated at reasonable cost. Fresh ingredients bought from local sources in the right seasons are very much the in-thing at the moment.
User statistics are remarkably stablePrinted magazines and online newsletters have a circulation. They have lists of addresses to which they send their publications regularly.
Does ITCM Website have a circulation?
Well, not in the same sense, because ITCM is open to anyone in the world to access it though their online connection.
However, ITCM has remarkably detailed statistics on the numbers of users, their countries of origin and other valuable information. Study of all this can provide a picture of the website’s audience. The statistics can indicate that people are regularly tapping into the website and are, therefore, equivalent to a requested circulation.
Mapp2link gives users a ‘push’ towards valued contactsIt is widely believed that people attend conferences as much to network with the other delegates as to hear the presentations. It is often found that a higher percentage of acceptances can be achieved by listing who else will be in the audience in addition to the speakers on the platform.
I was therefore keen to listen to Cormac Corrigan when I met him at EIBTM 2013 in Barcelona last month. He is the CEO of Mapp2link. He has introduced the Mapp2link app to take networking to another level.
How can we get more accurate global statistics?eIn 1989, I read in a national newspaper that it was estimated that in the UK about £250m a year was spent on conferences and meetings. This sum seemed pathetically understated to me, but how could I determine its real value?
I dug around and, for example, received information from the major airlines on how much was spent with them by business groups. From major hotel chains I got an idea of how much group events contributed to their revenue and I sent a questionnaire to the readers of ITCM and asked how much their companies spent on MICE events each year.