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Chic Outlet Shopping® launches four MICE products across the collection of nine luxury outlet shopping villages in Europe

Chic Outlet Shopping®, the Collection of nine Villages across Europe developed and operated by Value Retail, is launching a new group and events strategy following the success of the Villages as locations for the MICE market. Four products are being introduced to appeal to the MICE market. The strategy will see Chic Outlet Shopping® partner with corporate and agency organisations, venues, convention bureaus, congress centres and communication and brand experience agencies to host bespoke events, groups meetings and incentives at the Villages.

Chic Outlet Shopping® aims to host around 800 events across the Collection of Villages in 2014. The Chic Outlet Shopping® Villages have already seen 22,000 delegates from 31 countries attend 280 events across the nine locations so far in 2013. Chic Outlet Shopping® is looking to increase that number with the launch of four distinct products aimed at the MICE market:
1.    Groups – Convention or corporate stand-alone meetings and events, incorporating a shopping experience into the partner or main programme. Services include priority food and beverage reservations and access to a VIP hospitality area in the Villages and can be combined with visits to other sites of tourism interest, such as whisky tasting in Kildare or a Ferrari experience in Milan.
2.    Special Events – One-off events incorporating sponsor branding and the use of the Village on a large group or sole-hire basis (generally between 300 and 2,000 guests), including bespoke private access to boutiques and hospitality options.
3.    Meetings – Use of VIP Lounges or other facilities for a personalised, ‘different’ location for a VIP meeting experience.
4.    Incentives – Gift Card based employee and customer reward solutions

As Desirée Bollier, Chief Executive of Value Retail Management, explains, the Villages provide a unique product for the MICE sector; “Last year 30 million people from around the world visited the Villages and enjoyed the mix of international brands and hospitality services. For business travellers we have seen an increase in the demand for exciting itineraries and things to do while they are attending meetings or conference in other countries. During a period of 4 days of conferences or meetings, the business or individual traveller will carve out an afternoon for sightseeing and shopping. Increasingly we are finding that brands want to align themselves with the unique ‘open air’ ambience and experience of the Villages as a channel to their customers and staff. Our new strategy and four distinct products will enable brands to do this even more easily”

The Villages provide a mix of international brands including Anya Hindmarch, Bally, Mulberry, Thomas Pink and Yves Saint Laurent, all offering their previous seasons’ collections with savings of up to 60% on the recommended retail price all year round. The Villages also offer a range of hospitality services including multilingual hosts, chauffeur-driven transport, a ‘shop and drop’ hands-free service, personal shoppers, VIP Lounges and valet parking. Companies can access all of the hospitality services in the Villages for their staff and customers including arranging prepaid Gift Cards for them to spend during their visit, and VIP Cards, which enable guests to enjoy a 10% reduction in participating boutiques.

Some of the larger groups hosted by the Chic Outlet Shopping® Villages this year include 1,700 Indonesian incentive winners and 20000 Lufthansa Miles & More Credit Card holders.

In recognition of the importance of the Villages as MICE venues, Value Retail has appointed a Head of MICE, Marnie Kovacs, to drive the new MICE strategy forward. Marnie brings 18 years of experience representing high-profile businesses including CHI Hotels & Resorts, Oberoi Hotels & Resorts, Ian Schrager Hotels and The Dorchester Collection.

As Ian Stazicker, Tourism Director, explains, Chic Outlet Shopping® expects high demand for its four MICE products from Europe as well as from further afield; “Good value luxury is an ideal fit for many companies as people will never stop aspiring and the Villages provide a perfect platform for companies to deliver their event objectives and for corporate, convention and trade show groups to incorporate into their programmes. We’re expecting good demand in our four MICE products from the under-developed European MICE market but also expect to see a lot of continued interest in particular from Asia for single or multi-destination incentive trips”.

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