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Convention, meeting and incentive tourism (MICE) is an important segment of the tourism industry and contributes to the development of destinations, including Galicia, , according to the Spain Convention Bureau. It is therefore interesting not to lose sight of the future trends that some experts point to for upcoming congresses and events.

According to WorldHotels experts Anke Ebinger, the company’s Director of Sales for Central Europe, and Ganessan Suppiah, Regional Vice President of Sales for Asia-Pacific, the MICE segment incorporates novelties such as the incorporation of 360 technology: virtual reality, live streaming and artificial intelligence, “are becoming fundamental elements of MICE events, both as an element of differentiation and to ensure the quality of services in an environment in which technology is playing an increasingly important role,” as Anke Ebinger explains. For his part, Ganessan Suppiah stresses “the role of mobile apps to create a clear, simple and efficient itinerary, from the call, registration, to the personalization of experiences or formal communication with participants, in an effort to value the human factor of events.

Another aspect highlighted by these experts is the need to personalise the experience of a MICE event, seeking emotional connection with each attendee or gastronomy as a differentiating factor for MICE events this year. As Ebinger explains, “Generations Y and Z appreciate that the culinary proposals of the events include healthy alternatives, fresh food, fruits and foods that provide energy,” rather than unnecessary calories. In addition, it seeks to “impress with gastronomic experiences, incorporating innovative techniques or foods, creative preparations, very instagrameable,” says Ebinger.

Bleisure: looking for native destinations and unconventional spaces
Bucolic environments, rural tourism or little known, with a strong eco-friendly component and interaction with local communities, are the trend in 2018. “Participants in an event look for authentic experiences, with local experts, related to the preferences of those who live in these destinations, enjoying activities outside the traditional tourist circuits and getting actively involved with the inhabitants of the place,” points out Suppiah.

In this sense, Ebinger points out that conventional lounges and spaces lose importance compared to unusual spaces that are more profitable because visitors “can enjoy a combined offer of leisure (such as spas, cocktail courses, showcookings) and team building, which combines work and fun in an entertaining, relevant, meaningful and special way”.

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