The term "MICE" in the context of travel is an acronym for meetings, incentives, conferences, and exhibitions. The MICE market refers to a specialized niche of group tourism dedicated to planning, booking, and facilitating conferences, seminars, and other events. And it's a big moneymaker in the travel industry.
The acronym might be falling out of favor, and some push to call it the meetings industry or the events industry. It's understandable that a reference that could be overheard to mean rodents might not be the desired image for travel destinations and accommodations.
Components of MICE Travel
MICE travel involves a number of components. Agents working in this area must provide a full range of travel and conference services for large and small groups and events of shorter and longer duration.
The players in the MICE field include corporate meeting planners, meetings and convention departments of hotels, conference centers or cruise ships, food and beverage managers, logistics firms, private tour operators and transfer companies, incentive houses, professional trade organizations, tourism boards, tourism trade associations, and travel-selling professionals.
Because of the organization and planning involved, typically, years in advance, MICE travel agencies are usually affiliated with large corporations. Destinations often market themselves as MICE locations and bid for events through their convention and visitor bureaus. They might be able to offer subsidies to attract large events because of the increased revenue the visitors provide through their economic impact on the host location.
Meeting vs. Conference Travel
The International Association of Professional Congress Organizers defines a meeting as any number of people coming together in one place for a particular activity. It can be a one-time event or it might recur regularly. A conference is similar but usually has a specific objective and exchange of information. A congress is usually a larger gathering.
This component of MICE is not as easily understood as those dealing with group events. Incentive travel is given to employees as a reward. It doesn't usually have a business or explicit educational component but instead is more of a non-business vacation with the aim of continued motivation for performance. It might involve the family of the employee or it could be a reward for a workgroup.
At an exhibition, products or services are displayed, and they might be the primary focus of the event. Other conferences and events might also have an exhibition as one of the components. Businesses court new clients and debut their latest offerings at these events.
MICE Global Events
A number of global events focus on MICE travel, especially the incentive niche. These are some of the most prominent:
- Incentive Travel Exchange (ITE)
- Latin America Meeting & Incentive Travel Exchange (LAMITE)
- The Asia Meeting & Incentive Travel Exchange (AMITE)
- Annual Singapore MICE Forum (SMF), organized by SACEOS
- Caribbean Meeting & Incentive Travel Exchange (CMITE)
- HSMAI’s MEET (Meetings, Events, Education, & Technology)