The impact of global economic slowdowns has seen a change in how the aspects of the MICE industry has had to adapt to evolving market demands. While the meetings sector has held up to large extent, both anecdotally and through surveys, incentives have taken a severe knock. As corporates responded to the need for greater transperance and fiscal responsibilities, incentives have had to take a back seat to public perceptions of corporate spendings. The halcion days of the two separate streams of meetings, or incentives, have largely been transformed through economic necessity.
However, even so, there is huge value in the motivation of staff through incentivsation of meetings and and changes in meeting formats. Instead of a complete incentive package for a sales team, the MI(Meetings and Incentives) of MICE has been quietly transformed into IM(Incentivised Meetings), and are now typically combined with meetings, workshops and sales briefings. It makes good financial and corporate senmse as well. Bring your top performers together and motivate them, while at the same time combine an educational or business planning session. The practice of including meetings in incentives is far from new for many corporates because of tax requirements.
Recent joint surveys by MPI-Site, suggest that this process is well under way. The Site–MPI research found that corporate planners organising meetings are planning more incentives, and planners who usually focus on incentives are being asked to plan more meetings. The survey concluded that the lines between incentive travel and meetings are blurring. It has been the experience of the authors, that these distinctions have been changing for some time as corporations have seen the added value in addressing a captive responsive audience and meet their taxation and shareholder requirements.
Combine the effects of a weaker economy and taxation implications, bususses have taken a steady look at how they approach meetings, briefings and planning sessions ans their incentive programs. Those smart enough or with sufficient freedom to do so are combining the two sectors. The appeal of corporates to create space for business content within incentive travel programs, is compelling. When you bring your top people together, it is a missed opportunity not to communicate with them and reinforce key messages for the future.
The joint research indicated that at meetings during their incentive trip, almost half the respondents said a significant portion of the incentive program included a meeting component. The same survey found about 60% of respondents expected an increase in including business meetings and other similar components in incentive programs. Its hardly surprising that the survey has found what the meetings industry has known for some time, it make more sense to incentivise a meeting than sell an incentive package.