The incentive travel industry is growing and is predicted to continue to grow at a steady pace throughout the year to come. Although in South Africa the volatile rate of exchange is likely to continue to impact on the travel industry, the demand for meetings is on the rise and MICE budgets remain steady.
Let’s have a look at 5 trends in the MICE industry for the coming year:
Booking numbers will remain constant
Despite a volatile rate of exchange, bookings are expected to remain fairly static with even slight increases in demand on the horizon. Unfortunately, we can’t expect massive increases in budgets as a result of the weak Rand. However, a slight increase in budgets is likely.
Lead times will also remain quite steady with two to three months lead time for smaller events, and six months to one-year lead time for larger events and incentives.
It’s not all work and no play anymore
No matter how small or large the conference or event, South African companies are increasingly looking to incorporate teambuilding elements into their MICE travels. Companies have come to the conclusion that ‘all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy’ and they want to incorporate ‘fun’ elements into their incentives, conferences and events.
Bleisure is gaining momentum
Exotic destinations such as Vietnam are popular for 2017 for conference and event organisers. Although companies rarely allow delegates to bring along their spouses on a MICE trip, once the conference is finished, delegates are keen to fly out their loved ones and extend their stay by a couple of days to explore the destination.
Niche activities not a big hit with SA MICE travellers yet
Wellness vacations and yoga retreats are not a big hit with South African travellers yet. For a large majority of the SA population, traveling is still a bit of a novelty. They usually want to experience the destination to the fullest and are not ready to concentrate on just one niche aspect of their destination.
Also social responsibility projects are not high on the list of priorities for South African companies yet, although this could become more of a focus in the year to come.
Technology takes a prominent space
Most corporates have started seeing technology as a way to work smarter and more efficiently, and they are looking to their travel agents and MICE organisers to offer solutions. One example is that often companies are requesting a more streamlined RSVP system. They want a dedicated website for their event, or even a dedicated app.