Events industry is not only about beautiful venues, exciting destinations and smiling people. Unfortunately there is also a dark side to it, one that we almost never talk about between peers and in the press. But times are changing, and people are more open to talk about taboo topics, like sexual harassment in a professional setting. The change that brought the society to acknowledge and terminate sexual harassment in the workplace is the #MeToo movement. It went viral back in October 2017 following sexual abuse allegations against the American film producer Harvey Weinstein. The “Weinstein effect” was triggered as a result of the viral campaign and called for dismissals of men who hold positions of power in the society and workplace for sexual abuse allegations.
On 23rd January Financial Times broke a story about sexual harassment at the Presidents Club fundraiser dinner. Financial Times sent two journalists undercover to work as hostesses at the Presidents Club Dinner that took place at the Dorchester Hotel in London. The journalists broke the story of sexist environment and abuse towards the hostesses. It made headlines on social media and international press, but in the events industry, media and event associations were slow to respond to the story.
One of the key trends predicted for 2018 is that delegates are looking for more authentic and local experiences and for “off the beaten path” destinations. As a result, destinations are adjusting their offer to follow this trend, with further DMCs and event agencies designing experiences around the „unknown“.
I love off the beaten path and authentic experiences. I don’t like crowded places, waiting in the queue (unless it’s Wimbledon) and overpriced products and services. But the same year that we talk about authenticity and off the beaten path destinations there is also a new widely used term – „over tourism“ that makes many tourism providers worried. Several destinations, especially Italy, Spain and France, encounter the negative effects of over tourism – so how can we prevent that other authentic destinations will not become overcrowded and lose their uniqueness?
All trend predictions say that influencer marketing in the MICE industry is going to be big in 2018. Nothing new for leisure tourism, food, fashion and many other industries, but the MICE industry has still many question marks, some of which we aimed to answer at the recent #EventPlannersTalk Twitter chat about MICE Influencers.
I reach out to the global event community on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook to suggest the topics they would like to discuss and got the most important and urgent questions that the industry wants to know.
This year during The International Confex someone tweeted a tweet that made me feel a bit uncomfortable “associations are old fashioned but networks with people are great”. This tweet was quoted during a panel of event graduates and this quote came from a young professional.
I have huge respect for all event associations such as MPI, SITE, ILEA and EMA, but I’m not a member. I do attend their events occasionally and many of my colleagues work for associations, volunteer or hold board member positions. I worked for an association myself and see the benefits, as well as the challenges they are facing. The main challenges being attracting new members and increasing event attendance.
Major trend that is shaping the events industry, and MICE in particular this year, is influencer marketing. We know it from other industries – leisure travel, food, fashion, parenting etc. As much as there are many similarities with other industries, MICE sector works differently with influencers and has different set of expectations.
The product or service in the MICE industry is more complex, as well as the decision making process. In general, in the B2C sector influencers are tasked to promote a product for £20, or £200 or so, and the price sensitivity is lower. In the MICE industry, on the other hand, the sales funnel is longer because the product is more complex, more expensive and the decision making process is longer. An influencer who is tasked to to promote a MICE destination, for example, can contribute to the overall economy both directly and indirectly.