This year’s ITB Berlin ended for me on a high note. It was my second year attending the MICE @ ITB Berlin programme (third time at ITB Berlin), and I was positively surprised to see the interest from the international MICE community.
While the programme has been running as the ITB MICE Day since 2009, this year it was in a bigger format and over three days. The three new pillars are MICE Hub for exhibitors, MICE Forum for education and the MICE Night for networking. Interestingly enough not many people know about it, but it slowly starts picking up thanks to the international press coverage and the stronger communication and branding. This programme is organised by the official MICE @ ITB Berlin partner Verband der Veranstaltungsorganisatoren e.V. (VDVO), and they did an outstanding job bringing it to an international level.
Influencer marketing is currently a hot topic in the MICE industry. The leisure travel industry has been implementing it successfully since around 2012 as I can remember when I visited the Wold Travel Market. The MICE industry, on the other hand, is slowly testing it since last year. Given that we have so much to learn from the leisure travel industry, ITB Berlin was the perfect opportunity to organise an Event Planners Talk live session about this topic. Each year ITB Berlin has a dedicated MICE programme organised by their official partner, the German Event Planners Association, Verband der Veranstaltungsorganisatoren e.V. (VDVO). This year a half day conference took place, along the MICE Hub exhibition and MICE Night in the evening at an external venue, International Club Berlin. The Event Planners Talk took place just before the MICE Night and welcomed international planners.
For this session we had the pleasure to welcome Nicholas Montemaggi, Chief Marketing Officer at iambassador, and Erik Mortensen, Head of Business Events Denmark at Visit Denmark. I met Nicholas back in 2012 at the World Travel Market when he was working for the Emilia Romagna Tourist Board and was one of the first destinations to run an influencer campaign, Blog Ville. I worked with Visit Denmark on the #everythingiscloser campaign that they launched end of last year.
Presumably the biggest travel trade show in the world, The ITB Berlin took place from 8-12 March in Berlin. Being known for mainly leisure industry, there is also a MICE niche emerging. SITE Germany event took place on Monday, the ITB Berlin MICE Day on Tuesday and several destinations had their representatives from the Convention Bureau to take meetings. Additionally, I met colleagues from the MICE industry. Is there a new trend emerging, where leisure and MICE merge into one trade show?
Before I come back to this question, let me tell you more about my experience in Berlin and ITB.