The corona crisis has brought the industry together in a way we could have never imagined before. In the current climate, there are no borders and limits to how we can connect and interact with the industry online.
New online initiatives were born out of the crisis, such as the #eventprofstalk hackathon and #EventProfsTogetherAtHome, and this is just the beginning of a shift we’ll see growing in the coming years.
While there’s a shift happening as I write, on a recent MICE Exchange Instagram Live Episode with Sabrina Meyers from Hot Hospitality Exchange (you can follow us on Instagram @themiceblog and @hothospitalitye), we discussed the event industry’s fragmentation caused by geographic market segmentation.
The event industry consists of agencies, corporate events planners, freelancers, associations and so on. On the supplier side, there are DMCs, hotels, sales representation companies, destinations etc., and those are broken down further geographically. From an eagle-eye perspective, it’s usually agency and corporate, and from the supplier side, it’s hotels vs everything else, or alternatively seen as a stand-alone property or a service provider.
I attribute my career progression to the time I was living in London from 2011–2016. I had access to events, education and networking, all of which today also remain fundamental to my business operations. 2011 was the year that I got into events. I was doing an internship at an event agency in Munich when I found out that it is, in fact, possible to study for a full degree in event management. I became aware that Regent’s University London offered a scholarship competition requiring the submission of a research-based study on one of the topics suggested by them. I was awarded with a full scholarship for a BA in International Events Management, and being in London presented further opportunities to create content for my blog and network because the industry in London is highly concentrated, and there is always something going on. So, alongside my studies, I attended many events and covered them on my blog.
Since 2016, I have been based in Heidelberg, Germany. Despite being well connected with public transport to major cities in Germany and Europe, I attend events perhaps once a month rather than the 2–3 times per week I was used to in London. My business lifecycle has changed, and that doesn’t require me anymore to be at the centre of everything. Becoming established and connected in the industry means that a lot of work can be accomplished online, with necessary travel only for essential events and meetings.
Sabrina Meyers from Hot Hospitality Exchange and my co-host of The MICE Exchange, which we host weekly on Instagram, also has an international background and lived and worked in most of the exciting destinations around the world: Singapore, Sydney and London.
The MICE industry is being adaptive to the current situation involving live events not taking place in the next weeks, perhaps months, due to the global coronavirus outbreak. Therefore, event professionals are shifting educational content and networking to online channels.
Sabrina Meyers from Hot Hospitality Exchange and I had a discussion two weeks ago about ways to network and collaborate. Because we are not able to meet face to face right now, we think it’s important to keep in touch with each other and the industry. Out of this discussion, a new idea was born to initiate a weekly Instagram Live series called The MICE Exchange—a combination of our names The MICE Blog and Hot Hospitality Exchange. We’ll aim to do the live streams regularly and touch on current and trending topics or familiar topics from a fresh angle. On these episodes, we’ll be chatting about a new topic every week and invite you to join these discussions on Instagram (with write-ups available here).
To kick start the series, we decided to talk about TikTok for events. Yet unexplored territory for corporate events, both Sabrina and I see the potential and wanted to share our experience.