MICE: Engage and Inspire Event Planners to Visit Your Destination

Showcase what makes your destination special to attract MICE planners.

January 26, 2023

The meetings, incentives, conferences, and exhibitions (MICE) market bounced back strong, returning to pre-pandemic levels during 2022. MICE is now a $38.4 billion market growing at 2% per year. Optimism is high going into the new year, with two-thirds of event planners expecting to produce more meetings in 2023. Around the world, confidence is growing with 72% of event planners being very optimistic in North America, 75% in Europe, 90% in LATAM, and 74% in Asia Pacific.

With travel being easier than ever to book and companies ready to return to in-person events, destination marketers around the world can capitalize on the growing demand for MICE events. Here’s how destinations can grow, attract more visitors, and stand out in the crowd to capture MICE planners’ attention. 

Engage Event Planners With a Tailored Approach

Into 2023, there will be ample opportunities for destination marketers to find MICE planners online. Meeting volumes will continue to rise as 64% of event planners have no intention of planning fewer events. Destination marketers can take advantage of the opportunity to woo MICE planners throughout their planning process by identifying them online and building a relationship. Just like travelers, it’s important for them to understand who MICE planners are, how they work, and send the right messages during the moments that matter.

Remember, MICE planners are diverse. The person doing the planning could be a small business CFO, executive assistant, Millennial, or director of events. Each of these planners has different preferences, so destination marketers must forego the one-size-fits-all method and take a tailored approach. 

Understand the Phases of a MICE Planner’s Buying Journey

Just because a MICE planner has made an initial decision doesn’t mean the selling has to stop. Planners are open to offers along the entire journey, not just during the initial booking phase. Think of the planning process as three phases—searching and planning, pre-travel planning, and in-destination phases. 

In the searching and planning phase, they’re likely researching destinations, price comparisons, and more using their desktop computers. During pre-travel planning, they’re looking for restaurants and attractions likely using a combination of desktop and mobile devices. Once they’re traveling, they’ll make in-destination decisions such as mapping out distances to events, restaurants, and venues, primarily from their mobile phones. Every step is an opportunity to build a better relationship and even lay the groundwork for return travel.

Make Your Destination the Most Attractive Option

Every destination marketer wants to show off all the unique things their destination has to offer. The question is: how? By taking a conquest, context, and convert approach. Destination marketers can drive brand awareness with their target audience and reach people who are already interested in the destination to help sway their decision. From there, they can target planners based on their behavior and preferences using context and keywords that fit the destination’s value proposition. Lastly, they can influence and convert planners through digital campaigns across channels and devices. 

By using Sojern Custom Audiences to identify travel intenders and event planners, destination marketers know who their highest-value travelers are. Using parameters like business travel intenders, multiple hotel rooms, multiple flights, and more, marketers can get a better idea of how event planners travel. They can layer in targeting tactics, such as finding users with travel intent to convention-specific destinations, targeting industry-specific categories, and using keywords related to conferences to deliver the right message that resonates. Then, by designing the right ad creative and finding the destination’s unique hook, marketers can share clean and modern images that leave planners wanting more. 

Most importantly, destination marketers can close the deal by being consistent partners. This is an area where they can shine because less than 22% of planners are very or extremely satisfied with the response they get from working with different hotels or venues. By understanding MICE planners’ pain points, such as budgets, lead times, the RFP process, or other specific needs, destination marketers can share why their destination is the one that meets all their needs for a seamless experience.

To learn more about custom audiences, check out how the Sojern Marketing Platform inspires travelers to visit your destination with the right messaging at the right time.

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