This week we are talking with Rob Davidson who is the Managing Director of MICE Knowledge, a consultancy specializing in research, education and training services for the meetings and events industry. For 5 years he has been included in Conference & Incentives Travel Magazine’s “Power 50” – the 50 most influential people in the UK conference industry.
His main areas of expertise are conferences and incentive travel, and he has written seven books on these themes, including his latest publication “Marketing Destinations and Venues for Conferences, Conventions and Business Events”.
If you wish to develop your MICE Knowledge, you can buy Rob Davidson’s latest book “Marketing Destinations and Venues for Conferences, Conventions and Business Events” and make your order in following PAGE.
As an expert in the MICE Sector for more than 20 years and a professor at several universities in Europe, what is your perception about the future of Incentive Travel and the Events Industry?
In general, I am optimistic about the future of the MICE industry. Travelling to attend conferences, and using travel experiences to motivate staff to work harder, have become a regular part of working life for a vast number of people. It is clear that meeting others with similar interests to discuss challenges and solutions is a deeply-felt need for most people, because communicating with each other in this way is a very human activity. Demand for MICE services and facilities will continue, and there is a growing supply of MICE destinations and venues that are ready to satisfy that demand. Of course, every year brings fresh challenges for the MICE industry, as for all industries, due to changes in the political, economic, social and technological environment. But I am confident that the MICE industry will continue to be able to adapt to those changes in the future. Our industry has become much more professional in the past 20 years, and it is the skills, knowledge and inventiveness of all the men and women who work in the MICE business that will help this industry to survive and thrive.
Do you believe that technology will substitute meetings in the future and consequently the flow of business travellersto destinations will decrease?
I certainly believe that some types of meetings will be held through technology, rather than through face-to-face experiences involving travel. For example, videoconferencing can be used for short, routine meetings involving only a few participants who all know each other. For meetings such as those, there is often no need for participants to travel. But for the vast majority of meetings (and for ALL incentive travel) the participants expect to travel to a destination and to spend time in face-to-face discussions, as well as networking with each other. We know that one of the reasons that motivate people to attend conferences is the opportunity to visit a particular destination, especially when that destination is new to them. And I think that destinations should do a lot more to encourage conference participants to spend extra time in the town or city where the event is held. Participants can be persuaded to spend more time – and more money! – in destinations that they are visiting for business reasons, to also experience the cultural and historical attractions of those places.
In your opinion what can Spain do in order to gain more business from the MICE Industry – or do you think all is done?
Spain is an excellent example of a country that has been successful as a business tourism destinations as well as a holiday destination. I am convinced that other Mediterranean countries could learn a lot from the example of Spain. The challenge for Spain is to retain a fresh image as a MICE destination, to persuade people who already know Spain well that there are constantly new reasons to return to this country, and that the experience of visiting Spain for business reasons can be just as satisfying as coming here on holiday. Marketing is essential, and I would like to see more resources being invested in promoting Spain in evolving markets such as China, where the attractiveness of Spain lags behind the appeal of other European countries such as Italy and France.
MAX Tourism will release the second part of this interview tomorrow 11th February. Stay tuned to our MAXblog!