Business events happen every day at hotels, convention centers, restaurants, and event venues everywhere. The most common business events are typically fall into one of four categories: meetings, incentives, conventions and events (MICE). MICE is an acronym that represents the full scope of business events that are held in this industry.
What is a business event? A business event usually includes a formally scheduled program and specific business objective for everyone involved. It is any meeting or event where people gather to grow brand awareness, educate constituents, enhance business development, bring products to market, and so on. And business events aren’t limited to businesses: Associations, nonprofits and government agencies are just as busy holding their own corporate events, which tend to include one of the following programs:
What is a Seminar or Conference?
A seminar or conference are probably the most common of all business events, and are defined within the “meetings” area within the MICE industry. Organizations plan and hold these meetings with targeted audiences, and provide them with relevant information.
Seminars are usually shorter events that are generally focused on a single topic or concept. Most seminars are usually last no more than a couple of hours or a half day, and attendees will stay in the same room or space. Conferences, on the other hand, typically have multiple sessions that occur concurrently. They are typically held at hotels, begin with a keynote session and then hold breakout sessions by topic with multiple speakers. A conference is usually planned for 2/3 of a day, one day, two days or sometimes longer.
What is a Trade Show?
Trade shows and exhibitions are typically included in every major convention or congress. Their exhibitors tend to cover a significant portion of the revenue generated by the hosting association because trade shows provide them with an opportunity to get in front of important customers and prospects. For them, trade shows serve as a lead generation activity, reinforcing their image as an industry leader among those who attend, such as members, customers, prospects and suppliers.
Event planners who organize trade shows must make important decisions related to negotiating sponsorship rates for trade show booth space, advertising and promotion at the event, and sometimes speaking opportunities at the event for the leadership at your company to speak. Many logistical details exist to assure that the trade show booth, promotional materials, giveaways, and staff arrive on time for your company.
What is an Incentive Event?
Incentive events tend to include business travel programs that serve as a reward for attendees who have achieved specific goals that qualify them to attend This is where the are spent on a per person basis. Often held at luxury resorts in exclusive destinations, and they receive the most visibility in an organization. Business development and organizational planning are the topics of the agenda.
Executive retreats and incentive trips typically last between three and five days, and require attention to site selection, lodging, transportation, catering, business meetings, and golf and other activities. Negotiation skills must be sharp because these programs involve all aspects of event planning. For those who may not be aware, the value of the incentive may sometimes be taxed as personal income (so, not only is the “incentive” stimulates a local community’s economy and its hospitality taxes, but their value is frequently taxed at the highest income levels for the federal government).
What is a Golf Event?
One favorite event at every organization is to hold its annual golf outing — typically viewed as a special event, but often with a business meeting component. Relationship management is the primary objective; however, business content must always drive event planning, not the other way around.
Most golf courses prefer their clients to reserve tee times either first thing in the morning or at 1 p.m., if you are not renting out the course and clubhouse for the whole day. That can cause scheduling issues as it relates to the business meeting content. During the planning phase, it is important to keep internal clients on track, and not allow them to minimize the business time.
What is an Appreciation Event?
These programs allow an event host to spend informal time with its guests in a non-traditional environment, giving both parties an opportunity to build a rapport and learn more about mutual business priorities.
There are limitless possibilities and types of appreciation events that organizations hold throughout the year. Common programs include:
- Dinner and theater
- Day at the race track
- Suites at sporting arenas
- Day and evening cruises
- Private parties at music festivals
- Holiday parties
- Tickets to the most popular events in town