What do MICE have to do with event planning?

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When I first started my career in event planning some 20 years ago, I kept hearing the term MICE. I was confused… At first I wondered if they were referring to a client who was in pest control, then I looked on the floor for mouse traps wondering if the office has an infestation.

Alas, I was incorrect on both accounts and quickly learned (to my embarrassment in asking) that MICE stands for Meetings, Incentives, Conference & Events. MICE is the framework, fabric and basis of the event planning industry, and one which has gone through many changes since I was a young lad. MICE bring people together…

The elements of MICE are hopefully well understood except perhaps for the ‘I’, which stands for incentive. The M, C and E are about bringing people together – learning, educating, sharing ideas and developing strategy. The ‘I’ can be a little more complex, albeit a lot of fun, as an incentive is about motivation, reward and recognition. Rarely in regards to the event planning industry does it have an educational impact, more of a thank you for a job well done.

This aside, the MICE and event planning industry is changing. With social media and technology at the forefront, MICE is being seen more as a commodity rather than a highly trained profession (which it is). A commodity which can easily be replaced.

Social Media is a powerful tool, and one to be embraced and respected as it delivers information and knowledge in real time. Technology helps to deliver global solutions from the comfort of a desk anywhere in the world. Perhaps more than ever, we actually are mice on the never ending wheel of keeping up, delivering, mastering and second guessing.

With Brexit, an ever-changing global political scene and socio-economic turbulence, the need for MICE is greater than ever. Bringing people together, sharing, learning and developing ideas face-to-face is vital for the event planning world to be successful. Technology and social media creates a barrier for real life interaction – yes it provides information but it stops that al- important interaction, so MICE in the future has a responsibility to harness the ongoing need of bringing people together in real time.

Technology can be harnessed and social media can be embraced. It can truly enhance the event planning industry, but the need to come together is now more important than ever, and the need for MICE will hopefully turn a millennial commodity into a talent and art form once again.