Go West Young Man!, the exhortation penned by an Indiana newspaperman, John Soule in the middle of 19th century to look for a new life of promise may have to be turned 180 degrees for the MICE (meetings, incentives, conferences and events) market. The Financial Times reports in its May 12th edition that “Meetings industry looks to the east”. Some of the principal reasons have been the “US credit squeeze and travel limitations within the financial and pharmaceutical sectors”. Mice has been moving towards “Central and Eastern Europe, because of improved infrastructure and transport links – and in particular to Poland, Hungary and Lithuania.”
An interesting observation in the FT article is that “Airport destinations are becoming more popular because people are struggling with transport and, providing these hotels are of the right quality and venue, that will continue. Using airport venues often means that organisers can reduce the length of an event by a night – and that is cost-effective too.” While the US still leads the world in the MICE market, airport hotels in the US are less equipped to step-in a softening economic environment and capture some of the business which may otherwise contract. The US should also take note of the success of Dubai as one of the fastest growing meeting destinations in the world as the recently concluded IMEX show in Frankfurt, Germany showed.