THE ECONOMIC crisis has affected the organisers of MICE (Meetings, Incentive, Conferences and Exhibitions) tourism events, with companies and organisations now spending a lot longer pondering whether each conference and meeting is really necessary and how much they want to invest in holding it. But the situation is now improving – as Jozef Deák, executive officer of Congress Market, and Katarína Bilá, managing director of Farmi Profi, told The Slovak Spectator.
The Slovak Spectator (TSS): What are the latest trends in organising conferences, educational events, meetings and other MICE tourism events within Slovakia? Do they differ from abroad?
Jozef Deák (JD): The development in the business sector has, of course, been reflected in behaviour of clients. Austerity measures led to limits in terms of what companies are willing to invest in such events and this affects not only the price but also the category of the accommodation facility.
Katarína Bilá (KB): Certainly, organising of such events requires an attractive location within Slovakia, i.e. a hotel with quality services and good accessibility by car.
With regards to abroad, I do not think that the trends differ. The stress is laid on the space where the programme is held, i.e. it should be large enough and air-conditioned in the summer, with sufficient restaurant capacity if the event is linked to accommodation. All the premises should be at a proper level – three and four-star hotels are preferred.
TSS: How has the economic crisis affected the requirements of your clients?
JD: Put simply, the requirements changed in the direction of ‘more music required for less money’. Nevertheless, requirements remained unchanged as people like to combine work with a pleasant stay, quality services and accompanying activities.
KB: Clients are increasingly pondering the intention to hold an event. They equally analyse costs in more detail. They are re-assessing a number of projects and lowering the budgets of official medical congresses and conferences, for instance.
TSS: What is the current interest in organising conferences, educational meetings, and other events within MICE tourism?
JD: The situation is improving slightly, with a revival apparent. Companies are slowly lifting the strict economic requirements and this trend is visible in a higher number of company events organised this year compared to 2010.
KB: Clients are still interested in such events.
TSS: How is usage of technologies, for example teleconferencing, affecting your business?
JD: I do not see any visible impact on conference events. This kind of communication has better justification in the case of smaller ‘chamber’ events, which are more expert and highly specialised meetings.
KB: We do not detect higher interest in such services. But there are specific events, whose number is not very high, where there is a requirement also to hold a teleconference. Mostly this involves some specialised medical fields, for example transplant surgery.
TSS: From which sector of business or society do you register the biggest interest in your services? Have you notices any change recently?
JD: Interest is reviving, particularly from pharmaceutical firms and companies in the banking and financial sector which have distributors or representatives across the whole country. With regards to the changes, competition among business hotels has intensified in terms of their offers and client care.
KB: Because we specialise in the medical and health-care sector, we register most interest from the side of specialised medical organisations and pharmaceutical companies. Interest has decreased, but this could also be linked to greater competition in this sector.
2. May 2011 at 0:00 | Jana Liptáková