Knowing the client and achieving an emotional connection with the destination are key in promoting business tourism
Eurochile workshop led by MICE tourism expert, Lenny Mendoza analyzed positioning and sales strategies for these types of destinations, within the framework of the project “MICE Antofagasta Tourism Internationalisation Node” that is being carried out in conjunction with Corfo and GEDES.
Within the framework of the project “MICE Antofagasta Tourism Internationalisation Node”, which is carried out by the Eurochile Business Foundation in conjunction with Corfo Antofagasta and GEDES, a workshop was held this week on the promotion of meeting and event tourism. Lenny Mendoza, MICE tourism expert was in charge of the workshop, where a series of positioning and sales strategies for these types of destinations were analyzed.
Although MICE tourism (Meetings, Incentives, Conventions and Exhibitions) includes a series of possibilities, from corporate meetings to holding congresses, events and incentive activities for company employees or clients, there are a number of elements in common to ensure that these types of meetings take place in a specific destination.
Certainly, there are some basic elements that must be taken into account, such as good connectivity, transportation, attractions, hotel capacity, the existence of tourist service companies and meeting venues, but there are also specific client objectives that vary depending on the type of meeting that he wants to organize.
Therefore, Lenny Mendoza said, a key aspect in promoting MICE destinations is informing and persuading potential stakeholders regarding the goods and services offered, but at the same time knowing customers well and clearly identifying their requirements to build jointly an experience.
“When we talk about promotion and tourism, it is important to stop and identify the client’s needs and not just deliver my information. Passing on a quote, for example, is not getting involved, and that prevents building a relationship with the client. Knowing what he is looking for and what his goals are will allow him to be happy, successfully sell my product and achieve the ultimate goal, which is to hold the event ”, she explained.
And this is valid, for example, for all types of accommodation. Large rooms or event centers are not always required, Mendoza explained, because there are corporate meetings of different levels and some that are smaller, with less than ten people.
“They are all important,” she said, “and this also allows us mobility at the destination. There may be an entrepreneur who does not have a large infrastructure but does have meeting rooms, and if he decides to join MICE tourism, he will be able to develop perhaps small meetings, in different formats, but this will give him a constant flow compared to someone who may only be dedicated to capturing large-scale meetings, which may have only one event. The small meetings will allow you to promote yourself, connect, relate, and then we are going to position ourselves to advance the organization of conferences and meetings”.
What is required to attract this type of tourism? First: some basic aspects of the hotel industry, that the offer is wide, varied and of quality. Ideally, have meetings and accommodation together in the same place, but if not, work in an associative way between venues whose distance – ideally – can be covered by walking. And obviously, good internet and wifi coverage is basic.
“MICE tourism generates three to five times more income than normal tourism, because it is a tourist with a greater purchasing power, and although its stay is shorter, it usually guarantees a return; if he likes the destination, he goes back with family or friends. But he is also a more demanding tourist, and the issue of connectivity is essential throughout the hotel, “said the meeting tourism expert.
To this must be added some promotional strategies, elements that make a destination or venue different from the rest that are not always linked to a cost. For example, having some free space for meetings around an event, special rates for groups in the three days before or after the event, flexible hours in services to make better use of time, or discounts for support staff , for example.
But there is one aspect that is key, said Lenny Mendoza, mainly in some of the MICE events such as incentive tourism: creating unique experiences in unique places in exclusive settings, with elements of surprise. This will generate an emotional connection in the tourist, which will ultimately help in promoting the destination.
“When you start developing these unique experiences, that person is going to be our best promotion strategy,” she says. This can be achieved by taking some activities to places such as an observatory, vineyards, daring to think of different places. “You have to understand that innovating is not doing something from scratch, nor is it necessarily related to technology. Many times, from what we have, there are elements that we can transform to do something different without starting from scratch”, she explained.
And in this, prior research is the key. First, to whom and what am I going to sell, what are the other people who are in the same business doing at the regional, national or international level. What do I want, and what could I innovate in? “Always the first thing is the investigation of the markets, how to capture events and what I can do differently,” said the expert.
And in this, it is essential to constantly talk with the client who seeks to organize an event of this type, be interested in his requirements and investigate with him to jointly build an offer. It is important that they meet, try, work and trust.
“I need you to get to know me,” she explained, “to see what I’m doing and then we are going to work together. And after we do it, a super important part comes which is to generate loyalty with the services, with the products and with the headquarters. The testimony of those who have organized events is important, because that gives us a track record. We are the solution to a customer’s need; you always have to think that”
“And at the same time,” Mendoza added, “flexibility is a strategy. Many times what they ask us can be done if we give it a different look. It makes the client feel comfortable in the organization of the event that they understand it and it is possible to adapt to their requirements. That client will always return to the provider that gave him a service from flexibility”.
All this, she concluded, accompanied by positioning strategies, marketing campaigns and social networks, where the essential thing, she said, is to aim for differentiation but -mainly- to place the destination in value and to generate a campaign that connects emotionally with the client.