Today’s digital world has made it easier for planners to research new destinations. As such, Corbin Ball, founder and
owner of Corbin Ball & Co., notes that the MICE industry is following suit with personal leisure travel. “There’s been
explosive growth of direct booking sites for alternate venues for small groups—AirBnB-like tools that are out there,”
he says. Finding hidden gems—small-group private cooking classes, unique reception venues, and the like—without
the help of a CVB or tourism bureau, is easier than ever. “Planners can see reviews and book it right away with a credit
card. Finding these alternate meeting spaces and experiences is definitely a lot easier and also a major growth area for
international programs,” he adds.
Perhaps it’s the availability of information in today’s digital age that has influenced another MICE industry drift that
Michel Couturier of Marketing Challenges International has noticed. “In the past, many associations would ask local
chapters to do many things—but while some of them were experienced with meeting planning, others were not. We are
seeing the headquarters taking over more in order to control the quality of the meeting,” he says.
The good news for the industry, says Issa Jouaneh, senior vice president and general manager for American
Express Meetings & Events., is that—despite how “the influx of new technology may ironically create a disconnect”
—international meetings aren’t trending away. “While there is an overarching sentiment that hybrid meetings are a great
solution when appropriate,” he says, “the global consensus is that in-person meetings still offer the most value