The global MICE and Travel industry has suffered a dismal 2020 like many other industries. However, the market is expected to see long-term growth to return to normal, with a CAGR of 6.1% from 2020-2030. Service providers are adapting to this challenging time, as well as adopting advanced technologies and offering solutions to meet changing consumer preferences.
In this blog, we explore the top three leading trends in the global MICE and Travel market, and the drivers behind them.
What are the top three mega trends in travel and MICE?
1. Virtual meetings and events to affect TMC sales
A sharp rise in the adoption of virtual meeting platforms and some companies contemplating making work-from-home permanent, may negatively impact sales and profit margins of travel management companies (TMCs). These service providers will likely reconsider their pricing strategy to retain their market growth and may further consider integrating tools/technologies to facilitate virtual meetings in their products/services portfolios. On the other hand, buyers of these services will likely achieve significant savings in their travel and meetings budget with virtual meetings enabling 50–80% savings.
Further, with Covid-19 accelerating digital trends, consumer exhibitions are embracing virtual event formats more readily. Venue offers will include in-person, hybrid or virtual options with enhanced technology infrastructure and flexible rooms. Virtual meeting and event software will improve at a rapid pace.
For in-person events, contactless operations beyond check-in will be the norm. Solutions for crowd monitoring, electrostatic sprayers to disinfect surfaces in function rooms and public spaces, automated self-cleaning machines for escalators, and enhanced air filtration systems for ventilation will be promoted as safety features at many venues.
2. AI and ML-based solutions used for personalised services
The data goldmine that TMCs and MICE service providers possess can be analysed using Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML), to not only predict customers’ preferences and offer personalised services, but also to forecast demand during this pandemic.
Augmented reality and virtual reality are gaining traction among business travellers as these help simplify travel planning and enhancing tourist experience. AI-powered and natural language processing-enabled chatbots add a humane feeling to the booking process, as well as help save valuable time by answering routine questions and automating billing processes. In July 2020, Sabre Corporation (a US-based travel technology company) partnered with Mindsay to develop a chatbot for airlines, online travel agencies and travel management firms that can automatically solve up to 70% customer requests, allowing travel agents to focus on solving more complex requests. Similarly, blockchain is used to make transactions more secure and reliable, cut costs by eliminating intermediaries and provide traceability on the cost of the business trip. In July 2020, Expedia Group announced that travellers can book trips using >30 cryptocurrencies across >700,000 Expedia Group hotels.
3. Shared-service providers offering new solutions to attract customers
Despite shared-economy services being severely impacted by COVID-19 outbreak, the demand is expected to improve once the pandemic abates. Many service providers are launching new solutions to stay connected to their customers as they address the current challenges. For example, in August 2020, Grab launched new consumer financial services, including micro-investments, loans, health insurance and a pay-later programme. In May 2020, Lyft introduced a new service called Wait & Save, which is cheaper than its standard service – with customers having to wait 5–40 minutes for their ride to arrive.
The bargaining power of shared-service suppliers is likely to grow with the rising number of TMCs and MICE suppliers partnering with them. Buyers of these services on the other hand will also achieve significant cost savings by incorporating shared services in their organisations’ business travel plans.
Find out more about mega trends in travel and MICE
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