The global MICE industry has been hit hard since the emergence of COVID. But in Spain, the industry is ready for a comeback as witnessed in the conference, MIS (Meeting Incentive Summit), with a theme focused in reactivating the industry. Organised by Spain’s leading media group, Grupo eventoplus, on April 28th at the Hotel RIU Plaza España in Madrid, it was no doubt the biggest MICE event of the year in Europe with 310 attendees in-person, demonstrating that large and safe meetings are posible.
“A professionally organised meeting is one of the safest place to be: multi-layered security measures, highly responsible attendees, full traceability and antigen tests conducted less than 24 hours before the event; all provide a level of reassurance. The MICE industry is important sector as it helps companies to communicate, sell, train, drive loyalty, motivate, etc…, but it has to return to business with safety measures in place, and we have shown that it is possible,” comments Eric Mottard, Co-Founder and CEO of Grupo eventoplus.
Painstaking care in security details. A rigorous protocol was applied to show that safe meetings can happen: all attendees, including the organisation staff and on-site crew, had to show a negative antigen test result done in less than 24-hour before the event. All attendees were provided a free test in clinics where they are based, as well as tests on-site. At the entrance, attendees were also given FFP2 masks which they had to wear it throughout the entire duration of the event. Distancing was also applied in the distribution of the venue and the placements of the furniture. Ventilation was enhanced not just by the high ceiling and the system of the hotel, but windows were left opened to maximise the air circulation. Lunch was also organised in another room to allow air renovation.
One-to-one meetings and education. Both meeting buyers and exhibitors took advantage of the matching system of the event platform to create their own meetings agenda. These meetings are important for buyers to find out about the new market offers as well as to renew relationships which had been kept in a remote mode since the pandemic. Reactivation also come in educational topics such as storytelling, keys to return to travelling in meetings, the future of medical meetings, the key sanitary measures to put in place in meetings, how will international meetings come back to Spain,…
New and fun formats were also experimented in both the face-to-face and online events: speed networking (mini-meetings of two minutes between two participants and when time was up, they moved on to get to know another participant, an effective networking activity); elevator pitch of 30 seconds by exhibitors which allowed buyers to get to know the many offers in a short time; bullet points sessions by destinations with 3 key takeaway messages, a fun online trivial with 4 contestants connected to play vía zoom while the audience were also able to put their meeting knowledge to the test through the event platform at the same time; a “breakout” photocall where attendees shared their professionally taken photos in their social networks which helped to make #meetMIS a trending topic.
Hybrid meetings are here to stay. To ensure the maximum participation of meeting professionals all around Spain, the organiser designed the conference in a “1+1” format for the first time: one day of face-to-face meeting followed by a day of online event where the programme was streamed from a set at the Palacio Neptuno. During the online event, one-to-one meetings were conducted via videocalls in the event platform, small debates were held in “chat rooms”, presentations were short yet dynamic, a Virtual Café was created where participants could take a break and network with other professionals, thanks to staff from Grupo eventoplus who were always there to make introductions. Fun was also injected with an improv activity with content generated by the participants and a live band that played the 5 most voted songs from a playlist.
“An online event has the challenge of retaining attention. It is very important to ensure that the content is dynamic, the programme has a good rhythm and different formats are introduced to engage the participants. And that was just what we did,” comments Lynn Wong, Co-Founder and Director of Communication and Events in Grupo eventoplus.
A success story that reactives an industry: 8,029 messages were sent between participants, 10,842 interactions and 2,376 meetings requested, all thanks to the participation of 85 exhibiting companies, 310 participants at the face-to-face event and 159 connected to the streaming of the programme while one-to-one meetings continued within the platform.