Yao Hong: Marketing MICE In China

Yao Hong, director of the international MICE department of CTIS, has more than 10 years experience in the MICE sector.

The Chinese MICE industry developed later than in western countries, but it has been growing rapidly in recent years.

Change and development in the Chinese MICE industry
Since 1996, Yao has devoted her attention on the MICE sector of the tourism industry. During the decades of rapid growth in the domestic economy, she saw that there are advanced concepts, innovations and operational models in the domestic and overseas MICE industries, as well as changes and development in the awareness of Chinese enterprises and travel agencies about this field.

Yao said that the incentive tour concept came mainly from multinational companies in China. However In recent years, domestic enterprises are gradually beginning to offer their employees incentive tour activities as a bonus. Initially companies just paid the bill for employees' tour expenses, and employees arranged travel with a tour group themselves. This model does not promote a corporate culture. However now more and more incentive activities are combining leisure travel and corporate training; and new products are being launched which attach more importance to promoting corporate culture and focus on events and party arrangement. An incentive tour can provide many opportunities for employees to relax and learn, and for the company to implement "Marketing Communication".

Core concept of the overseas MICE industry
From many years experience of cooperating with well known overseas companies, Yao said that for a company an incentive activity is not just an expense but is an investment with a potentially high return. A unique and successful incentive can inspire employees and improve their feeling of belonging and loyalty, as well as promoting the corporate brand and building a new image. Almost all aspects of a company can benefit from incentive activities which also will directly influence the company's efficiency and productivity.

The value of originality: making the impossible possible
In comparison to ordinary tours, MICE tours have more attention paid to customized products. Different customers have different requirements, and different industries have different characteristics. Even a single company requires each annual event to have unique features. Inevitably this brings many challenges, and fun, to practitioners in the MICE industry.

"Innovation has the highest value." Yao emphasized. "Sometimes it is really necessary to find out good innovation points through much trial and effort."

MICE during and after the 2008 Olympic Games
Currently Yao is busy with several Olympic hospitality service projects. For the MICE department of a travel agency this is good news. Many large multinational companies plan to organize MICE activities when coming to China to watch the 2008 Olympic Games and related activities. This will bring more business opportunities than ever before to Beijing's hotel market. The MICE department of CITS recently welcomed several large tour groups with the number of tourists ranging from several hundreds to approximately a thousand. During the period of the 2008 Olympic Games, the prices of air tickets and hotels will increase by as much as double so there is expected to be a reduction in ordinary tours. There will be a remarkable growth in MICE activities this year.

If the 2008 Olympic Games brings more business opportunities to the MICE sector than ever before, what will happen after 2008? "We have begun to explore tour development after the 2008 Olympic Games. And we maintain a good cooperative relationship with Australia and Greece which have hosted the Olympic Games before. Both the high-end hotels and meeting venues together with the other developments resulting from the Olympic Games will bring more favorable factors to the future MICE market in China."

Yao also said that regard to outbound tours, the USA is still one of the popular destination countries in the MICE sector this year. And for inbound tours, all domestic tourism related enterprises should be well prepared to welcome the massive business opportunities which the 2008 Olympic Games will bring.