The UK MICE market is one of the biggest in the world and many UK agencies service international clients rather than just domestic. The market had grown steadily from the 2008 financial downturn and 2020 was predicted to be a bumper year despite the uncertainty created by Brexit. However, with the arrival of Covid-19, the picture is very different. The UK has been hit hard and this has been extremely challenging for the events industry, despite rescue packages and furlough schemes being introduced by the government.
Nevertheless, the industry has pooled their resources like never before and presented a united front in lobbing the government. And although there will inevitably be many bankruptcies and M&A, some predict that the industry will emerge more transparent and professional.
When the MICE industry recovers and international travel resumes, many event organisers believe short-haul destinations that can offer space and are perceived as having handled the Corona crisis well, will benefit. Norway falls into this category.
The UK event organisers also look for direct flights for conferences/meetings, although for incentives they are more receptive to the idea of inter-connecting flights or longer transport times. Prior to Covid, wellness and sustainability was high on event organiser’s agenda. This trend is expected to be even stronger post-Covid. High-end or unique hotels are desired when planning incentive trips, as are "money-can't-buy experiences".
The UK market is big and complicated with personal relationships being valued. It is therefore important that partners have the resources to follow up over several years.