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MICE Index: New Trends in the Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions Industry

The factors motivating incentive travel and conferences are moving in some surprising directions

by Lark Gould

April 25, 2024

Credit: A-Digit/Digitalvision Vectors/Getty Images

Business travel has always dovetailed with trends in the meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions industry, or MICE. But in a post-Covid world, the factors motivating incentive travel and conferences are moving in some surprising directions. According to Cvent—a seminal software platform specializing in meetings, events and hospitality management—top shifts in the industry fall into the following buckets:


Due to data-driven insights, event organizers can create customizable experiences that leave lasting impact. By harnessing the potential of AI it is possible to determine attendee preferences, interests and expectations to craft agendas that align precisely with the unique requirements of each participant and conference goal.


The MICE industry has been impacted by recent social movements, now manifesting in the form of inclusive programming, diverse speaker lineups and initiatives that cultivate collective belonging.


Well-being has become an enduring fixture in the MICE industry. In 2024, expect seamless integrations of healthy food and beverage choices, purposeful periods of free time, and invigorating wellness activities. The work-from-home movement has underscored the need for work-life balance. Meetings now deliver opportunities to recharge, forge meaningful connections and thrive within an environment that prioritizes the whole person.


The meetings and incentives industry has withstood numerous trials, enduring through economic downturns and global crises. This resilience requires nimbleness and adaptability. Through AI tools, planners can respond to dynamic world events while crafting meticulously curated programs that ignite creativity. Success lies in maintaining an unwavering flexibility and responsiveness to navigate events with finesse and resolve.

Meanwhile, as the MICE industry evolves, travelers and attendees also face more challenges. The pandemic served to heighten awareness of health risk and travelers will have to continue navigating the vagaries of vaccination requirements, testing protocols and policies. New visa processes continue to roll out, and flight chaos remains problematic. Then there are economic uncertainties that impact travel budgets and confront the line between cost-effectiveness and participant satisfaction. While recent surveys by Cvent found some two thirds of companies showing an intention to increase MICE budgets for 2024, cost inflation remains the biggest challenge for those tasked with managing these programs.

“It’s just about highlighting the global costs and asking, What’s the value that can be added?” says Konrad Pant, regional sales director for Cvent. “Maybe the event is not really delivering on that value. Maybe it’s not delivering the experience needed.”

Sustainability and well-being are now top priorities for MICE planners and attendees, according to Siddharth Singh, director of global corporate communications for CWT. “Planners are increasingly seeking options that have a positive impact on the environment and wellness of their attendees—if only because the attendees are much more aware, educated and conscious about these issues.” And in 2024, with a new emphasis on AI to cover everything from content to client services, more focus can be placed on creating the wow in a meeting or incentive event.