Business tourism

From CEOpedia | Management online

Business tourism, also known as corporate travel or MICE (meetings, incentives, conferences, and events), refers to the travel of individuals for business-related activities, such as attending meetings, conferences, trade shows, and other events. Business tourism is a significant contributor to the global economy, and is often organized by travel agencies, event planning companies, and corporate travel departments. Business tourism can also include activities such as team-building retreats, company off-sites, and other corporate events.

Business tourism is a natural development of growing global economy and need to international cooperation. As a number of business travels increased significantly over the years, it was necessary to name for this phenomenon of travelling, categorize it as type of tourism. Globalization was one of the factors that led to state where business trips are popular and necessary in global economy. Nowadays business tourism is one of the fastest growing form of tourism and has a significant role on global market.

Generally travelling for meetings, trade fairs, incentive travels, attending conferences abroad and exhibitions creates phenomenon of business tourism and first letters of those four words - meetings, incentive, conferences and exhibitions make popular used abbreviation and name for business tourism - MICE.

Leisure activities are also part of business tourism. However they are not main motive for travel, they are important part of services as individuals who travel in work related affairs need to relax after the meetings, exhibition, speeches, need to eat and drink as any other kind of tourists. Hotels dedicated to business tourists have usually spa and sport facilities.

Fig.1. Types of business tourism (source: based on Inbakaran et al.)

MICE: Meetings, Incentives, Conferences, Events

MICE stands for Meetings, Incentives, Conferences, and Events. It is a type of business tourism that includes organizing and hosting professional events such as:

  • Meetings: These are typically held for the purpose of discussing business-related topics, such as strategy, product development, and team building. Meetings can be held in various forms, such as board meetings, staff meetings, and company-wide gatherings.
  • Incentives: These are events or programs designed to motivate and reward employees, customers, or partners for achieving specific goals or targets. Incentives can include things like team-building retreats, company-wide bonuses, and other rewards.
  • Conferences: These are large events that bring together professionals from a specific industry or field to share ideas, network, and learn about the latest developments in their field. Conferences can be held in various formats, such as lectures, workshops, and panel discussions.
  • Events: These can be any type of professional or social gathering, such as product launches, networking events, trade shows, and gala dinners. Events are often used to showcase a company or organization's brand, products, or services.

MICE events are often organized by travel agencies, event planning companies, and corporate travel departments, and can take place in various locations such as hotels, conference centers, and other venues. These events can be beneficial for businesses by creating opportunities to network, learn new information and skills, and establish new relationships.

Examples of business tourism

There are many examples of business tourism, some of which include:

  • Meetings: Business leaders and employees may travel to attend company-wide meetings, board meetings, or staff meetings. These meetings may take place in a company's headquarters, a conference center, or a hotel.
  • Conferences: Professionals in a variety of industries may travel to attend conferences related to their field. These events can bring together experts to share ideas, network, and learn about the latest developments in their industry.
  • Trade shows: Businesses may send representatives to attend trade shows to showcase their products or services and connect with potential customers.
  • Incentive travel: Companies may organize incentive travel programs for their employees or customers as a reward for achieving specific goals or targets. These trips can include team-building retreats, all-expense-paid vacations, or other rewards.
  • Corporate events: Companies may organize events such as product launches, networking events, or gala dinners to showcase their brand and connect with potential customers or partners.
  • Business travel for education: Business travelers may travel to attend seminars, workshops, or other training events to learn new information and skills.
  • Business travel for research and development: Business travelers may travel to visit other companies or research institutions to conduct research, develop new products, or explore potential business opportunities.
  • Business travel for negotiation and signing of contracts: Business travelers may travel to meet with potential partners, clients, or suppliers to negotiate and sign contracts.

Examples of business tourism mixed with other types of tourism

An example of a business trip that incorporates elements of other types of tourism is a company-wide retreat that combines business meetings and team-building activities with leisure activities. The retreat could include:

  • Business meetings: The retreat would likely include meetings where the company's leadership team would discuss strategy, product development, and other business-related topics.
  • Team-building activities: To foster teamwork and collaboration among employees, the retreat may include activities such as team-building exercises, problem-solving challenges, and other activities designed to promote teamwork and collaboration.
  • Leisure activities: To provide a break from the business-related activities, the retreat may include leisure activities such as golfing, spa treatments, hiking, or other outdoor activities that allow employees to relax and enjoy their surroundings.
  • Cultural activities: The retreat could also incorporate cultural activities such as visiting local museums, historical sites or cultural centers.
  • Adventure tourism: To add an element of adventure, the retreat could include activities such as rock climbing, white-water rafting, or other adventure sports.
  • Eco-tourism: The company could choose a location that is eco-friendly and sustainable such as a nature reserve, and organize activities that promote environmental awareness and conservation.

This type of trip would provide employees with an opportunity to bond as a team, learn new information and skills, and have fun together, all while also achieving business objectives.

Characteristics of business tourism and travellers

Business tourism is characterized by several key elements:

  • Professional Purpose: Business tourism is typically organized for professional reasons, such as attending meetings, conferences, trade shows, and other events. The purpose of business travel is to conduct business-related activities, rather than leisure.
  • Short-term stays: Business trips are generally shorter than leisure trips, with travelers usually staying for a few days to a week.
  • High spending: Business travelers tend to spend more money than leisure travelers, as they often stay in higher-end hotels and restaurants and may engage in more expensive activities such as golfing or spa treatments.
  • Flexibility: Business travelers often have more flexibility in terms of travel dates and itineraries, as they can adjust their plans based on the needs of their business.
  • Corporate responsibility: Business travelers are often more conscious of their corporate responsibility, such as minimizing their carbon footprint, choosing sustainable options and opting for more eco-friendly accommodations and transportation.
  • Meeting-centered: Business travelers frequently participate in meetings, conferences, and other professional events, which are the main purpose of their trip.
  • Solo or group travel: Business travelers can travel alone or in groups depending on the purpose of the trip, but group travel is more common in MICE.
  • Pre-planning and organization: Business travel often requires a significant amount of pre-planning and organization, including booking flights and accommodations, arranging transportation, and coordinating activities.

Effects of business tourism on tourism market

Business tourism can have a significant impact on the tourism market, both positively and negatively. Some of the effects of business tourism on the tourism market include:

  • Economic impact: Business tourism can have a positive economic impact, as it can generate significant revenue for local businesses such as hotels, restaurants, and transportation companies. Business travelers tend to spend more money than leisure travelers, which can lead to increased economic activity in a destination.
  • Job creation: Business tourism can also create jobs, as more workers are needed to accommodate the increased demand for services such as lodging, transportation, and event planning.
  • Reducing seasonality: Business tourism can help to reduce seasonality, as business travelers tend to travel throughout the year, rather than just during peak leisure travel seasons. This can help to stabilize the tourism market and provide a steady source of income for local businesses.
  • Infrastructure development: Business tourism can also lead to the development of infrastructure such as conference centers, transportation systems, and other facilities that are necessary to support business travelers.
  • Environmental impact: Business tourism can also have a negative impact on the environment, as increased travel can lead to increased emissions and other environmental impacts.
  • Crowding: Business travel can lead to increased crowding in popular destinations, which can make it harder for leisure travelers to find available lodging and other services.
  • Local culture and lifestyle: Business tourism can also have an impact on local culture and lifestyle, as it can lead to an increase in commercialization and a decrease in authenticity.

Overall, business tourism can have a significant impact on the tourism market, and it is important for destination marketers and policymakers to consider the potential impacts and take steps to minimize any negative effects while maximizing the benefits of business tourism.

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Author: Emilia Maciejczyk