JUNE / JULY 2020

How rights holders are adapting to their new realities

COVID-19 is taking its toll on the MICE (meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions) industry, with businesses, experts and observers wondering what the industry will look like once the world opens up again.

One of the best-performing traditional media segments, the MICE industry has managed to stay relevant despite (or maybe because of) increasing digitisation. According to research released by Allied Market Research at the end of April this year, the industry is expected to generate USD1,439 billion in 2025, up from USD805 billion in 2017, largely driven by increasing globalisation of businesses, a rise in SMEs across the world, and increasing tourism and travel. With COVID-19 significantly impacting all three drivers, how will the industry fare going forward?

According to research by Flashes & Flames, more than 2,000 exhibitions have been postponed or cancelled due to the pandemic, and while some 82 percent of shows are said to have been postponed, it is believed that more than half will ultimately be cancelled.

Those events and countries that cater mostly to the domestic market, like those in the US and China, are believed to rebound quicker than in places like Germany where a big proportion of events cater to the international market. Travel restrictions and a reluctance to travel are expected to severely cut into the scale and profitability of MICE events.

These trends may be exacerbated by a desire by businesses to simplify their global supply chains and focus more on domestic markets. Anti-globalisation sentiment has seen a surge during the past few months, as well as concerns over environmental impacts.

A prolonged reduction in economic activity and recovery is also likely to leave its mark. Research of the impact of the financial crisis of 2008 show that a full three years on, some 37-42 percent of the surviving trade shows were 20 percent smaller and only 13-15 percent were 20 percent or more larger. According to Flashes & Flames, exhibition companies variously estimate that the current crisis will reduce the scale of the industry by 20-30 percent.

Some believe that virtual events will become the ‘new normal’ while others express doubt that virtual events will have the same draw. Flashes & Flames quote Denzil Rankine, chairman of AMR / Globex: “Virtual will not recreate the intimacy of live, and not all trade shows will be immediate candidates for virtual. But examples of successes such as private viewings of art fairs and other cancelled events, replicating their main elements virtually, will spread. Virtual will not be just about maintaining contact with communities in the case of cancellations. When normal business resumes, virtual will have earned its place, extending reach both during and also between events.”

In response to the changes facing the industry, Thailand’s TCEB (Thailand Convention and Exhibition Bureau) recently announced two projects focusing on digital MICE services and health and safety standards. The first, called "Virtual Meeting Space" (VMS), will help MICE entrepreneurs run business events online and re-skill their employees via virtual platforms. The second, called "Simple Ways to Prevent the Spread of COVID-19 in Your Meetings and Events", offers MICE venue owners and operators an incentive to upgrade their safety and health standards. TCEB has also published two guides that aim to cut risky touch points that delegates may encounter when attending events by using a mobile phone, QR codes and facial recognition technology.

The Sponsorship Experts continue to support our MICE and related clients, including Thailand Health, Fitness and Wellness Expo to be held on 13-16 August 2020; Mass Participation World - Thailand on 7-8 December 2020; Kata Rocks Superyacht Rendezvous on 10-12 December 2020; and Whisky Live Thailand on 8-9 October 2021.

For more information on those events, please see www.paulpoole.co.th/opportunities.

Paul Poole (South East Asia) Co., Ltd. is an independent marketing consultancy based in Bangkok, Thailand specialising in commercial sponsorship and partnership marketing, working with both rights holders and brands - acting as a catalyst by bringing them together and maximising the relationship.

We have packaged, sold and managed sponsorship and partnership opportunities for a wide range of rights holders and worked with many of the world’s leading brands to source and engage the right sponsorships and partnerships for them to maximise.

Please contact us for more information: Tel./Fax: +66 2622 0605 – 7 Email: info@paulpoole.co.th