[MICE Issues & Trends] In the Endemic Era, MICE wants smaller, more special places

3 May 2023

In the Endemic Era, MICE wants smaller, more special places

△ Stock photo (Source: Pixabay)

Over the past three years, the COVID-19 pandemic has extensively transformed how people live and work worldwide. The threat of viral infections has led to shorter working hours and working from home, and “workation,” which is working and going on a vacation at the same time, is also expanding rapidly. During the pandemic, numerous businesses have shut down and restructured, and even in the surviving companies, the workforce who have left had to undertake all the work.


The inflation that swept across each nation is dragging the world into the economic difficulties of high prices and high interest rates. It seemed like the external activities of companies, institutions, and individuals were expanding in the face of the “Endemic,” but they are shrinking again. As such, the forecast that daily life will return to its pre-COVID, offline-centric activities from this year after the threat of COVID-19 subsided is turning into a mere expectation or hope.


The MICE industry, or the business events market, is no different. Instead of crowded and costly mass-scale events, people prefer smaller and more private events, and event organizers’ interests are also shifting toward hosting events in more unique venues.

According to the “Meetings & Events Pulse Survey” for the fourth quarter of last year by Global DMC Partners (GDP), “still high costs” was the top reason for the conference and event sectors in the travel industry to recover slowly from the pandemic. Nearly 90% of respondents responded that their event budgets had increased compared to the first half of last year due to inflation. While the threat from COVID-19 has decreased, it would take longer for the MICE market to return to normal due to high interest rates and inflation.


Experts say that the memories of the pandemic era have yet to fade away, so people are still reluctant to gather in large numbers in a single space. This is why MICE events are becoming smaller and more compact. Smaller events allow for more focused and in-depth discussions and are more cost-effective than larger events, so people prefer to meet in smaller numbers. Moreover, if participants cannot join offline, organizers can hold hybrid events with online MICE platforms, allowing smaller events to continue fulfilling the event’s purpose.

△ Ilsan Lake Park

This trend toward smaller and more compact in the MICE industry has led organizers to turn to unique venues, which allow for more special events. Small event organizers are looking for “more unique venues” than the existing unique venues. Conference and exhibition spaces that were once limited to large-scale professional exhibition and convention facilities like convention centers and hotels are now constantly expanding into department stores, large-scale brunch and bakery cafes, complex shopping malls, art galleries, museums, and urban regeneration facilities that have transformed factory sites into cultural establishments. This is the expansion of unique venues.


In line with the trend, Goyang also needs to utilize the city’s various unique venue assets. Outdoor events at Ilsan Lake Park that offers unforgettable memories at the expansive lake, the Haengjusanseong area, where you can experience the history and traditional culture while enjoying the sunset over the Han River, and One Mount, Western Dom, and La Festa, which offer shopping and entertainment, will be the “unique options” for organizers looking to hold small, special events.


In addition, there are many other unique venues and tour courses that Goyang has, from Seooreung and Seosamneung, where you can explore the history of the Joseon Dynasty and enjoy traditional food, to Pyeonghwa Nuri Trail (about 10 kilometers, a 3-hour course), where you can walk along the wall separating North and South Korea, to Angok and Janghang Wetlands that preserves the natural beauty.


△ Goyang City Tourist Map


Meanwhile, the MICE industry has also recently witnessed a rise in the popularity of “workation,” which combines work and vacation, among Generation MZ employees. Since MICE events are also an extension of business travel, it would be great if participants (employees) could partake in events at KINTEX or unique venues while enjoying a wonderful vacation (tourism) while staying in Goyang. In this era of high prices following the COVID-19 pandemic, please look forward to the potential of Goyang MICE that turns a crisis into an opportunity!

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