“The Meeting Planners podcast source for what’s new and exciting in meetings and events industry!”
Interview with Christian W Frei of MICEPOINT.com
Definition of MICE
MICE = Meetings, Incentives, Conferences, and Exhibitions.
A Global Website for Events & Meetings
What you will find inside the MICEPOINT.com website.
1. Conference calendar of upcoming MICE trade events, seminars and conferences. See where the industry is meeting, come and join in.
2. Special promotions for MICE organizers and buyers, not limited to only one country or continent, no. Worldwide ideas will give you inspiration for your next event.
3. Useful information for MICE suppliers to market their company and get more clients
4. Meetings industry trends
5. News from the worldwide MICE industry
Also check out Christians blog http://meetings-industry.blogspot.com/
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Mike McAllen: Thank you for tuning back in to MeetingsPodcast.com. This is Mike McAllen of Grass Shack Events and Media and today I’d like to welcome Christian Frei to Meetings Podcast. Christian is the CEO of the world’s largest online platform for the MICE industry called the MICEpoint.com, the only global communication of informational platform for meetings, incentives, conventions, and exhibitions industry. It’s also for hotels, PCOs, BMCs, travel agencies, travel – technical suppliers, and speakers. Hello, Christian and thank you very much for talking with me.
Christian Frei: Hello, Mike. Thank you for having me.
Mike McAllen: We finally got together, huh?
Christian Frei: Finally. It took a while but now we’re here.
Mike McAllen: Yes. So, can you give us a little background on you and how you got started in the meetings industry?
Christian Frei: Sure, sure. I’m glad to do that. My background is basically the hotel industry where I come. I have made the hotel management school one of the famous one in Switzerland. You know, many of the Swiss and German interested of hotels, they have span of hotel management school in Switzerland so I’m one of those guys. So, I came out of the hotel industry and I finally realized that there’s something else but hotel is just hotels and I fell in love with the meetings industry.
Mike McAllen: Nice, nice.
Christian Frei: And this happened while I was in Asia actually.
Mike McAllen: That’s very cool. I’ve – we’ve put this new widget on our Meetings Podcast site where it shows where people are coming from and I always assumed that everybody was listening to the show from you know, the United States because we’re all from the United States, everybody on the show and that was very – I wasn’t right about it at all. You can see people coming by from all over the world so I think it’s great that you’re on the show. One thing I wanted to ask you, is it true you have a Harley-Davidson motorcycle?
Christian Frei: Yes, and I love it. Well, I need to find time and again and again to ride it but it’s one of those things besides my cigar smoking which I truly love to do and my Harley-Davidson is a great free time tool for me.
Mike McAllen: That’s great. Yes, I love one. I met a few people –
Christian Frei: Come over to Europe and join me for a ride.
Mike McAllen: Yes, I’d love to. I was just, I was researching you on the internet and I saw that and I thought that’s fantastic. Anyway, so let’s get back to the, get back to the meat of the matter here.
Christian Frei: Sure, sure.
Mike McAllen: So, what made you start MICE and I think you should explain what MICE stands for too.
Christian Frei: Let me start with the explanation what MICE stands for. MICE stands for Meeting, Incentives, Conferences or Conventions and Event or Exhibitions. Well, there have been a lot of discussions in the past, a couple of years about to use MICE – whether to use MICE or not and in fact, there’s a large part of Asia, Europe, they’re using the term MICE which describes best of what it is.
This sort of business tourism but of course it’s such a – if you look at outside of the MICE world, there are not many people who know actually what MICE means so it might even create some confusion but looking really into our industry where we come from, where we’re dealing with, MICE is really worldwide renowned and I’m very glad to have my company called MICEpoint, which is what’s basically what we’re doing. We are the point, the middle of MICE, the point where everybody meets.
Mike McAllen: Yes. So, what is exactly does the site do?
Christian Frei: Well, my site basically connects the buyer or organizer site of conferences, incentives, events with the suppliers. There are many aspects of this communication between those two, I would say parties but the key element is that it is a global website so we’re not limited just to one part like the U.S. or Europe because MICE doesn’t happened in just one part of the world, it’s all over the world. I just got back two days ago from iTV-Asia in Singapore and I was truly amazed again how large and important the MICE industry in Asia and Australia and New Zealand even.
Mike McAllen: Oh, yes, yes. I think it’s a great idea. I wished in the past that I had know about it because there – I had done a lot of meetings in the past in Europe and Asia, it would have come in handy.
Christian Frei: Yes, that would definitely. That’s what it’s here for. So, we connect organizers and suppliers, that’s what we do.
Mike McAllen: That’s great. So, what are the statistics of the MICE industry?
Christian Frei: Well worldwide, MICE is a huge business industry. Roughly, MICE – whatever is related to MICE, the meetings, incentives, conferences, or events, I would roughly say that 50% of the entire tourism turnover worldwide is somehow related to the MICE industry, which then of course gives it a tremendous amount of people and revenue worldwide per year even now where we have certain difficulties facing us not only in U.S. in Europe as well, in Asia as well. We hardly notice any drop of our revenue in the MICE industry.
Mike McAllen: Well. So where …
Mike McAllen: It’s one of those things where you know corporate accounts association, they – corporate accounts they need to sell, they need to meet …
Mike McAllen: Right.
Christian Frei: … they need to train. It doesn’t stop even if business goes down, the urge or the need for more marketing is increasing actually …
Mike McAllen: Yes.
Christian Frei: … because the worst situation gets in your business, the more you have to show yourself, the more you have to attract new customers and one way to do this is to activate or to improve your MICE events where you really can attract future customers.
Mike McAllen: Right. I agree. They all want to meet more and more face to face.
Christian Frei: Of course, of course.
Mike McAllen: Yes, yes, it’s great. So, where are the MICE markets?
Christian Frei: MICE markets are basically all over the world. There’s some major markets like, such as the U.S., Europe and Asia and Australia is extremely a great market and there’s some upcoming nice and new – I will even call them destination such as maybe Africa, some parts of Africa which are really, really now getting more and more interesting. Within Asia, we have some great new destinations coming up more and more and like Macau …
Mike McAllen: Okay.
Christian Frei: …and we have the middle south of the Americas where some countries are pushing in very, very hard to get into MICE map and to they’re doing actually an excellent job.
Mike McAllen: Well …
Christian Frei: Because it’s s worldwide, it’s truly a worldwide industry.
Mike McAllen: It sure is. And where do you see the future of the MICE industry? Where do you see it, where do you see it going?
Christian Frei: The future of MICE industry will more and more guide us towards those new markets, I would say geographically. The Africa has a – North and South Africa has a huge potential, Middle and South America have a tremendous potential as well. The need for new destinations as it is for general tools and is always there. Besides and of course the need for those in we called an Eastern European countries, former Russian countries has emerged tremendously emerged over the last four, five years so they’re all building up new convention centers.
The industry is booming as never before. There might now, this year or the next year be not a slow down but just maybe keep on with a steady improvement as it was during the last one or two years but we are foreseeing still a growth for next year for about 2% to 3% of the entire MICE industry, which is not bad for this current situation.
Mike McAllen: No, no, not at all. Yes, we keeps saying that that it you know – that it’s, it’s busy and I hate saying it because I’m always afraid you know I got to keep knocking on wood to say no you know I hope it keeps going but it has been …
Christian Frei: Absolutely, absolutely.
Mike McAllen: … it’s just going along forward.
Christian Frei: Absolutely. There are some – I mean, there are some really exciting new properties opening, some new providers, suppliers opening up in markets where we have never actually have thought about and going with your group, if you’re an organizer, going to such a great destination, a new destination, you might not find the top level service there with you what you would get in the U.S. or back in Europe but you will discover something where most of your participants have never been before and that’s an advantage you can’t really calculate in money terms but in terms of an incentive for your participants, it’s a unique, unique deal.
Mike McAllen: All right. Now, I agree. I really agree.
Christian Frei: And that’s where, that’s where the MICE market worldwide is full, plenty, full of surprises.
Mike McAllen: Yes. Well …
Christian Frei: It’s a great advertising for the MICE market I’m doing here.
Mike McAllen: Yes. So you learned a lot at the iTV, at the iTV in Asia? The …
Christian Frei: Well, I – coming out of Asia, it was nice for me again to see many of my fellow colleagues but as well of course as you mentioned it before, yes, I have made some amazing discoveries coming out Asia again for the MICE market but as I said, I mentioned it before in the south, look at so many unspoiled destinations for the MICE market which are growing in the highlands, deadly improving their quality and the awareness. It’s a unique situation where we are in actually because money is around for the MICE industry. Money is around off the support by the local government so we’re having a unique situation even though the economical downturn is a little bit there, we are still producing new venues, new suppliers, new destinations every month.
Mike McAllen: Well, it sounds really exciting.
Christian Frei: It is, it is absolutely. It opens so much, so many, many possibilities to organize. There is some buyers of MICE even that’s actually going hard to keep track with all those future destinations coming up and that’s why we’re one reason why MICEpoint is there as well in order to help, to get you organize to do a feast you searched for whatever you need.
Mike McAllen: That’s great. So, where, where can the audience contact you if they wanted to get some more information. I guess they can go to MICEpoint.
Christian Frei: Absolutely. That’s the starting point using our search engine on MICE, MICEpoint.com in order to get some information. Look at the statistics, we have listed on my MICEpoint, statistics about the worldwide MICE industry, very interesting to get some worthy details and insight there. We have listed a couple of other very interesting information on our site which will help every meeting planner, every organizer to maybe get some more additional information about things they didn’t know yet.
Mike McAllen: That’s great. You know what, I’d actually like to keep interview you know, do a, maybe do an interview every couple of months just to keep abreast of what’s going on in the rest of the world because we’re kind of sometimes put our blinders on in the U.S. here that we only look at what’s going on around us.
Christian Frei: Yes.
Mike McAllen: But I’d love to get together with you again you know, a couple of months and talk about …
Christian Frei: Please please. Maybe a little hint, a little idea and my town, which is just outside of Hong Kong. It’s a small peninsula actually. There’s a new hotel opening over 4,000 rooms.
Mike McAllen: Wow.
Christian Frei: The meeting capacity they had is just amazing. So, can you imagine you propose to your regular 3,000 participants, let’s go over to Macau. It’s fun gambling even better than Las Vegas, some people say and you just have a blast time there. It’s going to be fun and you can have all your delegates, 3,000 delegates at the same hotel.
Mike McAllen: Yes, that’s the amazing part. You don’t have to go to Las Vegas to …
Christian Frei: Quite unique you know. So, there’s some really great destinations all over the world which just needs to be discovered maybe then need to be introduced then it’s a lot of fun.
Mike McAllen: Great. All right, Christian. Well, thank you so much for speaking with me and I look forward to talking to you again.
Christian Frei: Thank you, Mike for your time.
Female: We appreciate and thank you for listening to the Meetings Podcast. You can find Mike McAllen at d72.c4e.myftpupload.com, Jon Trask at alliantevents.com, and Tom Hillmer at creativegroupinc.com. The Meetings Podcast theme music comes from the Delgado Brothers which can be found at DelgadoBrothers.com. Special thanks to RipTideGraphics.com for the audio editing of this podcast.