Less touristy, more adventure

Experiential travel is becoming popular with the MICE market. More corporates are looking for unique adventures to reward their clients and top performers, says Lillie Elpida of travel company, Nomadical These trips tend to be smaller, with an average of about 10 passengers and generally involve ‘bucket list’ experiences.

Gorilla-trekking tours and animal relocation projects that allow small groups to tag along are very popular, she says. She has also organised a number of rhino-tagging tours in local reserves such as the Pilanesberg, where the support vehicle with her passengers follows the helicopter in search of untagged rhinos, who are then darted. The group is able to watch the rhino go down and observe the data collection and rhino tagging process, which usually takes between 30 and 45 minutes. Ocean safari trips are also a favourite, with whale and dolphin diving experiences.

Keen on green

Corporates are tracking their carbon and, as a result, are looking for ways to make their conferences sustainable, says Elpida. 

Clients are keen on reducing single-use plastics. Work with conference venues that supply reusable water bottles and water stations, she says.

“We source accommodation establishments that are eco-friendly and are seeing more hotels taking measures in this regard. This involves water-saving, solar energy, and recycling initiatives.”

Corporates are picking menus that cut down on meat consumption. Where a three-course menu would previously have included meat in two of the courses, corporates are now choosing menus with only one meat course or vegan options.

When it comes to itineraries, agents should try to involve as little motorised transport as possible, giving delegates the option to walk or cycle between venues as often as possible.

Getting an education

Business emersion is a form of MICE travel that is growing in popularity. These are educational roadshows organised for clients, future leaders and investors, where groups travel to different destinations to study emerging or established markets to learn about unique products and business opportunities.

Samuel Herman of FCM predicts that this sector will show substantial growth in the next few years, with clients expressing interest in China and Africa trips in particular. These trips are already popular with MBA programmes.