MICE Definitions and Incentive Travel.

According to Schlentrich (2008, cited Getz, 2012) MICE is an industry acronym for Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions.

Mair (2013, p7-14) explains, in more detail, the separate components of this part of the events industry.


According to Mair (2013, p7) across the industry there is very little agreement as to how a meeting should be defined. This is because meetings can fall anywhere on a scale, in terms of scale and whether they are international or domestic. Mair (2013) goes on to say that the term meeting is possibly the least specific term when discussing MICE due to the fact that meeting could “refer to almost any gathering of people for the purposes of discussing some matter of interest to the participants.”. However, the Convention Industry Council (2011, cited Mair, 2013) defines a meeting as 10 or more people gathering for at least 4 hours, within a contracted venue. Mair (2013) also points out that the Convention Industry Council (2011) also consider the term meeting to cover everything within the MICE sector.


Incentives, or incentive travel, is the least researched of the MICE industries, according to Mair (2012, cited Mair, 2013). This is due to the difficulty in being able to tell who is travelling for business and who is travelling on an incentive trip. SITE (2013, cited Mair, 2013) define incentive travel as “a global management tool that uses exceptional travel experience to motivate and/or recognise participants for increased levels of performance at work.”.

Fenich et al. (2015) undertook an exploratory study into incentive travel to look at how it is evolving and how valuable they are perceived to be by top executives. They conducted this study using interviews, as this would allow the executives to expand on answers with their own opinions. They conducted 50 telephone interviews, which totalled around 20 hours of interviewing. From the analysis of all responses it was deemed that the overall goals of the programme meant that the incentive travel programmes varied greatly. It was also determined that incentive travel programmes could be split into two categories, those that focus on the internal stakeholders and those that focus on any independent agents and distributors. Again, the purpose of the trip was another variable as some would be purely leisure and some would include business elements, but companies would fall under one or the other. Those that have the programmes for a leisure purpose, use it as a reward to allow the employee to relax without work crossing their minds, whereas those that use them for strengthening business links do usually provide a limited amount of free time. Of the respondents, when asked how long their programmes had been running, the answers ranged from 4-50 years, with the most common duration being 20-25 years. The majority of companies (80%) used group trips and the minority either used individual trips or a combination of both. Of all the respondents, none said that their programme was ineffective, and when asked to rate on a scale of 1-5, none rated it 3 or below.

We can assume from Fenich et al. (2015) that company executives view incentive travel as a valuable tool for motivating their employees, and will continue to build on the existing programmes.


Mair (2013) states that conventions also covers events such as conferences, symposiums, seminars and workshops. The defining of which part of the umbrella it falls, comes down to the size and scale. the conference will fall into one of three further categories; Corporate conferences, government conferences and association conferences.

Corporate conferences are generally made up of a small number of delegates, although this doesn’t mean that they don’t hold events of all sizes. The company that holds the event will generally cover the costs of the whole event, which often includes the attendance of any delegates on a compulsory basis (Mair, 2013).

Government conferences are a frequent occurrence, therefore they can be a huge source of income for conference venues. The purpose of meetings range from training for civil service departments to high profile international meetings. Government conferences are often the shortest in length and, will more often than not, be non residential (Mair, 2013).

Association conferences are related to trade associations, professional societies or academic institutions and are normally of a technical or practical nature. The attendees will all have similar interests or be part of similar businesses. International associations will often hold their conferences annually, or biannually, and may move their events around the world, almost like a tour. As most associations require members to pay a fee, and to attend events such as the annual conference, they have to ensure their event is attractive to the members. This makes the association part of the industry much more price sensitive than any other (Mair, 2013).


Confpeople.co.uk (2016) defines an exhibition as “An event (can be free or a chargeable event) where suppliers can showcase their products and services.”. These events can be business to business or business to customer. When attending exhibits, there will be a large retail element to the day.



Confpeople.co.uk. (2016). Glossary of Terms for Events – The Conference People – The Conference People. [online] Available at: http://www.confpeople.co.uk/about-us/glossary#e [Accessed 2 Oct. 2016].

Fenich, G., Vitiello, K., Lancaster, M. and Hashimoto, K. (2015). Incentive Travel: A View from the Top. Journal of Convention & Event Tourism, 16(2), pp.145-158.

Getz, D. (2012). Event studies. London: Routledge.

Mair, J. (2013). Conferences and Conventions: A Research Perspective. Florence: Taylor and Francis, pp.7-14.