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High-end MICE market trends - Survey 2019

Updated: Jun 18

The concept of luxury is rapidly changing, opening up to factors no longer strictly tied to wealth, but to a new culturally elevated and creative vision that seeks new, exclusive experiences. It aims to express authentic values that encompass art, history, tradition, sophistication, simplicity, harmony, well-being, and innovation.

Today, the high-end customer is increasingly sophisticated, demanding, and less loyal to brands and stereotypes. More focused on substance than appearances, this customer has a medium-high cultural level, good purchasing power (according to the Capgemini-Merril Lynch study, they are HNWIs - High Net Worth Individuals with a global net worth exceeding one million euros), and seeks emotions and sensations in areas of interest for which they are willing to spend.

This characteristic makes them on average more demanding and attentive to details compared to traditional luxury clientele. In fact, the strategic factor influencing purchasing decisions has shifted from the "goods" to the "experience," focusing on unconventional elements.

Driven by experiential trends, high-end tourism sectors are increasingly deconstructing, segmenting into specialized niches linked to various travel experiences. Meanwhile, they are intertwining, shifting the organizational structure from standard models to bespoke offerings.

The traditional way of traveling and visiting places is being surpassed by the search for dynamic situations where interactions between the visitor, the visited element, and the context create interconnections. This allows the traveler to actively experience and immerse themselves in the true essence of the place: it is the encounter with the "Genius loci", through its icons and most authentic values.

This new dimension necessitates tailored proposals that blend the historical, artistic, cultural, and scenic heritage of the region with its most exclusive products: from wine and cuisine to fashion, from craftsmanship to music, design, and meticulous hospitality services that represent the best hospitality traditions.

It should be noted that the experience is shaped on a personal basis and depends on the individual tastes and specific needs of each client.

"Personalization" is today's watchword, no longer "standardization," with performance levels necessarily high, aimed at conveying in a simple, understated, and direct manner the most authentic values of the region, substantially different from those more commonly used in various forms of industrialized tourism.

In this new market, the creation of value does not stem so much from facilities and services per se, but from their ability to evoke emotions. From this perspective, hotels and tourism operators become primarily suppliers of emotions and personalized experiences.

This trend is significantly reshaping high-end tourism and, especially, the events market (MICE), to the extent that it requires a new approach from the supply side, completely different from the traditional one.

Indeed, this is a vast and deconstructed market, not concentrated in specific areas or with certain players, but transversely present across sectors influenced by it, and among specialized operators, especially within the luxury and MICE segments.

The need for personalization has led, on one hand, to the development of new specialized professions, such as Wedding Planners in the last two decades, and on the other hand, to the creation of new opportunities for agencies that have always dealt with "aggregative tourism," typical of the events market, many of which are already structured to manage these types of flows.

Today, it is indeed the MICE Agencies that manage the largest share of these high-end specialist markets, cutting across all types of tourism.

A new wave that is revolutionizing the traditional standards of the tourism and events industry in these markets, overturning the systems of service production and delivery that have been at the core of the industrialization process imposed by overseas models since the 1960s-70s.

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