Generally speaking, Russian markets are quite resilient and the MICE sector in Russia is no exception to the rule, with most professionals anticipating growth in excess of 17% in the next year.
Despite what is widely read in the press, the financial status of many Russian companies is robust, inflation is under control, and consumer spending continues to increase. Whilst a challenging market, double-digit growth is generally attainable.
With robust sales and positive balance sheets, many more Russian companies than ever are looking towards MICE products to ensure competitiveness by attending or organising International meetings and conventions. Incentive tours have become regular events for most companies, ensuring loyalty from staff and leading distributors by organising memorable trips to destinations both near and far.
The market has become extremely competitive, with larger players consolidating their positions, while smaller companies continue to grow in numbers. Specialised roundtables (such as that which took place during the Moscow International MICE Forum in March) are being held more often, providing industry leaders with the opportunity to discuss the challenges and problems facing their profession.
The market is primarily dominated by the larger tour operators with specialised MICE departments. Nevertheless, a growing number of companies offering targeted MICE services exist in Russia and a great deal of business is also conducted by smaller agencies. In addition, many domestic event organisers are now also using their contacts and experience to arrange events abroad. The following is a breakdown of the Russian MICE sector’s service providers:
Large operators with specialised MICE departments: 37%.
Specialised MICE companies: 29%.
Small (non-specialised) agencies: 24%.
Events organisers: 10%.
The poll conducted during the Moscow International MICE Forum among 1,300+ professional visitors provided some interesting statistics:
37% of those polled organise 10-12 MICE events abroad each year.
52% organised events with 40-100 participants.
Incentives and seminars are the most popular MICE events with 66%.
63% anticipate that clients will increase MICE spending by more than 35%.
55% said MICE turnover this year will be in the €100,000-500,000 range.
So where do most Russian MICE Events take place? Turkey is the undisputed champion thanks to its facilities, flight connections, value for money, and no-visa policy. However, more than 70% of the respondents indicated that they are now looking for alternatives. High in the list of interest are Cyprus, Spain, Italy, Croatia, Austria, United Kingdom, Ireland, UAE and Portugal. Preferred long-haul destinations include Hong Kong, Singapore, Mexico, Dominican Republic, Thailand and Fiji.
With a market that is estimated to be worth more than €500 million annually, how can International MICE suppliers tap into this lucrative potential? It’s a challenge as Russia is not an easy market. However, with hard work and tenacity so as to overcome the cultural differences, the potential results are excellent. Most Russian MICE groups want the best facilities and memorable events, and are prepared to pay for this. The largest hurdle is the visa situation, so countries interested in attracting Russian MICE groups should facilitate red tape. Suppliers will often find themselves competing with other destinations rather than local competitors, so it is important to ensure that offers are clear and to indicate exactly what is and, most importantly, what is not included. Russians don’t like unpleasant surprises! Personal contact is essential and participation at specialised MICE events in Russia is a must. Once a contact is made, it will generally be a loyal contact that will provide excellent future business.
This report was written by Kim Waddoup, who as organiser of the annual Moscow International MICE Forums is considered as one of the leading expert in the Russian MICE industry. All statistics quoted are based on results of the poll conducted among professional visitors at the March 2012 event. The Moscow International MICE Forum welcomed 90 participating companies from 58 countries and attracted 1,350 professional visitors. The date of the next event is 18 March 2013.
For more information on this report or the Moscow International MICE Forum, please contact Kim Waddoup at [email protected].
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