The Benefits of Community in the MICE Industry
In the MICE industry, there’s a fair bit of conversation around creating a sense of community amongst your attendees and encouraging connection so that your brand has a loyal following that supports and promotes it. But what about the community that exists among professionals who actually work in MICE businesses around the world?
Being part of a community in your industry sector means connecting and interacting with other professionals working in similar roles or contributing to similar businesses. You might meet people through networking, by attending events, or by interacting with each other on platforms like LinkedIn, and through these interactions, form official or unofficial communities within the MICE sector.
The purpose of professional communities varies widely, from groups where connections are formed to facilitate business opportunities or career progression, to more informal communities that are formed so that professionals in similar jobs can share stories and offer support across their shared experiences. The benefits of being part of a community are widespread, no matter the context or purpose, and in the MICE industry in particular can provide plenty of opportunities for growth and success.
In this article, we share our thoughts on the benefits of being in a community for MICE professionals, why it’s important, and what kinds of communities are currently active for professionals to engage with.
In this article:
The Different Types of Community
Before we start discussing the importance of community within the MICE industry and the benefits of belonging to a community, we’ll explain some of the key types of community and what each of these offers its members.
Communities of Practice
A ‘community of practice’ is a type of community that is defined as a group of people with a shared interest or concern, who interact as a community in order to get better at their interest or find a solution for the concern. It’s a term that has been adopted and is used by a lot of organisations as a way to improve performance by connecting employees with shared interests and skills and then encouraging them to improve together.
In the MICE industry, a community of practice might be within an organisation or it might refer to a group of professionals with a shared interest who have formed a community to facilitate personal development. If you’re newer in the industry, in a junior role or looking to upskill, this kind of community can be really beneficial to be part of.
Support communities or similar to communities of practice in that they’re often formed of professionals with a shared interest. But instead of facilitating progression, they are formed as a way of offering support from people in the same boat.
In a support community, members might meet in person or connect online and share problems they are facing in their careers in the MICE sector, ask for advice or see if anyone else has similar experiences that they can learn from.
What distinguishes support communities from communities of practice is the speed at which participants communicate with each other. Support communities are more about quick questions and quick replies, like "Does anyone have a perfect registration form with all relevant questions to attendees?". Communities of practice help to solve more long-term issues, maybe work on projects together, or discuss challenges in the industry and how they are tackled in different countries or sectors.
These groups are usually quite informal but can be really useful if you’re part of a small company in a role by yourself, or feel that you’d benefit from speaking to people who have worked in a similar role or company for more sympathetic insight. It’s also worth noting that support communities may be B2B or B2C, which will change the dynamic of the interactions and the kind of support that is offered.
Communities that are built on mentorship usually consist of professionals at different stages of their careers. The intention of these communities is for senior and experienced people in the MICE industry to offer support and guidance to those just starting in their careers through offering advice, providing development opportunities and facilitating networking.
Within mentorship groups, professionals might be formally paired up or grouped together so that it’s clear who is supposed to be mentoring who, or it might be a more informal group of people who share or ask for advice and opportunities where relevant. Reverse mentorship is also an option in these communities, allowing new members of the industry to share their advice and insight into new trends or approaches, such as emerging technology like AI or how to make the most out of social media platforms.
Having a mentor can be incredibly helpful in your career as a MICE professional, and being a mentor can often be incredibly rewarding and a useful way to expand your skills, so these kinds of groups are useful for everyone.
Online communities usually consist of professionals who have never, or rarely, met in person and instead connect through an online platform. They might interact in a group or on a page somewhere like LinkedIn or Facebook, or may have been brought together through something like a newsletter where a key figure in the MICE industry creates a sense of community amongst their followers.
Communities that are hosted and interact online in the MICE industry are the easiest place to start if you’re looking to make more connections with professionals in the industry, especially if you can’t find any meet-ups or networking opportunities happening near you. It’s also easier to get advice or insight faster when you’re asking people online, which is another benefit of this type of community.
In contrast to online communities, in-person groups focus on facilitating face-to-face connection through networking or social events. These communities often revolve around a shared purpose, interest, role or specific area of the MICE sector, and may organise their own events within the industry for professionals to attend.
While some people find online connection and interaction easier, in-person communities are preferred by some professionals because meeting other people and forming useful relationships happens more naturally when you’re face to face. If you’re part of a community like this for inspiration and support with ideas, you may also find that asking for input and advice is more useful when you can have a conversation or brainstorm in real-time.
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Why Are Communities Important in the MICE Industry?
The importance of communities in the MICE industry revolves around the fact that building relationships and having support from other professionals in the same situations as you can be a massive career advantage. Whether you’re looking for development or job opportunities, seeking advice or need insight from someone who’s been in a similar role, having access to these things through a community makes it much easier to overcome challenges and find the best solutions.
It’s also important to have communities in the MICE industry because they help the entire sector to grow and progress faster, which benefits all of the businesses involved. If everyone working in meetings, events, conferences and incentive travel keeps their ideas, discoveries and questions to themselves then progression and innovation will happen slowly and in isolation, whereas communities allow for ideas, discoveries and advice to be shared so that everyone benefits and grows together.
Finally, as a professional in the MICE industry, feeling a sense of community amongst colleagues or others that you meet during your career can make your job more enjoyable and help you feel supported and connected when dealing with setbacks or problems. Having good relationships with the people you work with or regularly encounter through your job can also improve engagement and make your work feel more meaningful, which improves your experience and contributes to greater happiness and satisfaction at work.
What Are the Benefits of Community in the MICE Industry?
We’ve talked about why it’s important to have and be part of communities in the MICE industry, but what are the benefits of community involvement and building a professional learning community at work?
Firstly, when it comes to being part of a community within your organisation, the benefits are widespread. A study by Harvard Business Review found that people who describe having a sense of community at work are 55% more engaged in their roles and 66% more likely to stay with their company.
If you’re a business owner then creating opportunities for communities to develop at work can increase retention, which not only saves money but also contributes to a sense of stability and improves your reputation as an employer. From an employee perspective, feeling or being part of a community at work increases engagement, meaning that you’ll feel more focused, fulfilled and happy in your role.
In the O.C. Tanner Institute 2023 Global Culture Report, it was found that companies deemed to have strong communities within the workforce were 100% more likely to see employees producing “aspirational levels of great work”. Whether this is due to increased engagement, support or collaboration, being part of a community within your MICE organisation means that you’re more likely to produce your best work and see greater success, which benefits the individual and the business they belong to.
Zooming out to consider the benefits of being part of a community with other MICE professionals, it can be incredibly useful for career development and growth to be connected to others working in your industry. These connections could turn into job offers or other opportunities that help to advance your career, or at the very least provide a network of people who are quick to notice new job opportunities and pass them on to you if you’re a good fit.
As we’ve already touched on, it can also be incredibly useful to be part of a MICE community if you’re working in a small team and need advice or direction from someone who has worked in a similar role or been in a similar situation. Even professionals with more experience may face scenarios where advice or even just support from someone who can sympathise is needed, and being part of a community is a great way to find this quickly.
Finally, engaging with other professionals in the MICE industry can be beneficial because it keeps you up to date on the latest developments and innovations happening across the sector. Not only are you more likely to hear about new ideas and approaches before they’re talked about in publications or launched by large brands, but you’ll also likely hear stories about how to get the most out of these innovations or what to avoid, making it easier to adopt them successfully.
Communities in the MICE Industry
If you’re a professional in the MICE industry, here are several examples of communities that can be beneficial to join.
Event Profs is a private online community that provides advice, career opportunities and recommendations for professionals in the events industry. Applications to join the community are reviewed to ensure that it remains relevant, and access to the online platform includes information about in-person meetings, reviews and suggestions for things like vendors and venues, discounts on relevant software and a weekly newsletter.
Event Planning & Event Management
This MICE community is hosted on LinkedIn and currently has over 400,000 members from across the event planning and management industry. The online group is a space for professionals to ask questions, seek advice and get recommendations, but is also a platform for sharing useful content and insight.
Swapcard Connect is an online network and community for event professionals that was designed as a space to share new and innovative ideas and approaches in the industry. Members get access to a range of content and learning resources on relevant topics, so it’s a great community to join if you’re looking to expand your knowledge or increase your skill set.
Building and joining communities in the MICE industry can not only help facilitate connections with professionals who are in the same boat as you, but also help to support progress and ensure that ideas are shared, developed and applied. Business communities, whether they’re online or in-person can provide everything from friendship opportunities to job offers, so there are many benefits you can appreciate if you join.
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