Hosting the First Ever Familiarization Trip for MICE
To tap the lucrative market of Meetings, Incentive, and Corporate Event (MICE), the Saint Lucia Tourism Authority hosted the first ever familiarization tour for US-based MICE buyers last September 6-10,2018.
Participating in the fam tour are fourteen buyers tapped and selected by an Atlanta-based company, Connect. SLTA partnered with Connect to help the bureau identify the right buyers and participants for this trail-blazing marketing effort for Travel Santa Lucia.
The familiarization tour spans four days of fun and networkinng, showcasing not just the activities but facilities and amenities that can cater to MICE clients. Kicking off the tour was a networking breakfast the Harbor Club, attended not just by the Saint Lucia Tourism Authority staff but bu local Destination Management Companies.
In her speech during the luncheon, SLTA Director of Marketing for the USA, Kelley Fontenelle-Clarke emphasized the role of increased direct flights to Saint Lucia from the US as a driving force to promote the destination more, including the MICE market. She further adds that MICE buyers who are part of the trip are first-time visitors to Santa Lucia, experiencing what the destination has to offer. The tour will pave the way for MICE buyers to meet with local Destination Management Companies (DMC) and network services and needs.
SLTA aims to encourage buyers to organize MICE trips to Santa Lucia with at least 30 people in each group, at least once a year. These buyers represent big companies in the US such as Conference Direct, Helmsbriscoe, and Global Cynergies. Corporate trips can be part of a group’s incentives or business strategies like business meetings in a more relaxed environment. Through this MICE familiarization tour, SLTA aims to place Saint Lucia in the map for US companies to hold their conferences and various corporate events in the island.
Tiffany Howard, Saint Lucia Tourism Authority’s acting DEO and Chief Marketing Officer acknowledges both the roles of local DMCs and the MICE buyers in achieving the goal of the familiarization tour. DMCs provide buyers with nothing but the best that Saint Lucia can offer as a destination from attractions to wellness programs. The MICE buyers, on the other hand, have the influence to occupy from 70 to 200 rooms in a single trip, as they represent top companies who have the purchasing power to choose the island for their MICE events.
Providing luxury familiarization tour for US MICe buyers, all participated were hosted at upscale properties in the island such as Harbor Club, Curio Collection by Hilton and at the Marigot Bay Resort and Marina. Part of their itinerary includes visiting more properties and experiencing various activities to know the different things to do in Saint Lucia.