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Did the COVID pandemic really transform MICE forever with digital?

2 Feb 2021: 2020 proved itself to be one of the most challenging years ever for the hospitality industry and, although 2021 looks to have some positive starts, we’re not out of the woods yet. We shall, of course, be feeling the affects of this for months, years to come and we’re still yet to really appreciate the legacy of this time on the industry as a whole.

For Bench it was also a defining year where we embraced digital solutions and ended up hosting a dozen digital conferences (3 of those on behalf of our clients), attracting over 20,000 new digital customers as a consequence, a huge number of webinars/podcasts, training sessions, masterclasses and we even squeezed in a conference (albeit a hybrid one that combined physical conference/with digital).

As a conference company who specifically looks after the hospitality industry it would be fascinating to hear your thoughts on the subject of digital conferences. As a consequence of 2020 Bench has launched 2 new service lines – Bench Solutions; which includes our digital marketing services and tailored events, and Bench Experts; our library of content, training and upskilling workshops. As keen as we are to get back to conferences we will be focusing our attentions into digital opportunities – and our conferences will all, now, carry hybrid elements. So my question to you, as an industry is whether you think the MICE industry is now going to be transformed forever with digital or will we revert back to our old ways? Let me know your thoughts!

This transformation, however, could not have happened without the support from you and we were delighted to have supported the African market with a number of webinars and a huge African event with 2000 attendees in June Africa Tomorrow and many of our African friends attended a host of other conferences during the year. We’d like to take this opportunity to thank you all.

In 2021, we are starting the year with a digital conference The Hospitality Investment Market Place – North Africa and Morocco. A free to attend digital conference hosted by our good friends at Moroccan Agency for Tourism Development – SMIT where we shall be looking at the investment potential of the North African markets. If you are a hotel owner/developer in the region and would like to apply for a free project exhibition space during this please do get in touch!

As travel is still uncertain across many countries we also thought we’d take advantage of the current market conditions in Dubai to combine our Arabian Hotel Investment Conference (AHIC), the Africa Hotel Investment Forum (AHIF), Forum de (FIHA) and Global Restaurant Investment Forum (GRIF) to create one mega event. Taking place at the wonderful Madinat Jumeirah we will be aiming to get the whole MEA communities together to discuss potential partnerships and deals across the region.

If you would like to find out more about this or think you’d like to be involved then let me know. I look forward to hearing from you.

In the meantime – thanks for reading and best of luck in 2021.

Matthew Weihs
Managing Director
T: +44 1666 824205
M: +44 7858 511012