Can event planners learn from leisure travel trends?

Tamara Lohan, founder and CTO of travel brand Mr and Mrs Smith, spoke to planners at C&IT's Incentives Retreat.

Tamara Lohan
Tamara Lohan

Tamara Lohan, CTO of Mr and Mrs Smith shared some tips and trends from the leisure travel world at C&IT’s Incentives Retreat. But how can event planners learn from the leisure world and translate these for the MICE industry?

What does the customer of today want?

First of all "It’s the attention to detail and important things that make up the guest experience," Lohan advised.

Agencies that offer a venue finding service need to provide a curated experience. "Booking websites often have no information about the experiences the venues on them offer to guests. People want someone to tell them what is great, which is why we have seen the rise of travel influencers and bloggers in the leisure travel market," explained Lohan.

In addition to a great venue, customers are also seeking out the new and the extraordinary when they travel. "People want to explore the world and budget airlines are opening up new places that might not have been so accessible before," said Lohan. This is also true of the corporate world, where planners must be savvy in finding unique and untapped locations.

What will I do there that is unique? 

Leisure travellers want personal experiences, for example a private wine tasting or out of hours access to a place of interest. This is no different in the corporate sphere, where clients crave personalisation and individual experiences.

The idea of transformational travel is a growing concept in the leisure world, where you come back as a different person. This is where "the experience has changed you as a human being and helped you learn about yourself. This idea goes further than just wellness," said Lohan.

The role of technology 

Customers will increasingly expect to be able to message a travel agent and book their trip in a messaging app. However, it is also important to stay human and stay connected to your customers. "A mix of tech and human input is where the magic happens and this is how we can create the best experience. For complex or group bookings, there needs to be a human involved," Lohan explained.

The rise of 'digital detox' is becoming increasingly popular in numerous hotels, according to Lohan. "People will begin to yearn for places where they can disconnect from their devices and switch off from the digital world."

For more breaking news and in-depth features, sign up to C&IT's daily News Tracker here.

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles
and free email bulletins.

Register now
Already registered?
Sign in
Case study: Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Awards

Case study: Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Awards

Pop star Jason Derulo hosted the televised award ceremony at Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre.

Influx of association conferences for ACC Liverpool

Influx of association conferences for ACC Liverpool

Venue is set to host three major association conferences for the first time, while confirming return of several others.

3 simple ways to disrupt events

3 simple ways to disrupt events

Many planners mistakenly over-complicate their events, according to Scott Stratten, co-author of UnMarketing.

Answer our corporate event planner survey and win a luxury hotel stay

Answer our corporate event planner survey and win a luxury hotel stay

Complete our quick 10-minute survey to win a stay for two with Iconic Luxury Hotels and inform our State of the Industry report.

Profit and turnover up for Freeman EMEA

Profit and turnover up for Freeman EMEA

Most recent financial year included acquisition of Comotion Consulting and a new managing director for the event agency.

8 things to look out for at IBTM World

8 things to look out for at IBTM World

With the countdown on, what brand new features and events can attendees expect when they descend on Barcelona next week?

'I could have screamed' - the ongoing war against events waste

'I could have screamed' - the ongoing war against events waste

Putting the environment first doesn't have to cost more, says Karen Sutton, CEO and founder of the Global Good Awards.

How the 'Greta Thunberg effect' is impacting events

How the 'Greta Thunberg effect' is impacting events

'We need to approach the challenge of an event's climate impact at multiple levels,' says agency director.

Zaha Hadid's ME hotel to open in 2020

Zaha Hadid's ME hotel to open in 2020

Designed by the celebrated late architect, ME by MeliĆ” will open its first Middle Eastern property in the Burj Khalifa district of Dubai.

7 tips for organising a successful charity event

7 tips for organising a successful charity event

Group of voluntary organisations and a venue finder offer insights for event planners to put together an effective charity event.

LATEST JOBS