An overflowing pot of business wisdom. That’s exactly what the recently concluded Global MICE Summit 2019 (Meetings, Incentive Travel, Conferences & Exhibitions) symbolized. Once again, industry players and stakeholders in the Meetings and Business Industry congregated to discuss and exchange ideas on matters pertaining to event trade. The three-day summit held at the Trademark Hotel, Nairobi, brought together delegates from around the world who took their time to extensively masticate on a multitude of issues that would bring progress in the industry.

Global Mice Summit 2019 Delegates
Delegates share their insights at the Global Mice Summit 2019 held at the Trademark Hotel between the 11th and 13th September, 2019.

Speaker after speaker and panel after panel took to the stage, each dissecting an area of specialization. From technology, branding, women in business and so forth, no stone was left unturned at the Global MICE Summit 2019. Exciting, new trends such as virtual reality and augmented reality through which consumers are given the opportunity to tap into experiences beforehand were displayed in a presentation.

Dr. Juliet Kimemia
Dr. Juliet Kimemia, the Kiambu County Executive for Infrastructure makes a speech at the Global MICE Summit 2019.

Through virtual reality, event organizers can be able to make a stronger pitch for jobs. They can give consumers a tour of their setups, convention centres or cities to give them a feel of what to expect once they get there. Consumers can move around the setting in a virtual world, and even attend M.I.C.E events in some cases. Augmented reality also empowers the consumers by immersing them into the experience. The use of these new technologies in the industry was encouraged at the Global MICE Summit 2019. Technology can enhance events and experiences and make consumers enjoy more. Better data management systems are needed to prevent loss of data and safeguard industry players. There’s also a need to educate the market on how to use technology to an advantage.

Conference discussions
Delegates in sideline discussions at the summit. Without meetings, business cannot happen. Photo by Versatile Photographers.

Notwithstanding technology’s crucial role in M.I.C.E, the importance of human capital was not overlooked. In the event industry, people make the business happen. Without people, you cannot operate technology. Therefore, people play a central role in any business venture. They are the engine. Their creativity and intelligence joins with technology to bring about success. That is why, as it was repeadly emphasized, our plans towards events should not be short-sighted. As we move into the future, event business should be viewed as a pan-African affair. And we must focus on an African and global market. How we package our destinations will determine our success or failure. Many such issues were discussed at the Global MICE Summit 2019. The bottom line was: we are the story that we sell.

Global MICE Summit 2019
The engaging discussions at the Global MICE Summit 2019. Delegates from around the world assembled at the Trademark Hotel, Nairobi, for a three day conference to discuss matters pertaining to the Meetings, Incentive Travel, Conferences & Exhibitions industry. Photo by Versatile Photographers.

On the second day of the Global MICE Summit 2019, the inaugural Africa MICE Awards were held in which Versatile Photographers, won the Photography Solution of the year award. Surely, excellence doesn’t go unrewarded. The award is an evident manifestation of the exemplary service that we offer our customers. Our professionalism is unprecedented. Our desire to outperform the expectations of clients is our main driving force. As I highlighted in my speech at the panel the next day, we have to package our products in such a way that sells our brand not only in the country or in the continent, but also in a global market. When we package our products in a noticeable way, deliver on time, have integrity and consistency, success becomes inevitable.

Versatile Photographers win Award
Versatile Photographers receive the Photography Solution of the Year Award at the first-ever Africa MICE Awards.

In my words, “we live in a small village in a global market.” This is the reason why we should put our product in that global market; package it in a way that it attracts international attention. When former US president Barrack Obama contracted Versatile Photographers to cover his Kenyan tour in 2015, it was because he had seen something unique and viable in our professionalism as a photography company. It is up to us as entrepreneurs to ensure that our businesses are not only meant to bring profit, but most importantly, the quality of what we do must meet international standards. This opens the door to learning. We have to be open to learn. Research, as I mentioned at the Global MICE Summit 2019, is crucial in business. In order to reach a global market and become noticeable in an expansive world with numerous first-rate companies, we have to be best at what we do. That flings us into a competitive space which we cannot navigate unless we arm ourselves with knowledge and information.

David Macharia Photographer
David Macharia, the lead creative photographer at Versatile Photographers shares with delegates at the Summit.

The technology we use must be up to date. In addition to this, we should embrace the opportunities that are there to collaborate as Africans in business. Destination Africa is very attractive but this can only be demonstrated by how we sell ourselves in a global market. For instance, in an observation I made at the Global Mice Summit 2019, Versatile Photographers has exposed a potential market for investors in Marsabit through desert safaris. This kind of destination branding initiatives can and will go a long way in bringing business to the continent. Last but not least, networking is crucial. Collaboration also means that we should do business with each other in order to empower ourselves. Let us take advantage of meetings because, as I said: “the person seated next to you has a solution to your problem.”