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This entry is a guest post by Glen Dimaandal, CEO of GDI Online Marketing.
Contrary to what it sounds like, the term MICE has nothing to do with small and furry animals.
MICE, which stands for “meetings, incentives, conferences, and exhibitions” is a particular sector of the business tourism/business travel industry that has to do with delivering professional, academic, cultural, or related organizational objectives outside of the organization’s own headquarters.
Whether you realize it or not, the way your modern business, agency, or professional club is being run is in part due to the successes of the MICE industry.
It’s the industry you can credit each time your office goes on a peaceful but productive team building session out of town; when you attend a big trade expo or convention to buy products or to network with fellow professionals; or when your business club takes you on a vacation to somewhere special to reward you for clearing a sales goal.
There is one key aspect in determining the success of a MICE event: the venue. If you’re responsible for driving productivity, satisfaction, or pleasure for a group of people numbering 20 upwards, then you cannot book just any venue for your purposes.
Part of the reason why the MICE sector is thriving in certain regions of the Philippines is because venues now actively market themselves as ideal MICE destinations: easy to reach, with full amenities and equipment, and sporting a peaceful and private atmosphere.
What Makes a Resort Venue Ideal for a MICE Event?
The broad definition of MICE includes conventions and exhibitions, which means that trade centers and multi-purpose indoor facilities number among the eligible venues.
But this feature will tackle Philippine MICE resorts and hotels, which are the most popular stay-in options for events like out-of-town strategic planning, inter-department and inter-agency seminars, incentive trips for meeting milestones, and team building.
When choosing a resort to accommodate a MICE event, what are the things that the organizers should pay attention to?
Here are 5 factors that are crucial to narrowing down the perfect MICE resort venue.
- Facilities and amenities. Regardless of event type, participants will want to feel safe, comfortable, and accounted for in the resort venue. Choose a venue that is proven to have a wide range of top-quality facilities, from rooms to swimming pools to spaces for outdoor activities. If you want to be extra sure about public opinion of their amenities, you can check the reviews on the resort’s website or travel network pages.
- Convenience. Is the venue easy to travel to? Can the participants easily get there by car or public transportation from the nearest transport hub? If you are taking a large private vehicle like a company bus or coaster to the venue, are there parking spaces nearby? Make sure the resort can address these concerns before you book the venue.
- Seating capacity. Once everyone involved has confirmed their attendance to the event, see to it that the resort has big enough rooms, enough chairs and tables, and enough supplies to accommodate each and every guest. No one will feel productive or entertained if the resort is too tight, noisy, and overcrowded.
- Equipment available. Is anyone in the group scheduled to make an important presentation? Will you need to facilitate a big breakaway session during the event? You have to ensure that the resort of your choice has basic equipment like a whiteboard and sound system, multimedia equipment like an LCD projector, and additional office supplies like pens and notepads.
- Atmosphere. Lastly, the resort should be a good fit for the outcome that the MICE event organizers want. If the desired atmosphere is more serious or scholarly, then the resort venue should have an air of privacy and professionalism in its meeting quarters; if the event is something more laid-back, like a reward trip, then the venue should make it easy for guests to kick back and relax.
Top MICE Resorts in the Three Island Groups of the Philippines
The Department of Tourism’s Tourism Promotions Board of the Philippines (TPB) has singled out Metro Manila, Cebu, and Davao as the capital regions for MICE events in the country.
The province of Iloilo is also said to be a top contender.
TPB reasons that the MICE venues in Manila, Cebu, Davao, and Iloilo have the most world-class amenities, maintain popular tourist attractions, and are drivers and facilitators of local economies that actively engage businessmen and investors.
This list of the Top 10 Mice Resorts in the Philippines includes venues from these regions, but also branches out to equally viable provincial destinations.
Get to know where your organization can relax, clear goals, raise morale, and discover the best of the Philippines with these 10 top-tier resorts and hotels!
The island group of Luzon houses the MICE powerhouse of Manila, which many flock to for specialized seminars, conventions, and trade expos.
The first MICE venues that come to mind when one brings up Metro Manila are the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC) and the SMX Convention Center.
But if you want to escape the bustle of the city and conduct smaller, group-focused events elsewhere, you can look to the following destinations in Luzon.
Eagle Point Resort in Batangas is a well-known diver’s and snorkeler’s hub, but the resort also manages a private island that boasts a canopy of white sand facing beautiful blue-green waters—a perfect venue for team building activities.
It also has 3 meeting rooms that can accommodate up to 200 participants. Its meetings package includes accommodation, meals, use of equipment like LCD projectors and flipcharts, and free-flowing coffee or tea.
2. Crystal Beach Resort, Zambales
Crystal Beach Resort is a laid-back, family-friendly, and faith-oriented beach resort in Zambales. It is also host to some wild waves during the rainy season.
The resort’s usual clientele is surfers and campers, but it is also a cozy and peaceful site for seminars and team building activities.
There are two conference halls in Crystal Beach: the Hall of Moses, an open hall which can seat up to 100 people, and the Hall of David, which has a fully air-conditioned theater setup and space for 40 guests.
3. Caliraya Resort Club, Laguna
The lakeside Caliraya Resort Club in Laguna boasts hotel rooms and camping-style cottages, watersports facilities, and other outdoor attractions like a zip line, a climbing wall, and a rappelling bridge.
It also has its own Team Building Venue that can accommodate as many as 1,500 guests, and as such it is a popular choice for company seminars, industry conferences, wedding receptions, and church retreats.
4. Club Balai Isabel, Batangas
Casual guests and seminar participants alike will enjoy the breathtaking view of Taal Lake at Club Balai Isabel.
The resort may be known as a picture-perfect destination for weddings, but it can also host up to 500 seminar or conference attendees in its Talisay Pavilion, up to 120 in its theater-setup Maharlika Hall, and 100 in its Rajah Hall, respectively.
According to the TPB, two locations reign supreme for MICE events in the Visayas: Cebu and Iloilo.
While Cebu has long been the site of one of the most agile and fast-moving business economies in the country, Iloilo has combined much of its old-world genteel with new infrastructure, improved transport systems, and upgraded commercial facilities to suit business and leisure travelers alike.
For MICE events in Cebu or Iloilo, organizations can seek out the following accommodations.
5. Waterfront Cebu City Hotel and Casino
The Waterfront Cebu City Hotel and Casino can still purport to be one of Cebu’s leading MICE resorts, as it features its own convention center with a 4,000-person seating capacity along with 4 function rooms and 2 ballrooms.
Other amenities that support the Waterfront’s high-profile MICE events are a business center and an in-house team of convention and secretariat support.
6. BE Resort Mactan, Cebu
The boutique BE Resort in Mactan shows off Cebu’s clear and sunlit waters on expansive grounds that include infinity pools, a private white sand beach, and Jacuzzis.
Its accommodations for travelers on business include a business center, foreign currency exchange, a 300-seater grand ballroom, a boardroom, several function rooms, and poolside decks for cocktails.
7. Goducate Training Center, Iloilo
The Goducate Training Center in San Miguel, Iloilo offers multi-purpose venues that are lent to pre-nups, weddings, birthday celebrations, and educational tours.
The lush facility’s function hall, gym, and outdoor field can accommodate up to 400 people for an event, and you can secure equipment such as a wide-screen projector and a fully operational sound system at the venue.
The folks over at Goducate are also masters of team building, and they will be happy to assign competent team building facilitators to help at your office’s event.
8. Damires Hills Tierra Verde, Iloilo
Damires Hills Leisure Farm showcases a beautiful, airy natural backdrop that is perfect for corporate retreats, seminars, and team buildings.
They have packages for such purposes that include accommodation, tours, and outdoor activities such as zip lining and swimming.
They also have a 200-seater function hall and a meeting room that can accommodate between 50 and 100 guests.
The home island region of the Philippines’ current head of state, President Rodrigo Roa Duterte, Mindanao is quickly evolving to welcome a lively business travel sector.
Davao City, in particular, is a hub for both local and large-scale MICE events in the Southern Philippine islands. Below is a survey of two top MICE facilities in Davao.
9. Marco Polo Hotel, Davao City
The Marco Polo brand is already known for world-class hospitality services and amenities, but the Davao location has made a name for itself in the sector of MICE events.
It is well-equipped to host high-profile conferences and corporate meetings alike, with the most spacious of its 16 meeting rooms having a theater-style seating capacity of 600.
10. Grand Regal Hotel, Davao
Davao’s Grand Regal Hotel is a four-star facility that is a short distance away from the beach, the city center, and other cultural landmarks.
With 14 meeting rooms, the biggest of which has a theater-seating capacity of 360 guests, this hotel remains a top choice for MICE events held in Davao City.
As per the figures from the Department of Tourism, the MICE industry in the Philippines generated revenues of about PHP 4.6 billion in 2016 alone. In 2018, the agency rolled out the country’s MICE Roadmap of 2030, aiming to grow such revenues by 430% to a momentous PHP 24.4 billion.
With the range of venues, the availability of specialized MICE services, and the extent of homegrown Philippine hospitality, this achievement for MICE is all but expected.
When you check into a Philippine resort or hotel for your own corporate seminar, reward trip, or conference, you’re sure to get great help in realizing the goals of your organization.