This year Russian Business Travel and MICE Awards established by the Business Travel magazine, Internet portal Conference.ru, and the Chamber of Commerce of the Russian Federation, was held for the 5th time. The full list of winners in each of the 18 categories is available here. I thought I would share some of my thoughts on the implications of this event.
As put by the organisers, Russian Business Travel and MICE Awards is “the annual professional award in the field of business tourism and MICE [ ] established in 2010 to promote and develop business tourism and congress services in Russia.”
First, I think to a certain extent the fact we now have such event is in itself a sign of rapid and bright evolution of the whole event industry in Russia (and I would add CIS, although it is not reflected in this particular Awards).
Judging by categories though, it is still more about business travel, or travel, for that matter. Majority of the categories relate to hospitality and providers of event logistics services. Judging by nominees and winners, in most cases these are either hotels, or departments of the travel companies that are responsible for meetings, incentives, conferences and various types of events. [An off-topic remark here: I noticed there is no consensus regarding E letter in MICE among Russian event management companies; some refer to it as Exhibitions, but plenty interpret it more general, Events. Is it specific to the Russian market or is it specific understanding of MICE? I am not sure.]
Then if you look at city representation, there is still a trend of three or four major cities the companies are from. These typically are Moscow, Saint-Petersburg, from recently we’ve got Sochi, and Kazan or Ekaterinburg or Novosibirsk. While it is obvious and understandable that capitals and a few large cities of Russia take lead in everything, the trend is somewhat a sign that regional potential is not fully recognised yet. What actially prevents region-based companies from participation? Low level of expertise? High entrance price? High level of compettivness? Lack of information, including on the perspective professional events? Participation in events like the Awards itself could potentially solve part of these issues: networking with peers, getting familiar with trends, getting on site live learning and feeling that flavour are all good for any small regional agency.
What is it here for foreign companies reading this now? First, the events sector in Russia is developing fast, but there is still a lot of untapped opportunities in it, so you may wish to consider if your services might be exactly what is missing and highly sought right now. Second, don’t be afraid of going down to the regions of Russia. I believe you might be very surprised to know there are many interesting offers and partners you may discover in other than Moscow or S-Petersburg cities. I am sure you’ll find it rewarding in many ways. Finally, we are always here to help. Just let us know. ME