Bryan Churchill, VP of Hotel Sales for the Los Angeles Tourism and Convention Board shares information on how and why the DMO is focusing on the essential international MICE market.
What are the top MICE markets you are seeing a trend with right now?
It's always good to remember that groups are, generally speaking, made up of consumers. And as the saying goes, "As go consumers, so goes MICE." Right now, we are seeing really strong, productive consumer markets in China, Australia and the United Kingdom. And so far that is correlating with a strong MICE market. We have surveyed hotel stakeholders and visitors from these markets tend to bring a greater economic impact to the area. But in the age of big data, there are lots of other statistics and data trends that support this case as well, so we use those results to guide our priorities.
How does the United States, and Los Angeles more specifically, position itself to compete with these international visitors?
Even with the current socio-political environment, specifically the new U.S. Administration, the international MICE buyer community remains resilient and has demonstrated an interest in continuing to travel abroad. In Los Angeles, we have burgeoning industry sectors__in tech, medicine and fashion among other things__and we foster a creative and innovative business environment as well as a welcoming culture of inclusivity and diversity. Recently, Los Angeles broke its previous tourism record with 48.3 million visitors in 2017, a year when many places saw a decline in visitation. The increase was driven by a spike in international visitors, thanks in part to the "Everyone is Welcome" campaign that the Los Angeles Tourism & Convention board initiated. And now that we've been awarded the 2028 Summer Olympics, I think you'll quickly see an increase in our international appeal as the word spreads about the exciting developments already under way in our city.
And what does Los Angeles have to offer to MICE markets?
Within the diverse Los Angeles regions, there are endless opportunities for bespoke experiences. Famous neighborhoods like Santa Monica, Beverly Hills and Hollywood each offer different choices for itineraries unique to the location: surfing lessons on the beach, luxury shopping experiences or private tours for celebrity spotting. And our portfolio of hotels and venues is as diverse as the geography itself. Aside from that, the recently renovated Tom Bradley International Terminal at LAX airport offers frequent and convenient travel routes from all over the world, located just 20 minutes from the beach and other famous landmarks.
Tackling big markets like China, Australia and United Kingdom seems like a challenge. Where do you start?
Our focus is on incentives. We're establishing the city as a true global destination in the Incentive Meetings market. We're working with trade organizations and media partners, attending tradeshows, executing sales missions and destination FAMs, and focusing on incentive agencies and buyers. The Los Angeles Tourism and Convention Board is producing marketing material with compelling itineraries and case studies, and partnering with global DMC's and locally renowned event planners.
We've also recently brought several new Destination Sales Directors on board, and they are specifically focused on MICE sales in China, Australia and the United Kingdom. We understand the importance of offering local expertise and one-on-one support in each of our markets so we always have staff ready to assist who understand the regional landscape.
As true destination experts, L.A. Tourism offers award-winning experience, personalized service and seamless convenience. Contact the L.A. Tourism Sales team to make your planning easy, simple and stress-free.