It was a Focus Group worthy of holding the attention of the participants. Some deep-rooted anomalies were brought to the fore as the surface was scratched in a better understanding of where the MICE budget allocation is somewhat of a blur to the end-user (Buyer).

The Academy presented the first in a series of exposures into this hazy mix of bottom-linepercentage, part fee / part commission, part hidden / part revealed methods the types of ways to be remunerated are both innovative and in a number of instances questionable.

First off was to pinpoint definitions between the MICE markets buyers and sellers. Intermediaries were a further hazy series of who in fact holds and controls the purse strings for the MICE gathering.

The Academy’s Helen Brewer commenced the presentation with a question: Why are we bothering to even discuss the subject? The reasons are the corporate finance, procurement departments in particular are starting to seriously query the large amounts spent on MICE undertakings. Pinpointing allocations to the ROI (Return on Investment) is an issue being grappled with in a number of private and public sector organizations.

Their concerns are justified when an industry standard or bench-mark is not evident at this time. It was pointed out there were standard hourly rates based on the level of responsibility in accordance with the Manpower Act. These would be available at the 2nd phase of this interesting topic.

Laying bear the definitions and challenges was an eye-opener for a number of the participants who expressed their desire that the issues should be undertaken in a great deal more time than within the three hour session. Following the short refreshment break, Advocate Louis Nel took the
participants on a detailed 17-page – with guided headings – on the topic of contract & risk management. Participants had the advantage of completing the pages either on their lap-tops or hard-copy as well as on the screen.

Highlights were extensive – the main ones being:
*Emails can constitute a binding contract dependent on the wording;
*Using your best endeavours is a legally binding obligation;
*Slow to non payment of accounts by intermediaries can be contractually overcome;
*If the supplier/seller knew performance was not possible the buyer can sue for
*Always check whether the individual signing any documents has the authority to do so;
*A letter of commitment is a binding contract;
*SLA (Service Level Agreements) are essential for both conceptual & logistical MICE tasks.

Testing time on the left in which all participants gained the required minimum score from the Q&A test for C certificates of more value than attendance certificates. Digitally-generated compliance certificates were issued following the Focus Group together with a back-up 5-page document on the first phase of the MICE Corporate Spend. This is a significant CPD exercise for all participants. The second phase on this important topic will be announced.

The fourth MICE Focus Group in 2013 on Friday 19th April at the five-star Gallagher Convention Centre will be Conceptual Planning including the drafting of the Organisers Proposal.