Buyer Q&A: What Separates “Luxury” Events; AI and Tech Intel

For our latest “Buyer Q&A,” Meeting Spotlight spoke with Tammy Hsu, sustainability and DEI events manager for S&P Global Market Intelligence. She dives deep into what makes an event "luxury" and also provides keen insight as to the future possible effects of technology and artificial intelligence on the MICE industry—both as a pro and a con. Read on for the full conversation.

Do you think the luxury MICE market is different from the overall MICE market? If so, why?

Yes, I believe so, because the caliber of vendors and partners required to successfully execute a luxury MICE event can be different than the overall MICE market. Vendors sometimes vary in the quality of service and their awareness of their clientele’s needs. So, some vendors understand the “white glove” experience better than others. From an organizational perspective, there are more intricate details that go into planning a luxury event than something more standard, thus, requiring more resources and time to plan and execute. It requires planners to focus more on the attendee experience outside of the content and agenda of the program.

What makes a meeting or incentive “luxury” in your experience? Is there an example of a luxury service or a “special touch” you’ve created or experienced?

Tammy Hsu
Tammy Hsu, sustainability and DEI events manager for S&P Global Market Intelligence (Photo courtesy of Tammy Hsu)

In my opinion, a luxury experience for a meeting or incentive requires organizers to anticipate the audience’s needs and provide services to aid those needs in advance. It also includes providing a relaxing, welcoming environment that allows attendees to fully embrace the event experience from beginning to end. The event experience should have amenities that elevate the lodging, food, beverage, customer service and travel. An example of such that I recently experienced was during a stay at the Meritage Resort in Napa Valley. Upon checking in to the resort, we were provided an overview of all the resort amenities and even provided a complimentary activation onsite to recuperate from the long flight and to wait for our room. When our room became available, our luggage, which was stored at the front desk, was automatically taken to our rooms without any action on our part. A complimentary bottle of wine welcomed us in our one-bedroom suite. This was such a pleasant stay from beginning to end.

Do you have or have you had a mentor relationship? How has this impacted you?

Yes, I have had a mentor and have also been a mentor to others. My mentor was a veteran in the meeting planning industry and was integral in my career advancement. She introduced me to the MICE industry and trained me on the basics through becoming a proficient meeting planner and obtaining my CMP. Meanwhile, my experience as a mentor to others allowed me to become a better project manager, team leader, and overall person. My mentee also helped me become more self-aware of my influences on others and I have since then become a stronger team player and supportive colleague.

What do you believe will be a game-changer for the MICE industry in 2024?

I think technology and AI will be a major disrupter in 2024. There’s a lot of potential for innovation as well as security threats as a result. Both will allow for increased efficiency, a more inclusive attendee experience and a reduction in carbon footprint. As for security threats, it could also mean cyber fraud, content imitation or plagiarism, and resource exploitation.

What is the most important lesson you’ve learned in your career?

It’s vital to be aware and up to date about global socio-political situations that can affect your events. The pandemic was a game-changer for the world and we’re still recuperating. Globalization has successfully integrated most of the world and it has a direct effect on luxury meetings and incentives, especially when considering travel, supply chain, labor and technology. It’s important to stay abreast of these matters and how they could impact your events—and always to have contingency plans in place.

What is your vision for the MICE Industry?

My vision for the MICE Industry is to continue providing luxurious and meaningful events but sustainably. The MICE Industry can potentially exhaust large amounts of local resources when attendees flock to a region or destination, so I would love to see the industry give back to the community and incorporate community development into their programs.

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