Like any good corporate events specialist, Haythem Dridi, Managing Director of Millesima, is a maverick and often takes an unconventional approach to the MICE sector. He is proving this by preparing, in parallel with the rebranding of his agency, a small revolution: the launch in 2024 of a ‘collaborative and interconnected’ platform for professionals. A platform that could sound the death knell for classic MICE agencies. He shares his thoughts on this innovative project with us.
As one of the leading MICE agencies on the market, how do you perceive the opportunities and constraints facing the sector in Tunisia, particularly in the south of the country?
The challenges lie not so much in the expertise of the professionals or the potential of the destination, which remain considerable, but rather in prerequisites such as the country’s long-term stability.
In southern Tunisia, the simple Paris-Tozeur flight will not be enough to boost MICE. Improvements are needed, and investments must be made, particularly in the chain of stakeholders impacted by the recent crisis. However, customer demand for the South is palpable.
How do you compare the situation in Tunisia with that in Morocco, where you’ve been established since 2021?
Morocco has enjoyed a period of stability conducive to the full development of its MICE offering, encompassing air, hotel, catering and transport services. Collaboration between public and private players is notable in Morocco, illustrated by effective coordination during major events. This synergy is less frequent in Tunisia, where we lack coordination between the various players.
Is this why you are pressing for the rapid admission of businesses other than hotels and MICE agencies to the TCB?
The synergy between the various links in the MICE chain is obvious, and beneficial to the customer experience. The inclusion of other professions, beyond agencies and hotels, is crucial for a more complete offer. Coordination between the various players is essential for successful events.
‘Conflict vs. cooperation’ seems to be the eternal question facing the industry. But what about the squabbling between hotels and DMCs, each of which claims to be the market leader, particularly in the meetings and conventions segment?
The success of MICE agencies is increasingly based on their expertise in project management and their ability to ensure agile governance of major events, rather than on price competition. In this context, collaboration between all stakeholders with an impact on the corporate customer experience becomes essential, as they are not positioned as direct competitors, but rather as complementary partners.
In addition, we anticipate a move towards a more technologically innovative collaboration by automating all booking processes.
Hence your investment in new technologies?
We invested early in technological solutions, notably with the EVENTEK platform in 2006 and the V-CENTER during Covid. In 2024, we are launching a collaborative platform linked to our ERP, offering customers integrated solutions for hotel and restaurant reservations, accommodation and transfers. Technology enables a more transparent and direct customer experience.
In conclusion, the sector is moving towards greater collaboration, focused on expertise and innovation, moving away from standard intermediaries in favor of technological solutions. MICE players need to focus on their respective core businesses to remain relevant in this changing landscape.