Column: La Rentrée

As a Francophile, I find this a delightful term, not actually used that much in the Netherlands, but all the more a great concept in France. La Rentrée in France is a kind of big national gong that is sounded at the end of the summer indicating that the entire school and business life is going to be fully resumed.

Last week, Dutch business also got back on track with the conclusion of the last school vacations. After a wonderful summer vacation in beautiful France, I also picked up the thread. On the first sunny working day, our incentive branch also gathered on the beautiful and hospitable terrace of Huis ter Duin. Very nice to see and talk to all the industry colleagues again! Of course, I was also curious to hear the sounds and thus the developments from the industry. As sunny as the scenery was, the darker, unfortunately, were the reflections. The entrepreneurs in the incentive industry are usually very positive-minded people, but unfortunately they also couldn’t make the reality more beautiful that it is at the moment.


The highly fluctuating travel advice issued by Foreign Affairs also does not help to issue a long-term advice to our market leading to even more postponement and cancellation behavior in the orders. No customer wants to travel for 3 days and then have to spend 10 days in quarantine. Every day in various media I read different percentages and forecasts in various industries, but the travel industry seems to take the crown with last week’s CBS figures. Minus 90 to even – 100 %. These percentages are plainly explicable in the Covid perils, but extremely disastrous for our industry. A large part of our industry therefore stood on the Malieveld last week to participate in the sympathetic and symbolic action ‘CODEROOD’ to highlight the emergency situation in the mice industry in political The Hague. The action included a beautiful human portrayal of how our industry has collapsed as an entire chain.


Looking ahead, the outlook is not yet optimistic either. Clients indicate that they expect a tentative form of pickup in Q2, again subject to vaccine developments. But even they understandably cannot give any guarantees. And should the assignments slowly pick up again, it will also be some time before they are at their “old” level. Many realists in the industry are already cautiously taking Q3 2021…

By necessity, large and impactful reorganizations before and behind the scenes are now in full swing. Many companies go into a “winter mode” and contemplate an uncertain and unpredictable future. Emergency layoffs of up to 80% of the workforce came to my attention. Corona developments are slowly being expressed in rock-hard percentages that arouse emotions of disbelief and much more in many people.


Many energetic and talented people working in the mice industry are, understandably, looking for their future elsewhere by necessity. As estimates now stand, 51,000 people are at risk of losing their jobs as a result of the corona crisis. Not to be expressed in a percentage but how distressing it is that so much talent and experience is slowly leaving the industry by the back door.

Let us hope very hard that soon wonderful live communication events and trips can be organized again and our industry can also experience its great “Rentrée” to the fullest. And that moment, as far as I’m concerned, may happen at any time and preferably as soon as possible.

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This article is written by

Marije Breuker