Aerocity Events Takes off at Frankfurt IMEX

BW Hotelier's follow-up story of New Delhi's Aerocity events platform after the return of the three founding members from IMEX Frankfurt after a pretty successful first visit.

A lot has happened at the New Delhi Aerocity, since we
published our first story about the joint marketing effort in our MICE special.
I got a chance to meet up with the ‘Three Musketeers’ of New Delhi
Aerocity—Heddo Siebs, General Manager,
Andaz Delhi; Tristan Beau De Lomenie, GM Delegate Pullman & Novotel, New
Delhi Airport and Antony Page, General Manager, JW Marriott New Delhi Aerocity.
 Siebs was not part of our earlier story,
but is a major component of, their venture, which they began as
founding partners, with help from TMF who are the co-ordinator for the

While TMF looks to do the
branding and marketing, the three properties our GMs manage are definitely big
players in the whole big picture.

This story, is a follow-up
of sorts, especially since a has been formed and the
trio have been to IMEX Frankfurt, one of the world’s largest fairs for the
travel trade, to look at the response and of course get business.

Siebs of Andaz Delhi shared
the feedback he received at the fair, “The feedback we received during
IMEX from DMCs, organisers, was that we put Delhi back on the map to do big
conferences. When you bring in upwards of a 1000 up to 3000 people to a
destination, infrastructure has to be right. We are near the airport, right
next to each other, safe, secure and people can walk from one hotel to the
other. It's ideal for conferences. The metro also takes you into Connaught
Place in 20 minutes”.

De Lomenie  of Pullman & Novotel felt, “The
response prior to going to IMEX was very shy. But we are very hopeful and
confident, with the successful launch, with more visibility, with more PR, more
partners will be with us".

Page from JW Marriott thought they were quietly confident
that this was going to be something which would be received by the market
extremely positively. “I think there was more surprise from the Indian
pavilion, when they were coming and seeing that we had formulated this so
quickly as a private entrepreneur”. Quickly adding that they were of course
part of the bigger picture and the official campaign to get more people to
visit India.

“When you're at IMEX Frankfurt you’re competing with much
more than just companies, its also countries being sold as destinations. So, we
are competing against Mexico, Hong Kong and Singapore. It’s a situation where
we are selling New Delhi and Aerocity really more importantly as a destination.
We got a lot of support from the Indian buyers, they did not realise we had so
many rooms and the details,” Page said.  

De Lomenie mentioned visits by companies which had done
events everywhere from Thailand to all over Europe and were looking for a new
destination. “We have brought Delhi into focus. We are creating not only
interest for Aerocity, we are creating interest for Delhi”, he added.

There was some mention at the fare of how three general
managers all from abroad were representing and selling an Indian destination, Siebs
mentioned, but this was something that the three of them have had to fight
since the beginning of their association.

“We had a meeting with everyone and wanted to have more
founding partners before we began. We did invite everyone and the offer is
still open. We have the biggest capacity in Aerocity, as far as meeting and
convention capacity. But we need more partners because everyone is going to
benefit. We will be getting a convention centre next to us soon, so this is the
right moment to do something,” De Lomenie said.

With most major international events and conferences being
booked three to five years in advance, its important for the platform to not
miss opportunities like IMEX to try and get the big events to Delhi, Siebs
said. “We are talking about the conventions not moving to other cities in
India, but to places like Copenhagen or Johannesburg,” he added.

“When we met at IMEX, we were speaking with the likes of the
Berlin Convention Bureau. There's Vienna, there's Berlin, there's Barcelona. There’s
so much to learn from successful convention bureaus. We need to learn from good
examples, we don’t need to reinvent the wheel,” Siebs said.

The three founding members of the platform are formulating
their three and five year plans and committing to bringing the cream of
conventions to Aerocity.

“If you think about the momentum that has happened in
relation to India over the last eighteen months and the Prime Minister has been
active as far as visiting countries and drumming up more interest in Make in
India. We are also seeing people looking at having more meetings and look for local
partners to start expanding that type of concept”.

There is a long way to go for the really big players to come
to Aerocity New Delhi for their events, but with the start that
has gone, and with the commitment that the three hotels and their top
management are showing, great possibilities are not out of the question.

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