Making the most of MICE
At BW HOTELIER’s latest webBlast series, The GM Show, on the topic, MICE That Escaped - How Do We Fill The Gap and When Is The Comeback Likely? hospitality industry experts discussed about MICE, its revival and how can India be a one-stop destination for the segment
Dodging the bullet of the pandemic, the hospitality industry is back on track. The halts caused by Covid-19 are now a thing of the past and the business is ready to flourish again. Among various segments of the industry, MICE is one of the most significant ones which has been affected and needs its own revival plans. India, which has immense potential in becoming the one-stop destination for MICE around the globe with the help of its government and stakeholders, is ready to come up with a distinctive plan of action that will help the segment thrive in these evolved times.
In another brand-new episode of BW HOTELIER’s webBlast series titledThe GM Show on MICE That Escaped - How Do We Fill The Gap and When Is The Comeback Likely? yet another group of discrete panellists were united from the hospitality industry to discuss the topic. Industry stalwarts like Dietmar Kielnhofer, Area VP- Hyatt West India & GM, Grand Hyatt Mumbai Hotel & Residences; Nikita Ramchandani, GM, JW Marriott Mumbai Juhu; Ritesh Sharma, GM, Taj Santacruz, Mumbai; Sameer Sud, GM, The Leela Mumbai; Pankaj Saxena, GM, Radisson Blu Mumbai International Airport; Sharad K Upadhyay, GM, Holiday Inn Mumbai International Airport and Atul Bhalla, Area Manager – West ITC Hotels & GM ITC Maratha, who also acted as the moderator of the session, marked their attendance.
The panellists, while exchanging their views on making India one of the prominent options for business travel and affecting its MICE representation on the global level, pointed out the plight of the segment in India nation in the current scenario. “We have missed this segment dearly. During the pandemic, we have taken a lot of initiatives like keeping in contact with our guests, learning their requirements for customised smaller events with the flexibility in booking terms and overall evolving requirements for safety protocols,” shared Ritesh Sharma, GM, Taj Santacruz, Mumbai Taj Hotels. In a glass-half-full and half-empty situation being optimistic is what driving our hoteliers, he added. While Sharma finds it encouraging that a lot of demand is coming back from MICE and it may not be in terms of audience but in the increasing number of queries and MICE meetings. Echoing Sharma’s thoughts Nikita Ramchandani, GM, JW Marriott Mumbai Juhu pointed out the positivity factor. “The resurgence of travel, with the kind of numbers we see coming out of aviation and ease of restriction, there is more certainly a silver lining here. We are very optimistic as we see normalcy returning to our environment. We have seen an uptake in most of our hotels in terms of leisure business and retail travel and we see the exhibition business no differently,” felt Ramchandani.
Explaining the importance of the segment, Sharad K Upadhyay, GM, Holiday Inn Mumbai International Airport informed, “I think MICE historically has been obviously one of the big segments as it drives 20-40 per cent of our revenue. But post-Covid-19, I think it is going to speed up. Some of the portfolio returns that I see is could be in the range of 50-60 per cent. So there have been some pockets of success even during the pandemic.”
Talking about the role of repeat clientele in the segment, Sameer Sud, GM, The Leela Mumbai said, “It’s generally believed that MICE doesn’t repeat but I don’t think so. I know that corporate MICE repeat a lot. Pricing can be one of the factors. The different facilities offered can be one of the factors, the requirement of the customer, proximity to where the MICE is happening play an important role.”
When inquired about his point of view on the comeback plan for their hotel, Dietmar Kielnhofer, Area VP - Hyatt West India, GM, Grand Hyatt Mumbai Hotel, opined that the key to success in this environment is agility and adaptability. The hospitality industry doesn’t have to reinvent. We have to adapt ourselves according to the situation. “It’s just the dynamics have changed and will continue to change. And all we have to do is adapt and go with the flow,” he said.
Commenting on if Mumbai is ready to be called India’s MICE destination, Atul Bhalla, Area Manager - West ITC Hotels & GM ITC Maratha, said that Mumbai is one of the busiest cities in India and being the financial capital, it has something for everyone. “There are many more new properties coming up like the Geo Convention Centre which will compete with any world-class city for a large MICE convention or an exhibition. This city also boasts up so many human resources and skilled labour which is required for this segment so more jobs will be created. Therefore, Mumbai has the potential for earning the tag of being a MICE destination in the world and competing,” said Bhalla.
Ending on a good note with a touch of optimism and hopefulness, Pankaj Saxena, GM, Radisson Blu Mumbai International Airport said, “My take on MICE is encouraging international terminal because to the appetite of intake we can take up the business for sure. We have got a lot of traffic moving to and forth from Covid-19 destinations. If you see the calendar of 2022, there are 64 events lined up in exhibitions. It’s just a small number right now. But I think it can grow heavily. The numbers are low but it’s on. I think we can grow for sure with ease of travel, ease of transaction, ease of connectivity.”
The show concluded with Bhuvanesh Raj Khanna, CEO, BW Communities, thanking the esteemed panellists for sharing their thoughts and views on the subject and informing one and all that the next show will be at 5 pm Thursday, December 2, 2021, on Lifting ARR/ADR – Occupancy Is A No Brainer – It’s The Pricing Mate.
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