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MAR­RIOTT says it plans to hold an an­nual trade event to show­case its Fiji and South Pa­cific of­fer­ing to cap­i­talise on in­creas­ing de­mand from the group and con­fer­ence sec­tor.

Last week the group held its in­au­gu­ral Des­ti­na­tion Fiji by Mar­riott In­ter­na­tional event at Sher­a­ton on the Park in Syd­ney, bring­ing to­gether its five Fi­jibased prop­er­ties, en­abling con­fer­ence or­gan­is­ers and PCOs to learn more about what each ho­tel of­fers the MICE mar­ket.

Rep­re­sen­ta­tives in­cluded ex­ec­u­tives from Sher­a­ton Fiji Re­sort, Sher­a­ton De­na­rau Vil­las, The Westin De­na­rau, Sher­a­ton Re­sort & Spa, Toko­riki Is­land and the Fiji Mar­riott Re­sort Momi Bay which de­buted in Apr.

A num­ber of trade part­ners were also present, in­clud­ing Fiji Air­ways, Vir­gin Aus­tralia, South Sea Cruises, Rosie Hol­i­days, Pa­cific Des­ti­na­tions, Cap­tain Cook Cruises and Tourism Fiji.

Col­lec­tively, Mar­riott Int’l cur­rently has just over 1,000 keys in Fiji, mak­ing it the largest hote­lier in the is­land na­tion.

That num­ber will in­crease to about 1,200 by early 2019 with the ad­di­tion of the planned Four Points by Sher­a­ton, Lau­toka, owned by the Meghji fam­ily who also own other Mar­riott op­er­ated ho­tels in Fiji.

Re­gional di­rec­tor global sales South Asia Avril Northridge said the Aus­tralian MICE mar­ket was “mas­sive for Fiji”.

She told BEN Mar­riott Int’ls five big ho­tels in Fiji were go­ing ex­cep­tion­ally well in terms of in­cen­tives, groups, con­fer­enc­ing and leisure and that the show gave lo­cal sell­ers a chance to meet face-to-face with prop­erty ex­ec­u­tives to get their ques­tions an­swered in per­son.

Northridge said the Fiji Mar­riott Re­sort Momi Bay was per­form­ing “phe­nom­e­nally” and has proven pop­u­lar for groups or around 100-150 del­e­gates.

“We’ve got some fab­u­lous book­ings down the line, with in­ter­est very high be­cause it’s new,” she ex­plained.

De­na­rau-based prop­er­ties will con­tinue to cater for Mar­riott In­ter­na­tional’s larger events.

Aus­tralia re­mains the core in­bound mar­ket for Mar­riott’s Fiji port­fo­lio (about eight out of 10 queries), but the Amer­i­cas mar­ket has over­taken New Zealand as the num­ber two source, while de­mand is also up for China and Hong Kong.

Northridge told BEN the MICE space out of Aus­tralia was “very com­pet­i­tive”, with Fiji up against the likes of Thai­land, Bali and Hawaii, the lat­ter of which had “great air­fares and air­lift”.

Last week’s event also pro­vided a plat­form for Mar­roitt to re­it­er­ate its com­mit­ment to Fiji, with the ap­point­ment of Leon Thom­son to the newly cre­ated role of ex­ec­u­tive as­sis­tant - sales & mar­ket­ing for Mar­riott Int’ls Fiji Com­plex.

Thom­son said events such as Des­ti­na­tion Fiji by Mar­riott Int’l will be “vi­tal” in keep­ing in­dus­try and trade part­ners abridged on the lat­est news and de­vel­op­ments in the re­gion.

MEAN­WHILE, PCOs who con­firm an event at Fiji Mar­riott Re­sort Momi Bay be­fore 30 Nov for a min­i­mum of 50 rooms for three con­sec­u­tive nights and a min­i­mum ca­ter­ing spend of FJ$40,000 will re­ceive a free site in­spec­tion stay, 30min cock­tail re­cep­tion, Fi­jian Tribal ‘Lali’ drum­ming wel­come and an over-wa­ter bure up­grade per 25 rooms - for en­quiries, email momibay.sales@mar­

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