AccorHotels-ICESAP impart MICE training
ACCORHOTELS will work closely with the Incentive Conference & Event Society Asia Pacific (ICESAP) to improve training standards, support education and advance best practices on the society’s agency accreditation and distance learning programme
Apart from highlighting its various brands and hotels at its ‘AccorHotels Showcase' that was held in Mumbai and New Delhi, the hotel group also announced its partnership with the Incentive Conference & Event Society Asia Pacific (ICESAP). The aim is to professionalise the MICE industry in Asia Pacific.
ICESAP is a single body for the Incentive Travel, Conference and Business Event sector and its members are individuals and organisations made up of customers, intermediary agencies and the suppliers of products and services to the Incentive Conference & Event (IC&E) industry in Asia Pacific. As the principle partner on ICESAP's Agency Accreditation and Distance Learning programme, AccorHotels will work closely with the society to improve training standards, support education and advance best practices throughout the sector. The aim will be to build industry-wide professional standards across the APAC region, for which the accreditation scheme is developed.
This year, ‘AccorHotels Showcase' brought all of its hotels from all around the globe to showcase its brands and its key hotels to the Indian market. It saw 30 delegates from 95 countries like the Middle East and Asia Pacific countries as far as Europe representing more than 4,100 hotels meet members of the Indian trade. This was the first time it was done as a showcase. Prior to this, it was like a sales mission and smaller in size.
Kerry Healy, Vice President Sales, Asia Pacific, AccorHotels, says, “Meetings and Events segments have always been important to Accor Hotels as we acquired the Fairmont and Swissotel brands. We are now 767 hotels and we will definitely close the year at 800. In the next five years we will add another 250 hotels. A third of this development is sitting in our luxury and upscale brands which is an important part for the Meetings and Events segments. Not to discount the third of the network sitting in that mid-scale which is also a convenient plus point from the value proposition for Meetings and Events. The
Our aim will be to build industry-wide professional standards across the APAC region
partnership was a perfect alignment for us. India ranks in the top three in the meetings market and we anticipate getting more events business but more particularly the Incentives market and probably the association market moving forward. So, we have high hopes. We are happy with it now but we want to get closer to the market,” she adds.
Speaking about the reason behind the move, she adds that it is important to be in an industry which is regulated. “It is important for the hotel to make sure they understand who they are working with. It's very important for the customers – corporate or an agency – to also have some regulation in the business. So when we were asked to partner as the Education Partner, it clicked.
There are a lot of new people coming into the business that we need to educate on the Meetings, Events & Incentives (ME&I) segments, on how to do business properly and to raise the bar both at the agency level and at the hotel level,” Healy explains.
India ranks in the top three in the meetings market and we anticipate getting more events
KEEPING IT RELEVANT
Although AccorHotels already does a lot of its own training within the MI&E segments, one of the things Healy is looking to work with ICESAP on is to have its industry partners come in and evaluate the items that it trains on. “Is it relevant? How to make it better? How to make our brands resonate more with the meeting planners? That's my key focus for 2017,” she adds.
Vishal Dhale, Regional Vice President – South Asia, Incentive, Conference & Event Society Asia Pacific (ICESAP) who is also Regional VP, Birla Sunlife Insurance, is spearheading ICESAP operations in India since December 2016. He says, “We have just gotten our advisory panel in place with three members from Mumbai and expanding to other towns where we are looking at members from Bengaluru, Pune, Dubai and then Sri Lanka. The first thing that we are driving is the agency accreditation piece along with learning and development piece. The industry is growing fast and if there is a structure to it, it will benefit everyone.”
For agency accreditation, ICESAP is looking at certifying agencies and partners under various points like code of conduct, employee efficiency, etc and accredit and certify an agency to a level where they can use it as a strong USP when they are in talks with clients. It has readied the programme which will be on the system from first week of April and interested parties can start applying.
ICESAP has tied up with Blackberry and Dun & Bradstreet as its consultants who will handle the programme from Singapore. It will go through the entire process of verifying and certifying the agency. “We are not limiting it to the larger agencies, but also involving the smaller ones as well as new agencies who are struggling to set their foot in the market,” Dhale adds.
If someone is not certified, ICESAP will give them temporary inputs which they can improve on over a period of one year. The certification will have to be renewed annually. “Accor has partnered with us for the learning and development programme for which we have partnered with William Angliss Institute in Australia. Accor Hotels has sponsored this project while the content is worked out by William Angliss Institute in Australia,” Dhale explains.
MICE has always been an important segment for AccorHotels