Belagavi on your itinerary, yet?
Pallav Singhal, Hotel Manager, Fairfield by Marriott Belagavi, throws light on the potential Belagavi holds as a MICE destination and how the hotel aims to tap this market
Indian travellers seek adventure and exploration wherever they go. Destinations within the country are as enticing as those abroad and Belagavi promises to be just that. Set along the Western Ghats, Belagavi is a city that remains largely unexplored. Its forts, temples, and waterfalls stand tall as travellers pass by, without including them in their must-visit list.
Why Belagavi for Marriott?
Belagavi is the commercial hub and divisional headquarters of North Karnataka, ranking second to Bengaluru in terms of automotive exports. As Belagavi grows as a business and leisure destination, there is a great demand for higher quality mid-range accommodation in the city.
Tell us about the events space at the hotel.
Our two meeting rooms have state-of-the-art audio-visual equipment, high speed wireless internet access, and multi-media conferencing facilities with 24-hour assistance and service that will take care of your business needs. The banqueting facilities at the hotel, both indoor and outdoor, are spread over an area of 1000 sqm. The beautifully appointed 240 sqm Crystal Ballroom features a column-free design and is adjoined by lush green lawns. There is a pre-function area with a separate entrance, making your function a private and exclusive affair.
What activities do you have in store for MICE groups?
Fairfield by Marriott Belagavi is the perfect hotel for MICE groups. In terms of activity within the hotel, we have huge gardens and grounds that are suitable for events of varied sizes. It is a nice terrain with natural hindrances. We have also tied up with local companies and agents that have group-building activities like paint ball. Hence, if MICE groups are looking for such activities, we have a number of options for them.
Belagavi is a medical education hub. All big medicine companies have one foot in the city and time and again conduct unorganised exhibitions in the city. We aim to provide them with organised and well-planned events that cater to all their needs. One category in which we are already popular is that of bikers groups.
Indian Scout, Harley, and Ducati are the ones we have already catered to. We need both leisure and business groups to come in on a regular basis.
What do you have on offer for weddings? Belagavi is a price-sensitive market. We are trying to position ourselves to those customers who would like to do a destination wedding but, for whatever reason, cannot afford to go to Agra, Jaipur, Jaisalmer or Goa. We want to promote ourselves as a residential wedding destination and therefore, have launched attractive packages with key partners. One of the packages that we have launched for residential weddings costs `50,000 per room, per day, for two occupants. This includes room, all meals, hall, basic decoration, and basic entertainment. There is another package for the local market for `200,000 net. This would include a function of up to 200 people and entail food and beverage, hall, basic décor, and basic music. The package substantially boils down to `1,000 per head with everything included. We also have ample number of venues for various functions, starting from mehendi to sangeet, wedding to reception. In addition, we can provide local shopping experiences at preferential rates. We haven’t received such a demand yet but, proactively, have already discussed this option with local vendors. We also offer to take guests out, if required, for a day to Goa or Kolhapur, just to take them out of the hotel. These are the plethora of options we are willing to provide for a residential wedding group at literally half the price. If need be, we can give up to 80 rooms for wedding accommodation.
What do you view as hindrances to progress? The only deterrent at this moment is air connectivity from other Indian cities, especially the northern ones. Connectivity via road is already super. We need to change the mindset of the people to travel to this destination. Belagavi hasn’t traditionally been used by people as a destination they can stay at. More than the property, it is the destination that needs to be promoted.
We have launched attractive packages with key partners for residential destination weddings
You say it is important to promote the destination. Is that being done enough?
This is where we are in talks with the government to understand and see what they are doing to promote the destination. The city has never been promoted for anything. Otherwise, there is a lot of activity which is happening around here. This has been announced as one of the smart cities. We have launched packages of several kinds that are available on our website. There are six to seven locations of historical importance within the city. Additionally, a new airport is being constructed with the purpose of starting another airline to come here under the Prime Minister’s UDAN (Ude Desh Ka Aam Naagrik) scheme.
What makes this hotel different from others under the Fairfield brand?
We have changed so much about the Fairfield brand for this region. Pure business or corporate travel is not going to contribute to more than 40 per cent of the business; what is really going to drive growth is leisure that includes the weekend stays, the MICE groups, and the summer vacationists. We aim to position the hotel more as a leisure destination.