Em­bark­ing on ICE with MAR­RIOTT

Ni­cholas Dum­bell, GM, Re­nais­sance, Mar­riott Mum­bai Con­ven­tion Cen­tre Ho­tel & Lake­side Chalet- Mum­bai, Mar­riott Ex­ec­u­tive Apart­ments, talks about cater­ing to the MICE crowd

Micetalk - - Brand - Kan­chan Nath

Mum­bai is not only the eco­nomic hub of the In­dian sub-con­ti­nent but also the busi­ness hub for the global mar­ket. To show­case the di­verse norms of MICE in the city, Mar­riott as a brand has proven its met­tle from time to time. Elab­o­rat­ing on the spec­i­fi­ca­tions of the largest Mar­riott ho­tel in the coun­try, Dum­bell shares, “We have close to 230,000 square feet of space in the ho­tel, both in­doors and out­doors. Whether it is our 13,000 square feet ball­room, or 35,000 square feet Re­nais­sance gar­dens. Be­tween our two ho­tels we have close to 800 bed­rooms. In the main re­nais­sance ho­tel, we have 600 bed­rooms. In De­cem­ber 2016, we com­pleted the re­fur­bish­ment of half those ho­tel bed­rooms. So we pretty much have a brand new ho­tel with a fan­tas­tic meet­ing and event space.”

For any event to be suc­cess­ful the us­age of props and lo­gis­tics are cru­cial apart from the con­ven­tion space.

“We have been work­ing on im­prov­ing the con­ven­tion ex­pe­ri­ence, may it be with props, buf­fet set­ups, do­ing stuff out-of-the-box,” he adds.

GROWTH PLANS

The city of dreams, Mum­bai, has proven to be fruit­ful for Mar­riott's prop­er­ties. Talk­ing about the growth plans of Mar­riott ho­tels, he says, “We will be open­ing up even in some of the smaller cities; we have a goal to make sure by 2020 we have 200 ho­tels, which is a dou­bling of our ho­tels in three years; th­ese are ex­cit­ing times for us. We have dou­bled our ban­quet­ing rev­enue over the last four and a half years. At the same time we

have opened JW Mar­riott Mum­bai Sa­har which is our sis­ter ho­tel, right next to the Mum­bai In­ter­na­tional Air­port. When we mea­sure our RevPAR in­dex, we got a pre­mium of 30 per cent which is the best around.”

CLIMB­ING THE LAD­DER FOR MICE

In­dia is cur­rently slowly climb­ing up the lad­der with con­ven­tions, con­fer­ences and ho­tels geared up to take the op­ti­mal role in MICE. Giv­ing his per­spec­tive on MICE, Dum­bell shares, “There is a growth in the num­ber of in­ter­na­tional con­ven­tions hap­pen­ing in In­dia. For the big MICE con­ven­tions, only five per cent have an in­ter­na­tional el­e­ment to it. I would like to see that grow to about 20 per cent. Also, cus­tomers are now will­ing to pay a lit­tle bit more for added value. Peo­ple will pay more if you are putting across a more elab­o­rate buf­fet with great props. As op­er­a­tors in the busi­ness, we need to iden­tify how we max­imise that. Mar­riott's ‘Meet­ings Imag­ine' pro­gramme helps cus­tomers choose such added ben­e­fits.”

OC­CU­PANCY AND REVPAR

Dum­bell gives a sneak peek on the statis­tics ex­pected this year, “We will fin­ish the year in a high 60 per cent oc­cu­pancy. RevPAR will be be­tween `7500-8000. We have seen growth in RevPAR, our ho­tel strat­egy this year has been driv­ing oc­cu­pancy and have had huge suc­cess with over 25 per cent growth in oc­cu­pancy.”

We will fin­ish the year in a high 60 per cent oc­cu­pancy. RevPAR will be be­tween `7500-8000

CHAL­LENGES

Even while there are op­por­tu­ni­ties for MICE in In­dia, there are some or­gan­i­sa­tional hic­cups that is not let­ting the MICE seg­ment reap ben­e­fits. Enu­mer­at­ing chal­lenges in the MICE mar­ket, he says, “The big­gest chal­lenge for MICE in In­dia is a lack of any co­or­di­nated for­mal con­ven­tion bu­reaus.”

WED­DING MAR­KET

In­dia is in­com­plete with­out its wed­dings. Dum­bell adds, “Wed­ding are grow­ing at a quicker pace than con­ven­tions. About 30 per cent of our events busi­ness is com­ing in wed­dings. We will be do­ing over a 100 wed­dings this year. The sec­tor is surg­ing. The chal­lenge with wed­dings is the num­ber of aus­pi­cious days and its chal­leng­ing to en­cour­age them to move to other days. The wed­ding seg­ment does drive a huge amount of rev­enue for us.”

Ni­cholas Dum­bell

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