MCUBE engages MiCE professionals
Marriott group’s MCUBE – (Marriott Meetings Matter), held recently at the newly-opened JW Marriott Jaipur Resort & Spa, brought together professional conference organisers
The two-day event saw a healthy mix of both sides along with the General Managers, Market Leaders and Senior Marriott leadership of South Asia culminate along with industry professionals from the MiCE segment to enhance synergies and strengthen partnerships.
EXPLORING MiCE IN TIER II CITIES
Sanjay Sharma, Market Vice President for North India, Nepal and Bhutan, Marriott International, shared some insights on the viability of MiCE in India and why bringing events to cities helps elevate local economy as well. “MCUBE is an opportunity to showcase Jaipur as a MiCE destination. Jaipur is really upcoming at the moment and with the availability of new infrastructure and development, it can avail more business from the segment.”
The brand of Marriott is witnessing double digit growth and hopes to retain it in future as well. “Marriott had a double digit growth of RevPar during the period of 2016-17 and 2017-18, for F&B, we had a little bit of a crisis due to liquor
ban, GST and demonetisation; a couple of our hotels were hit. We still held on even in F&B. So overall 2017 was a stellar year for us and we performed far above our market share against our competitors,” Sharma added.
Through collaboration with brands, more international events will come to India
Collaborating with a brand has its own benefits, from being the suited collaborative providers, Marriott as a brand considers it vital. Said Sharma, “By collaborating not only within our hotels but with other brands as well and marketing that destination as ‘collaborative service providers' will make more headway in bringing in more and more international events into the country.
India is the optimal inbound destination because it has the excellent infrastructure now and myriad options of cuisine, has great value for money and building service levels here are exemplary.” On stating why MiCE agents and players should choose Marriott as their choice, he concluded, “We are easy to do business with and have largest footprint in the country. We have a total of 108 hotels in South Asia.”
MCUBE: A HIT
Kadambini Mittal, Senior Area Director of Sales & Distribution -South Asia, Marriott, expressed, “MCUBE is in its fifth edition. It has really grown over the years. The way we engage and showcase our products exudes a personal touch more than a business setting. Initially when we launched in 2013, the event had selective participants, but, now it has surged to over 50 partners.
PAINTING A CSR CANVAS
The event also saw the group participating in CSR activities. Participants painted the walls of a government school, which was adopted by JW Marriott Jaipur for their literacy programme. They also played games with the school children, taught them how to paint and gave away gifts.
Elaborating on the CSR activity the brand does, Anuraag Bhatnagar, Multi Property Vice President, Mumbai & Goa, Marriott International, said, “The JW Marriott, Jaipur will be involved in developing the literacy programme. All our hotels does CSR activities, in their immediate community, through our business council programmes.”
SCOPE OF MCUBE
Weddings in India is a never-ending business. To make it a thriving one, hotels ensure plethora offerings for that special day at a special rate. MCUBE gave a platform to wedding planners and other segment buyers
a chance to build fruitful opportunities. Further pointing out on the segment, Chandra Shekhar Joshi, General Manager, JW Marriott Jaipur, said, “We have, till now, done 25 residential weddings. These were mostly full buy-outs.” Giving his input on MCUBE, he added, "We had 50 to 60 event planners, EMCs, corporate customers, discussing the way forward as far as MiCE is concerned.”
Naveen Rizvi, Regional Director, India, Indian Ocean Pacific world and Executive Director, Integrated Conference & Event Management, added, “It was a good opportunity for networking for understanding the new products of Marriott."
Rizvi added, "MiCE is gaining traction in Northeast and also in cities like Bikaner, Jaisalmer.” Rizvi informs that outbound MiCE is vital, and that 60 per cent of business is gained through it. “We did a really big group for Turkey, for almost 700 people. Similarly, Singapore, Thailand, Dubai are always evergreen,” he added.
MCUBE saw fruitful interactions over a span of three days of all MiCE veterans choosing to unwind and discuss business in the lap of luxury in Jaipur. Vinita Kripalani, Associate Regional Vice President, Helmsbriscoe, elaborating on destinations for domestic MiCE, said, “There are metro cities, and Tier II cities like Chandigarh, Jaipur, Goa, Delhi, Bengaluru, Mumbai, Lonavala, Khandala.
We have seen the culture is picking up a little bit from Mumbai while Mussoorie has performed well. A good hotel, coupled with the essence of the city can definitely push a destination. Corporates always want lower rates, especially if it is a repeat business.”
Rishi Khandelwal, Director, Wish Bone India, said, "MCUBE saw conglomeration of general managers of major MiCE properties along with partners." On outbound popular destinations, he added, “Nowadays, the CIS countries like Almaty, Baku, Tashkent, are the destinations that are really in. Almaty is a three-and-a-half-hour journey from Delhi, it has direct connectivity and well suited convention hall.”
MiCE IN OFFERING
Indian MiCE hotel General Managers gathered at MCUBE to deliberate upon what they have to offer on their platter.
Faiz Alam Ansari, Complex GM, Sheraton Grand Bengaluru Whitefield Hotel & Convention Center and Aloft Bengaluru Cessna Business Park, shared, “Our hotel offers the biggest MiCE space in Bengaluru. It can seat about 2000 people. We have 12 breakout rooms and another ballroom which can accommodate another 800 people, and an additional 360 rooms to support it.”
Taieb TJ Joulak, General Manager, W Goa, on the unique properties of MiCE, the hotel incorporates, exclaimed, “We opened on Christmas 2015. We have 130 rooms, including Chalets and villas. Goa is a great destination, there are up to 20 flights a day." On business
Outbound MiCE is vital, about 60 per cent of the business is gained through it
he said, “We are touching `20,000 ADR, in occupancies we are in the high 80's . We have about 25 wedding lined up in this year. Goa as a destination is leisure so people come in the weekends. We target incentives from Monday's to Thursday's. We have about two to three meetings in a month on a weekly basis, which carries on till June, when the monsoon starts.”
Nicholas Dumbell, General Manager, Renaissance Mumbai Convention Centre Hotel, said, “We have 773 rooms. So, we can accommodate some really big groups for optimal MiCE business. We have a huge meeting space, that encompasses a 13,000 sqft ballroom. Even with such exquisite facilities, I think it's the outside space that makes a difference at the Renaissance.”
Piyush Tyagi, General Manager, Le Meridien Jaipur Resort & Spa, said, "In terms of where we are located, 70 per cent of our business comes from weddings. Weddings are very specific with regard to the auspicious dates.”
Rahul Puri, General Manager, The Westin Gurgaon said, “Exciting new hotels opened over last year and are opening, which should actually help us.”
Vineet Mishra, General Manager, J W Marriott Pune, said, “We have been having great numbers coming in. We had almost 10 to 11 per cent growth as far as business is concerned. Pharma is moving in in a big way. IT offsites have started coming into Pune as well. I think it's a city that offers everything for any industry.”