Ex­pand­ing Glob­ally

Pre­ferred Ho­tel Group

Micetalk - - LET’S TALK - Deepa Sethi

In con­ver­sa­tion with MICEtalk, Lind­sey Ue­ber­roth, Pres­i­dent & CEO, Pre­ferred Ho­tel Group, talks about the group’s plans to lure MICE plan­ners and grow in the seg­ment.

1

Do you feel the MICE mar­ket is grow­ing sub­stan­tially the world over?

Ab­so­lutely. Pre­ferred Ho­tel Group has wit­nessed ex­cel­lent growth in MICE busi­ness glob­ally, es­pe­cially in mar­kets like Europe, South Amer­ica and South­east Asia. As a com­pany, we placed more than $30 mil­lion in MICE busi­ness in 2013 and are on pace to ex­ceed $40 mil­lion in 2014. This up­ward trend is due in part to the fact that many cor­po­ra­tions are re­al­is­ing that in­cen­tive travel re­mains one of the best ways to keep their em­ploy­ees happy, mo­ti­vated, and en­gaged. Des­ti­na­tions like Paris, Athens, Istanbul and Barcelona are be­com­ing in­creas­ingly pop­u­lar for long-haul in­cen­tive trips of more than five days for com­pa­nies based in Asia Pacific.

2 Is MICE busi­ness a part of the strate­gic plan for Pre­ferred Ho­tel Group?

As an im­por­tant source of rev­enue for the ma­jor­ity of our mem­ber ho­tels around the world, MICE busi­ness

has always been an im­por­tant as­pect of Pre­ferred Ho­tel Group’s strate­gic global plan. An on­go­ing goal for the com­pany is to drive more busi­ness from this seg­ment to our in­ter­na­tional des­ti­na­tions, and we have sup­ported this ef­fort by adding group and MICE sales as­so­ciates in key strate­gic mar­kets around the world such as Ger­many, the United King­dom, and Sin­ga­pore and by open­ing a ded­i­cated Group Desk in Europe. Aware­ness of the port­fo­lio of ser­vices and des­ti­na­tions Pre­ferred Ho­tel Group has to of­fer is vi­tal to in­creas­ing our suc­cess within the MICE space, so we are con­stantly look­ing at how to bet­ter utilise tech­nol­ogy, so­cial me­dia sites such as LinkedIn, and dig­i­tal mar­ket­ing and try­ing new tac­tics such as Sig­na­ture Event gath­er­ings. We are also work­ing on brand-level part­ner­ships with com­pa­nies like Amer­i­can Ex­press that will greatly help ex­pand our pres­ence on a global scale and look for­ward to sharing news of those al­liances in the com­ing months.

3 What per­cent­age of Pre­ferred Ho­tel Group’s busi­ness comes from MICE/ Busi­ness?

In 2013, MICE busi­ness ac­counted for more than six per cent of the over­all rev­enue Pre­ferred Ho­tel Group gen­er­ated on be­half of mem­ber ho­tels glob­ally. This num­ber has grown con­tin­u­ously year over year, and we ex­pect that pace to con­tinue.

4 Does Pre­ferred Ho­tel Group con­cen­trate on con­ven­tions and meet­ings with in-house fa­cil­i­ties and ser­vices?

We find that many of our group clients pre­fer to book their busi­ness at prop­er­ties that of­fer in-house meet­ing fa­cil­i­ties and even an in-house con­ven­tion fa­cil­i­ties de­pend­ing on the scale of the event. Work­ing with a ho­tel or resort that of­fers ev­ery­thing on­site is a strate­gic way to man­age costs, stream­line the plan­ning ef­forts, and keep at­ten­dees fo­cussed on the meet­ing ob­jec­tives. More ho­tels are re­al­is­ing the trend to­wards this pref­er­ence and are en­hanc­ing their in­house ca­pa­bil­i­ties to cap­ture the busi­ness and drive more rev­enue.

5 Why should MICE groups se­lect one of the Pre­ferred Ho­tel Group prop­er­ties for their events?

We of­fer a team of more than 65 ded­i­cated sales spe­cial­ists in nearly 40 of­fices around the globe, pro­vid­ing plan­ners with a cen­tral con­tact for one-stop con­sult­ing, book­ing, and sup­port wher­ever they are based or look­ing to go. More and more, we are see­ing that clients want au­then­tic ex­pe­ri­ences, unique venues, and a true sense of place, pre­fer­ring the in­de­pen­dent ho­tel ex­pe­ri­ence over the in­ter­na­tional chain brand. With more than 650 world-class in­de­pen­dent ho­tels and re­sorts in 85 coun­tries, our port­fo­lio is per­fectly suited to sat­isfy this new trend. The di­ver­sity in style, set­tings, and size that ex­ists across our col­lec­tion gives plan­ners the free­dom to choose a venue ac­cord­ing to their taste, never feel­ing as if they have to com­pro­mise or go the cookie cut­ter route. Given the plethora of op­tions avail­able, we cre­ated a ded­i­cated por­tal, PHGMeet­ings.com, to help clients quickly lo­cate their ideal venue, whether they are look­ing for a boutique ho­tel to host an eight-per­son Board of Di­rec­tors meet­ing, such as Surya­garh in Jaisalmer, or a beach­side resort with pris­tine con­ven­tion space for 1,000 del­e­gates, such as The Leela Ko­valam.

6 What ser­vices do you of­fer for MICE plan­ners?

Pre­ferred Ho­tel Group re­cently re-launched its iPre­fer guest loy­alty pro­gram to in­clude points and tiers – a trans­for­ma­tion de­signed to en­hance the value we can of­fer both MICE plan­ners and cor­po­rate trav­ellers. Now, mem­bers of the pro­gram can earn points re­deemable for cash-value re­ward cer­tifi­cates, elite sta­tus, and spe­cial ben­e­fits such as com­pli­men­tary In­ter­net upon ev­ery stay at more than 500 par­tic­i­pat­ing in­de­pen­dent ho­tels and re­sorts world­wide.

The Fuller­ton Ho­tel Sin­ga­pore

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