Ghaziabad, Delhi -- (SBWIRE) -- 11/01/2012 -- GHAZIABAD: There's no holding an idea whose time has come. It seems to be an apt expression for MICE tourism in Ghaziabad that is gaining momentum these days. Hotels in Ghaziabad are trying to bank on this concept as the usual MICE tourism destinations like Gurgaon, Noida, Delhi are becoming increasingly expensive, thanks to inflation and austerity drive within companies. MICE stands for meetings, incentives, conventions and exhibitions. Areas in and around Ghaziabad had all the ingredients to bank on the concept. It was only about time city-based hotels started to attract business travelers and companies.
Few simple reasons for the mice growing business concept are: price, connectivity and space. Ghaziabad hotels are cheaper than their counterparts in Gurgaon, Noida and Delhi. While amenities remaining almost on the same level or even better, the improved connectivity to Delhi-NCR has ameliorated the business prospects of the city-based hospitality sector.
According ICCA (International Congress and Convention Association), India has a great potential to capture the Asian MICE segment, as 69 percent MICE events are held in city hotels and 21 percent are held in resorts and India has large number of both resorts and hotels. It is not only the inbound MICE segment that is growing at a rate of 15 to 20 percent annually, but also the Indian outbound MICE segment that has increased with alacrity due to the increase in exports.
It all started with the Commonwealth Games. "Thanks to CWG the region got good connectivity to East Delhi and rest of NCR," said Sukhpreet Bedi, director-MICE Country Inn & Suites in Sahibabad. "This makes it an important reason why clients are not shying away from our property and hosting meetings and conferences here."
Country Inn & Suites, Sahibabad, East Delhi has a total convention area of about 75,000 sq ft with 11 conference halls, 5 business centerboard rooms and can hold up to 5,000 delegates. "The success of any kind of hotel depends on its MICE business. We cater to large-scale conferences, seminars, exhibitions, fairs, fashion shows and social gatherings. The space available here can be customized to the specific requirements of the client," Bedi said.
According to Sukhpreet Bedi, who has hosted over 200 conferences almost every year at Country Inn & Suites, Sahibabad, East Delhi, various city-based companies and MNCs are choosing Ghaziabad over Noida, Gurgaon, Delhi because of economical and competitive prices compared to hotels in other cities. "The industrial hubs of Noida, Ghaziabad and Sahibabad are also at close to the hotel making it the preferred choice for business travelers," he said. Many hotels in this region are providing services at par with other hotels. "We give the same quality of service and facilities in combination of rooms and banquets, car parking facility along with gym and spa. We maintain the safety and hygiene standards that attract corporate’s while conducting their conferences," she said.
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Some hotels are busy catering their regular customers, while Ashish Arora, Vice President sales & marketing of Country Inn & Suites, Sahibabad, East Delhi, is eyeing the upcoming F1 race. "This season we have sold out all our rooms and holding back to back conferences when the F1 is happening," he said. It all boils down to playing your part well. At Country Inn & Suites, Sahibabad, East Delhi, which started its Ghaziabad operations four years ago, targets corporate clients. "Most of our Mondays and Tuesdays are booked for conference. We host 6 to 7 such conferences in a month," Arora added.
"Companies prefer Ghaziabad hotels because of travel convenience, cheaper rates and tax structure, which are relatively low as compared to other regions," Ritesh Sharma, Director Front Office manager at Country Inn & Suites, Sahibabad, East Delhi.
Parv Jain, Vice president (MICE-Operations) of Country Inn & Suites in Sahibabad said that slowdown has forced companies to get its various officials together and discuss ways to overcome difficult business situations. Therefore there is an increase in MICE activity in the region. "Given the current economic downturn, the MICE industry worldwide is positioned inimitably to even take advantage of certain 'recession-proof' trends. The focus is also on industries that remain unaffected by the current economical situation, like pharmaceutical, medical, and IT. India is seen as one of the markets to focus on, in the current, trying times. MNCs, international corporations and associations are still looking at investing in our country," she said.
Talking on the revenue earned through MICE tourism, Bedi said, "Our success lies in the fact that 70 percent of our business comes from MICE segment. We get bookings from a lot of international and domestic companies during winters as these companies incentivize their employees by doling out stay at our luxury hotel and also for business conferences."
Bedi said that most companies now book hotels for a product launch function or annual meetings and the trend is growing by 15 to 20 percent year-on-year. "Last year, our occupancy rate through MICE was 60 percent and this year it has already reached 95 percent."
The Country Inn & Suites, Sahibabad, East Delhi, Shelly Kaushik, Associate Director Corporate Sales said that it is mostly the local pharma and insurance companies that are their biggest clients when it comes to MICE tourism. While Country Inn & Suites, Sahibabad, East Delhi has clients who have their head or regional offices in Ghaziabad, like Hero MotoCorp, Bhushan Steel, TIL, Bisleri, pharma companies like Ranbaxy, Novartis etc. "These companies hold conferences here and also book rooms for their outstation employees from time to time," said Kaushik.
For managing the events, each hotel makes their own effort to handle these services and keep their guests entertained. "We have an in-house team of professionals who manage our events according to the volume, specifications and requirements of the client.
“Food & beverage plays a very significant role in MICE business”, added the General Manager, Sushil Chugh. The variety of cuisines and drinks which we offered to our guest during conferences are from different countries, theme coffee breaks and gala dinners with cultural shows touch the hearts of MICE guests.
Rubia Akhtar PR Manager of Country Inn & Suites, Sahibabad, East Delhi also said that at the time, when the delegates are accompanied by their spouses, the hotel organizes special programmes for them, like in-house cookery classes for women by hotel chefs, feeder bus services.
Hotels also customize rates and grant special offers to companies. "Depending on the staying duration we offer 15 to 50 percent of cost reduction to our clients," said Bedi. The hotel recently hosted some Chinese guests for a 20-day period and had prepared the hotel as per the guests' needs. With hotel players of Ghaziabad predicting a brighter future and good business for themselves with the growing MICE tourism in the city they feel that their revenue will increase by 25 percent every year because of MICE said Naveen Kapur Director Media & PR.
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