Tue, 26 Mar, 2019

Corporate events give a boost to premium hotels’ business

It’s clear by now that the ongoing season has brought significantly lesser foreign tourists. But, premium hotels have managed to attract a lot of corporates for events in Goa, which has helped them given the state of the market. Growth in corporate event segment also shows that apprehensions of GST badly affecting this segment didn’t turn out to be true

10th December 2018, 03:30 Hrs

Karan Sehgal  

A number of 4-star and 5-star hotels have reported that they are able to get a lot of business from MICE (meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions) segment this season, which is helping them in filling the gap left by lesser number of foreign tourists this time. 

Traditionally as well Goa has been known for MICE (or simply put: corporate events) across India. From November to March every year, a number of corporates organise parties, events, get-togethers in Goa for their staff members.  

Initially in this season, there were apprehensions that MICE segment could get affected by Goods and Services Tax (GST) or by general economic slowdown. However, fortunately for hoteliers, that  hasn’t happened, as a lot of corporates are coming to Goa for events.  

Anand Chatterjee, general manager, Planet Hollywood Beach Resort Goa at Utorda, said, “As a segment, corporate events are doing really well this season. Even otherwise, MICE has always brought a lot of business to Goa. Besides, this season hotels are also co-operating with each other to ensure that corporate events are hosted smoothly.”  

Chatterjee continued, “For example: If one hotel can’t accommodate all the people coming for a corporate event and my hotel can provide rooms, then I will definitely do so to ensure that the event doesn’t move out of the state.”  

This is an interesting trend because it shows that hoteliers are coming together for their own  business and also for the larger interest of overall tourism in the state. In short, hotels are not only  competing against each other but they are also co-operating with each other. Sunishchal Parasnis, director of sales & marketing, Hyatt Place Goa/Candolim, said, “This year, North Goa has observed an upsurge in corporate groups from traditional sources like banking and finance, consulting and IT. One of the reasons is restriction on international off-sites due to a growth in the USD value in last  few months.”  

So Indian Rupee depreciating vis-a-vis US Dollar has resulted in international events becoming expensive for companies and therefore they prefer to do these events within India, in Goa. Apart from rupee depreciating, a macro trend, which was expected to badly affect events business of hotels, was roll-out of GST. Here too, a crucial change was made in July this year due to which GST is now imposed on the actual tariff and not on declared tariff.  

This has really helped hotels because even if the declared tariff was higher than the actual tariff,  they don’t have to worry because GST is only on the actual tariff. Still a lot of people remained  apprehensive of GST, but those apprehensions haven’t turned out to be true, as Goa is hosting  significant number of corporate events this season.  

Betty Remedios, director of sales & marketing, Grand Hyatt Goa, said, “During the initial stages of the implementation of GST, there were minor restrictions due to the levy of the tax. However, over  time, it seems to have culminated and all the corporates have been able to find solutions and move ahead.”  

Even though corporate events segment has done well for tourism in the state, it seems that the benefit of this trend is mostly limited to premium hotels. This is because only 4-star and 5-star  properties have adequate space for large events and also a strong brand to attract reputed corporates. 

Ralph de Sousa, chairman, de Souza Group, said, “Mostly 4-star and 5-star events are doing well in corporate events segment. This is because they already have a strong brand name, which helps in attracting corporate clientele.”  

Sources also said that the number of destination weddings happening in Goa is much lesser this year compared to the previous year. Due to this, hotels have room inventory, which they can easily offer for corporate events. Besides, the number of international free-individual-travellers (FITs) has declined this season compared to earlier. Hoteliers would have struggled to fill their rooms if corporate events segment had not shown growth.  

Polly D’Cruz, general manager, The Golden Crown Hotel & Spa in Colva, said, “There are a lot of queries for corporate events at our property for the months of January and February. But, if a lot of  Russians were coming to Goa, hoteliers wouldn’t have offered their inventory to corporate events as much as they are doing right now. Because free-individual-travellers (FITs) are not coming, hoteliers are attracting corporate events segment.”  

It’s true that Goa is one of the top destinations in India for corporate events. No other destination offers as many branded hotels with good air connectivity to the corporates. Moreover, growth in corporate events has also helped hoteliers in filling the gap on account of lesser FITs and destination weddings. 

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