Resorts attracting more corporate meeting groups

BANGKOK More and more companies in Southeast Asia are keen to book their meetings in resorts, according to IHG (InterContinental Hotels Group).

“There is a growing change in demand and consumption of meeting and incentive business segment as employers recognise that to get more out of their teams, they have to give more,” said Mark Flower, director of commercial, IHG Southeast Asia.

                      InterContinental Samui Baan Taling Ngam Resort 

Speaking to the media at the recently concluded IT&CMA and CTW in Bangkok, Flower attributed this shift to the wider trend of helping members of the workforce to achieve work-life balance, as well as to enhance their well-being and self-improvement.

This has also resulted in “behavioural changes” in the region’s meetings segment.

For one, event organisers are increasingly turning to resorts to stage their activities. “There is a change in ratio of meetings versus leisure business at resort properties where previously, the latter enjoyed a greater share,” Flower said.

He pointed out that InterContinental Danang Sun Peninsula Resort received about three to four meeting enquiries a day since its opening in June this year.

                         InterContinental Danang Sun Peninsula Resort

Other observations that IHG in Southeast Asia has made include:

* More time is spent outside the boardroom

As early as five years ago, groups stayed an average of three days in meeting rooms. Today, the duration of in-room sessions lasts an average of one day, with as many as two or three days spent in breakout sessions.

* Increase in CSR team-building activities

With growing frequency, companies are incorporating CSR elements into their programmes – particularly those which involve interaction with local social and environmental projects. This is done to offer a team a different perspective as well as to promote team building.

* Increase in “bleisure” activity

Approximately 25 per cent of enquiries received by IHG for meetings now require at least a half-day for delegates to enjoy the property or an excursion in the local area.

“This is the reason we are incorporating leisure offerings into the meetings facilities and programmes. For instance, we giive meeting delegates discounts of up to 25 per cent on spa treatments."

He added that new IHG properties like Crowne Plaza Phuket Panwa Beach Resort, which has a meeting room with golf putting green, ensure their meeting spaces offer plenty of opportunity for delegates to relax and unwind.

For example, InterContinental Samui Baan Taling Ngam Resort features an intimate hideaway meeting room overlooking the ocean, perfect for sunset cocktails; while InterContinental Danang Sun Peninsula Resort has a mountain top meeting room.

“We have seen a continued increase in ‘bleisure’ bookings with a 50 per cent growth in the number of delegates, who choose to add a leisure stay by arriving early or staying on for the weekend,” Flower noted. “Both city hotels and resort properties are seeing corporate meeting guests booking a return with their families for a leisure stay.”

* Combination meetings

More companies hold part of their conferences in a city-centre location and then move delegates to a resort for the breakout segments of the meetings. The hotel chain has seen a 20 per cent increase in enquiries for two-location meetings.

“This trend is proving particularly popular in Vietnam and Thailand, with delegates keen to explore the cultures in more than one location, particularly given that 50 per cent are visiting from outside the region,” Flower said.

This year, IHG opened four new properties in Southeast Asia: Crowne Plaza Semarang, Crowne Plaza Phuket Panwa Beach, InterContinental Samui Baan Taling Ngam Resort and InterContinental Danang Sun Peninsula Resort. By year-end 2013, the hotel chain expects a 20 per cent increase on its existing portfolio of 42 hotels in the region, with the addition of nine properties including Holiday Inn Suites Manila, Crowne Plaza Nha Trang and Holiday Inn Jakarta Kenayoran.

Gigi Onag



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