October 04, 2012 // Franchising.com // Bangkok - IHG has identified a growing change in its meeting and incentive business segment, both in the demand and the consumption of its meetings product. This change can be attributed to a wider trend towards achieving a better work-life balance, a quest for constant self-improvement, and the recognition amongst employers like IHG, that to get more out of your team, you have to give more.
Earlier this year, IHG launched its Trends Report, collaborating with some of the most influential hospitality and travel commentators in the business to identify the future of travel. Within this report, the term “Brain Spa” was coined to describe a growing trend: the increasing desire to enhance wellbeing and self-improvement; a trend towards exercising and relaxing the mind to stay ahead and in doing so, maximising on both personal and professional success.
In South East Asia, IHG has seen behavioural changes in the Meetings segment as a result of this trend:
A change in the ratio of meetings vs. leisure at resorts, where previously leisure has accounted for a greater share. For example, IHG’s newest resort in Vietnam, the InterContinental Danang Sun Peninsula Resort, has had a record number of meetings enquiries since it opened in June 2012, particularly from the luxury segment of the MICE market.
The duration of meeting room sessions has reduced to an average of one day, with as many as two or three days spent in break-out sessions. This is a significant reduction in time, compared to an average of three days in a meeting room as little as five years ago.
Particular increase in demand for programmes that include working with social and environmental charities that are local to the hotel - both to give the team a different perspective and promote team-building
Approximately 25% of enquiries received by IHG for meetings now require at least a half-day for delegates to enjoy the spa at the property or an excursion in the local area.
A continued rise in ‘bleisure’ bookings – resort properties have seen a 50% growth in the number of delegates who choose to add on a leisure stay by arriving early or staying on for the weekend. Both city hotels and resort properties are seeing Corporate Meetings guests booking to return with their families for a Leisure stay.
An increase of around 20% in enquiries for two-centre meetings - a combination of both city and resort. More companies are holding part of their conferences in a city-centre location and then moving delegates to a resort for the break-out segments of the meeting. This trend is proving particularly popular in Vietnam and Thailand, with delegates keen to explore more than one location – particularly given that 50% are visiting from outside the region.
This means meetings bookers are often on the lookout for a hotel group that can connect the dots and offer multiple destinations - IHG is well positioned to do this. For example in Vietnam, IHG has triangles of properties in key destinations - InterContinental properties in Ho Chi Minh, Hanoi and now the more off-the-beaten track peninsula location of Danang, and Crowne Plaza properties in Hanoi, Danang, and soon to open in Nha Trang. The InterContinental Danang Sun Peninsula Resort, which opened in June less than six months ago, is already seeing repeat bookings from Corporate Clients.
In response to this, IHG has made additions to its meetings product, with innovations including:
Ensuring across IHG properties that meetings spaces incorporate areas in which delegates can relax and unwind. For example, the Crowne Plaza Phuket Panwa Beach Resort is soon to launch a meeting room with its very own golf putting green. The new InterContinental Samui Baan Taling Ngma Resort which opened in February 2012, offers an intimate hideaway meeting room for up to 20 delegates with a break-out session overlooking the ocean, perfect for sunset cocktails. Intercontinental Danang Sun Peninsula Resort features a meeting room called The Summit, at the top of the mountain. Overlooking the Spa Lagoon, delegates can make their way to the treatment villas on traditional Vietnamese traditional bicycles. Conference delegates can also be offered reduced spa rates of up to 25% - properties such as InterContinental Bangkok now creates personalised special offers for all delegates.
Introducing activities that can take place at the hotel to increase the accessibility and range of break-out sessions. City properties, such as InterContinental Asiana Saigon Hotel, offer head and neck massages during coffee breaks, as well as spa treatments on arrival. Interactive team building sessions include morning Tai Chi classes and Vietnamese dance classes. Holiday Inn Resort Phuket Mai Khao Beach creates themed coffee breaks for delegates such as Healthy Spa – with brain-food snacks – and In The Kitchen – allowing delegates to take a break from the meeting room. The resort also offers team dinners on the beachfront or even sitting in the infinity pool!
Continuing to improve and expand InterContinental’s Insider Collection across all properties in the region, IHG has noted an on-going increase in demand for local excursions and cultural activities, especially within countries which are newer to the MICE trade, such as Vietnam.
The InterContinental Danang Sun Peninsula Resort will launch its unique Insider Collection later this year, keeping in mind the “Brain Spa” trend and its influence over the range of activities selected. This is to ensure that the resort continues to meet the growing demand for wellness and self-improvement seekers in the conference environment.
Having created the InterContinental Concierge destination app with the conference delegate and business traveller in mind, guests who are short on time can get a feel for the destination they are either about to visit or that they are in, so they can plan on how to best maximise their stay.
This service starts with the first enquiry where the response time has been reduced to less than 0.5 days over the last year, with many resorts and hotels receiving up to 20 enquiries a day.
Being one step ahead of the client – all clients of Crowne Plaza Properties, for example, are assigned Crowne Meetings Directors as their the sole point of contact, to ensure the smooth and efficient planning of conferences from beginning to end.
In 2012, IHG has opened four new properties for the MICE market to date. By the end of 2013 this will have increased to a total of nine new properties – a 20% increase on the existing portfolio of 42 hotels in South East Asia.
Properties with MICE facilities opened this year include Crowne Plaza Semarang and Crowne Plaza Phuket Panwa Beach. Next year will see the launch of three Holiday Inn properties - Holiday Inn Sukhumvit 22 Bangkok, Holiday Inn Jakarta Kenayoran and Holiday Inn Suites Manila – as well as InterContinental Hanoi Landmark 72 and Crowne Plaza Nha Trang.
“At IHG we make it our business to ensure that our clients can do their business well at our hotels,” said Mark Flower, Director of Commercial, IHG South East Asia. “The meetings business isn’t just important to us today but certainly tomorrow, so we continue to innovate our offerings to stay on top of the market for tomorrow’s next generation of business.
“Today over 50% of meetings business in South East Asia comes from outside the region, with delegates travelling for between 6-15 hours to reach their MICE destination. This external demand will continue to grow as globalisation continues alongside a healthy and growing domestic meetings market.“
In Thailand, IHG currently has 14 operational hotels, with 9 more in the pipeline – 1 InterContinental, 1 Crowne Plaza, 2 Holiday Inn, 3 Holiday Inn Express and 2 Hotel Indigo properties.
“South East Asia continues to be an important region for us – a total of 38 properties are in the pipeline for the next few years and we continue to invest in the region.”
IHG (InterContinental Hotels Group) [LON:IHG, NYSE:IHG (ADRs)] is a global organisation with nine hotel brands including InterContinental® Hotels & Resorts, Hotel Indigo®, Crowne Plaza® Hotels & Resorts, Holiday Inn® Hotels and Resorts, Holiday Inn Express®, Staybridge Suites®, Candlewood Suites®, as well as our two newest brands, EVEN™ Hotels and HUALUXE™ Hotels & Resorts. IHG also manages Priority Club® Rewards, the world’s first and largest hotel loyalty programme with over 67 million members worldwide.
IHG franchises, leases, manages or owns over 4,500 hotels and more than 666,000 guest rooms in nearly 100 countries and territories. With more than 1,000 hotels in its development pipeline, IHG expects to recruit around 90,000 people into additional roles across its estate over the next few years.
InterContinental Hotels Group PLC is the Group’s holding company and is incorporated in Great Britain and registered in England and Wales.
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