THAILAND may be the most preferred destination for MICE visitors from India, but unlike rivals such as the UK and the US, it still has some way to go before being viewed as a premium MICE destination, say industry leaders.
Speaking at the TICA (Thailand Incentive and Convention Association) Membership Quarterly Luncheon in Bangkok yesterday, David Barrett, executive director events at Amari Watergate Bangkok and Amari Orchid Pattaya, said: “Some 25.3 million households are considered upper class and rich in India, and that’s just two per cent of the Indian population but equivalent to half of Thailand’s population.”
It also pays to understand the peculiarities and uniqueness of the Indian MICE traveller, Barrett pointed out. For example, Indian groups often pledge little loyalty to suppliers and go for lower prices; have a penchant for negotiation so suppliers have to set aside time to clinch a deal; and there is a tendency for dinners to be delayed, sometimes to as late as 23.00, he shared at the luncheon.
Furthermore, a maturing Indian MICE market also brings with it an increasingly sophisticated customer profile, especially as Thailand welcomes more repeat MICE delegates from India.
Said Barrett: “For the accounts currently staying in three or entry-level four-star hotel, they will come back to Thailand and upgrade to an upscale or even a luxury five-star hotel, so I believe there’s a market potential for premium Indian MICE business.”
Ram Sachdev, CEO of Premier Thailand and founder of the Thai Indian Wedding Association, believes that high-end Indian weddings can pave the way for more MICE arrivals to Thailand too, as wedding guests “could spread the word about Thailand” back home and among the Indian diaspora worldwide.