India logs in strong recovery in MICE business
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The pandemic brought the MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conference and Exhibitions) sector to a standstill for most of 2020. To stay connected with its key MICE stakeholders, Thomas Cook (India) – India’s leading integrated travel and travel related financial services company, transformed its business into a digital model – delivering over 100 virtual events for over 3 lakh attendees based in India, USA, Canada, Germany and Ireland.
It also launched Gourmet Genie – specially curated corporate hampers that helped corporates stay in touch with their top performers and stakeholders with delivery of approx. 18,000 hampers till date. To build corporate confidence in MICE travel, Thomas Cook launched its “Assured” Safe Travel Program – developed in association with Apollo Clinics that ensures best in class travel safety protocols covering every distribution, delivery and partner touch point in the travel ecosystem.
This was followed by “TravShield” an upgraded safety commitment of only vaccinated staff and co-passengers among many other precautions, that ensures traveller safety in the pandemic era.
Despite the restrictions of the pandemic, Thomas Cook’s sustained corporate engagement towards driving MICE demand has resulted in delivery of over 200 physical groups of between 20-200 delegates per group in 2021. Top destinations included key metros like Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata, Chennai and Hyderabad, top conference locations of Goa and Jaipur; also leisure favourites like Udaipur, Puri, Mahabalipuram, etc. With the reopening of international borders, several international MICE groups have been conducted to Dubai, Maldives, France and Germany with group sizes ranging between 20-200 guests. With growing appetite for exclusive experiences and increased spends, Thomas Cook has successfully managed premium groups with delegates comprising global business heads; stays at uber luxury hotels like Waldorf Astoria and The Ritz Carlton and exclusive experiences including dining at a Michelin star restaurant.
Sporting events were maximised by Thomas Cook towards delivery of 3 mid-sized MICE groups (between 30-100 delegates) during the T20 World Cup in the UAE. In addition, Expo 2020 Dubai continues to see growing interest from corporate R&D teams and trade associations. Thomas Cook India has also organised weddings and related events ranging between 30-400 guests at Goa, Jaipur and Udaipur.
Rajeev Kale, President & Country Head – Holidays, MICE, Visa, Thomas Cook (India) Limited said, “Despite the challenges of the pandemic, our focussed initiatives that included health and safety, have increased corporate confidence in MICE Travel. And this has resulted in our delivery of over 200 physical MICE groups (both domestic and international) since January this year. With increased demand for physical groups/events our pipeline for 2022 looks robust and our teams are all geared up to delivering truly exceptional programs to delight our MICE clients.”