Speed networking - the inbound business magazine work-life balance: uneven ScaleS - Mice Talk

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Speed networking - the inbound business magazine work-life balance: uneven ScaleS - Mice Talk
RNI No.:DELENG/2010/34144 ` 20

the inbound business magazine

                                                                   A DDP Publication
                                 Volume XII Issue 1 January-February 2021 16 pages


                                   Smaller & leaner

     Speed networking
Speed networking - the inbound business magazine work-life balance: uneven ScaleS - Mice Talk
Speed networking - the inbound business magazine work-life balance: uneven ScaleS - Mice Talk
Speed networking - the inbound business magazine work-life balance: uneven ScaleS - Mice Talk
contents                                                                                                                                                        Spring 2021

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Publisher & Editor

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             Senior Correspondent
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           Neha Rawat

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          desk editor
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Smita Kulshreshth

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   6                                                             Design
         cover story                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           Raashi Ajmani Girdhar

         Speed networking: Maximise contacts
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             Nikhil jeet

                                                                                            9 10                                                                                                                                                                                     Gaganpreet Kaur
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       Meetu Malhotra
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     Rakesh Kashyap
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    +91 9650399910

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Advertisement Designers
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Nitin Kumar

         interview                                                                                                industry                                                                                                                                                    Production Manager
         Smaller and leaner                                                                                       Work-life balance                                                                                                                                                    Anil Kharbanda

                                                                                 13 14
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             Circulation Manager
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           Ashok Rana

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              MUMBAI: Advertising
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         Harshal Ashar
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Priyanshu Wankhade

         guest column                                                                                             states                                                                                                                                                         Picture on the cover:
         M!CE to revive soon                                                                                      Packaging Kevadia                                                                                                                                                     Freepik

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4   M CEtalk January-February 2021
Speed networking - the inbound business magazine work-life balance: uneven ScaleS - Mice Talk

                                                                            Niraamaya Retreats Suryavilas has
                                                                       opened in Solan, Himachal Pradesh.
                                                         Its bouquet of services include a spacious banquet
ITC Hotels launch their first property                              hall for weddings, conferences and events.
in HP – Welcomhotel Shimla
Welcomhotel has launched its first property in
Himachal Pradesh, Welcomhotel Shimla, which offers
47 rooms and suites overlooking the picturesque                                              We are extremely
Mashobra valley. With 3,186 sq.ft. spacious, seamless,                                       delighted about
indoor banquet spaces & a huge 3,477 sq. ft. outdoor
venue called the ‘Sunset Garden’, surrounded by                                              the launch of
the majestic Himalayan range, the hotel can host                                             Sterling Palm Bliss
both social & corporate events with élan. The in-
house event managers will ensure that all events are
                                                                                             Rishikesh. The
personalised & follow safety and hygiene protocols.                                          resort is a perfect
                                                                                             amalgamation of
                                                                                             a spiritual
                                                                                             adventure and
                                                                                             drive-to holiday

Sayaji Hotels signs
Sayaji Morbi
Sayaji Hotels have
expanded their presence
in Gujarat with the
signing of a new hotel
in Morbi, anticipated to                                   ITM 2021 from February 18-20,
open by June 2021. Sayaji
Hotel Morbi features 97
                                                           500 buyers, 200 exhibitors expected
plush guest rooms. With                                    India Tourism Mart (ITM) 2021 will be held from February
its modern interiors, the                                  18-20. The event will be mostly virtual, and some part of it
4,500 sq. ft. banquet hall                                 will be hybrid. Subhash Goyal, Secretary-General, FAITH,
and 1200 sq. ft. conference                                revealed, “This year’s ITM will be slightly hybrid, but 90 per
room offer the ideal venue                                 cent virtual. We are expecting around 500 international buyers
for M!CE.                                                  and around 100-200 domestic buyers.”

       THE Park
                                                                         THE Park Mumbai, a boutique luxury hotel
                                                                         located in the heart of Juhu, reopens its doors to

         Mumbai                                                          guests with enhanced hygiene, cleanliness and
                                                                          safety measures. The hotel is also launching the

         reopens                                                          Happiness Menu, Immunity Booster Drinks
                                                                          Menu, Bartender/ Chef Services at home,
     with unique                                                           Weddings by THE Park – a one-stop destination
                                                                           for intimate wedding experiences backed by the
       offerings                                                           culinary team & the city’s best wedding planners.

                                                                                                    M CEtalk January-February 2021   5
Speed networking - the inbound business magazine work-life balance: uneven ScaleS - Mice Talk
cover story

        Speed networking:
        Maximise contacts
        The concept of speed networking has been used globally by events to ensure that
        attendees utilise their time optimally thereby making new contacts in a short span of time
        Charmaine Fernz

                he quote by Tim        network in any business.     networking’. The very         short span of time to ensure
                Sanders ‘Your          This thought has led many    simple explanation to the     attendees access as many
                network is your        event-based companies        concept as per Wikipedia is   contacts thereby building
        net worth’ is very apt for     to ensure that attendees     a meeting format designed     their network. However,
        truly understanding the        gain maximum mileage         to accelerate business        despite the concept being
        potential of having a strong   from the concept of ‘speed   contacts. This is done in a   in existence for years now,

6   M CEtalk January-February 2021
Speed networking - the inbound business magazine work-life balance: uneven ScaleS - Mice Talk
cover story

we, want to understand                                 events, team building            contact with staff and
the effectiveness of speed                             exercises or internal            suppliers to ensure that a
networking to organisations                            mentoring programmes.”           face is put to a name, thus
and the benefits derived.                                                               building personal networks
                                                       Subsequently, discussing         which are pivotal to future
Explaining the need for                                benefits accrued by speed        business negotiations,
good networking, Ajay                                  networking, Huzan                training and sales.”
Verma, Commercial                                      Fraser Motivala, India
Director – India, CWT                                  Representative, Tourism          The common consensus
Meetings & Events, states,                             Ireland, says, “Speed            among industry players
“People participate in events      Ajay Verma          networking has been quiet        is the fact that speed
for a number of reasons, but                           effective for Tourism            networking ensures
networking is arguably one                             Ireland. At our yearly event,    maximum visibility in a
of the most important. In a                            the India Sales Mission, we      short span of time while
survey conducted by IAEE,
                                   Speed networking    have 15-20 Irish suppliers       also building contacts. As
PCMA, and The Experience           is an activity      in attendance who network        Nandakumar puts it, “These
Institute, three out of every      that enables        with around 100-150              networking sessions help
four respondents stated that
networking was one of
                                   our clients to      Indian travel trade within
                                                       two hours. We also have a
                                                                                        keep meetings quick and
                                                                                        within a stipulated time.
the key reasons for                achieve a strong,   themed dinner wherein            The concept strengthens
attending events.                  measurable          100-150 senior management        the agenda of arranging
                                   return on           & decision makers are            appointments and meeting
The agenda at many                                     invited to network &             people that matter most to
corporate events is typically      investment at       socialise over dinner.           your business, especially
packed with keynotes,              their events                                         with limited time on hand.
presentations and panel                                For years, we have been          An engaging format of
sessions, with networking                              replicating the speed            speed networking helps
opportunities limited to                               networking workshop and          immensely with delegates
coffee and lunch breaks.                               dinner format in two cities,     developing a special rapport
However, in recent years                               which has proved successful.     with participants.”
we’ve observed a trend                                 This gives our Irish suppliers
of event organisers                                    an opportunity to meet           Sharing a similar view,
increasingly allocating more                           and introduce themselves         Motivala states, “Being a
time and dedicated sessions                            to maximum number of             quick meeting set up, this
for attendees to network,                              agents over a short span of      concept has really helped
and speed networking can                               time and has helped them         enhance business as we are
certainly be an effective way                          to generate leads for future     able to establish contacts
to facilitate greater levels of                        business opportunities.”         with a large base over a
interaction and engagement         SD Nandakumar                                        short time. The leads to
among attendees.”                                      Maximum                          maximisation of return
                                                       Visibility                       on investment and turns
The effectiveness                                      It is undoubted that speed       out to be a fruitful visit.
The concept though                 The concept         networking has several           Furthermore, this gives
widely used has witnessed          strengthens         benefits for both the            a platform for our Irish
mixed responses from
different sectors. While
                                   the agenda of       attendees and exhibitors.
                                                       However, the question in
                                                                                        suppliers to connect with
                                                                                        Indian agents for business
some companies are of the          meeting people      point is, has that meeting       follow-ups in future.”
opinion that a few minutes         that matter most    resulted in enhancing
is just right to get our foot in   to your business,   business. Verma shares,          Interestingly, Amit Prasad,
the door, many have actually                           “Speed networking is an          Chief Executive Officer,
seen positive results.             especially with     activity that enables our        Le Passage to India has
                                   limited time        clients to achieve a strong,     a different opinion. In
Sharing his perspective, SD        on hand             measurable return on             his view, “We have not
Nandakumar, President                                  investment at their events.      converted any major
and Country Head, B2B                                  Networking allows both           business yet through this
& Foreign Exchange,                                    informal or scheduled            mode but have made
SOTC Travel, explains,                                                                  potential contacts.”
“For corporates, speed
networking has proven                                                                   The metamorphoses
to be the most efficient
engagement with their
                                   QUICK BYTE Speed networking                          As the adage goes, change
                                                                                        is the only constant, the
business/channel partners          ensures maximum visibility while                     same can be said about
and employees during               also building contacts                               the concept of speed

                                                                                              M CEtalk January-February 2021   7
Speed networking - the inbound business magazine work-life balance: uneven ScaleS - Mice Talk
cover story

         networking. The concept                                                                  ground rules during the
         though kept in its original                                                              session,” adds Verma.
         format has seen several
         different takes, with the                                                                The future
         advancement of technology.                                                               The common consensus
                                                                                                  among industry players
         Explaining how the                                                                       is the fact that speed
         concept has moved ahead                                                                  networking is here to
         with times, Verma says,                                                                  stay, be it in-person or
         “Speed networking over          deals, and sustainable                                   even virtually. However,
         the years has become more       customer loyalty. As Verma                               networking of all kinds is
         efficient and evolved with      shares, “Given today’s                                   pivotal to the success of all
         technology. While in the        technology in this arena,                                events and is invaluable to
         past simple networking          we now have the ability to                               any business.
         drinks might have sufficed,     show clients a true ROI.
         our clients are now looking     For example, how many                                    As Verma asserts,
         to capture their encounters     attendees visited a particular                           “Adding in a networking
         during speed networking         stand during an exhibition.                              component to your next
         via QR codes to ensure          We can even go to the next                               virtual meeting is a must
                                                                          Huzan Fraser Motivala
         longevity of their events in    level in requesting answers                              to ensure attendees stay
         future. This can be done        from attendees such as                                   connected with each other
         as simply as allocating QR      approximate annual spend                                 and engaged with content.
         codes to each event attendee    and company size, which          Being a quick           Virtual networking sessions
         as part of their registration   all add to solid quantitative                            can be very entertaining if
         process, which in turn          data. This information is
                                                                          meeting set up,         managed correctly – think
         enables those speaking to       also vital during follow-up.”    we are able to          gamification, attendee
         each other to share contact                                      establish contacts      avatars, care packages sent
         details via a simple swipe of   Giving a very logical                                    to attendee’s homes – the
         a mobile phone over a QR.”      reasoning to the concept,
                                                                          with a large base       opportunities are endless.”
                                         Prasad explains that             over a short time
         Nandakumar shares his           companies benefit by                                     Providing a more realistic
         perspective on how speed        making initial contacts                                  point of view, Prasad says,
         networking has gained           while also forcing some                                  “We would look at the
         popularity across a variety     buyers to meet new sellers.                              concept to be more fine-
         of industries as a popular      However, the challenge is                                tuned to meet buyers from
         network format. He              the limited amount of time                               specific countries. There
         explains, “Many conferences     to understand the needs of                               should be options to further
         over the years have adopted     buyers & sellers & to judge                              schedule follow-up meetings
         innovative structures with      the potential of buyers.                                 where needed.”
         introduction on sector-
         specific speed networking       While the benefits are                                   Reiterating similar
         sessions to establish           immense for companies,                                   sentiments, Nandakumar
         business relationships and      speed networking certainly                               adds that the concept is
                                                                          Amit Prasad
         expand opportunities for        comes with its own set of                                getting popular since the
         attendees to negotiate, share   challenges such as attendee                              last five to seven years and
         knowledge and conclude          management which is                                      more corporates are making
         relevant business deals.”       crucial in any speed             We have not             these sessions an integral
                                         networking session and very      converted any           part of their events as the
         Benefits vs                     often a big challenge. “It’s                             fast-paced format gives
         challenges                      an art to help manoeuvre
                                                                          major business          wider reach as well as
         The evolution of the concept    these sessions, and as an        yet through this        makes sessions more
         has also simultaneously         organiser you have to keep       mode but have           result-oriented.
         seen increased benefits
         to both attendees and
                                         a constant tab by first giving
                                         an introduction to set the
                                                                          made potential          Undoubtedly, speed
                                                                                                  networking is a concept that
         companies alike. However,       agenda, and then continue        contacts                is here to stay, what could
         speed networking works          reminding attendees of                                   change is how the sessions
         as an invaluable and low                                                                 are conducted in times of
         cost way to expand an                                                                    uncertainty such as the
         organisation’s connections                                                               ongoing pandemic. In such
         and explore new business
         opportunities. However, a
                                         QUICK BYTE The fast-paced format                         secnarios, hybrid events

         lot more effort is required     gives wider reach as well as makes                       look most likely with a
                                                                                                  combination of physical and
         for cooperation, business       sessions more result-oriented                            virtual meetings.mn

8   M CEtalk January-February 2021
Speed networking - the inbound business magazine work-life balance: uneven ScaleS - Mice Talk

Smaller boutique
properties will be
in demand where
you can exclusively
have only your
guests staying in.
This ‘exclusivity’ will
continue through
2021, says Harsh
Agarwal, Founder,
Smita Kulshreshth

Smaller and leaner
How is the destination                              their homes to enjoy while     family and close friends.
weddings industry faring?                           being a part of the function   Welcome and invite
While the last couple                               virtually. Receptions          kits are becoming more
of months have been                                 have shifted from having       personalised and more
promising, it is still not                          buffets to having sit down     expensive. Couples want to
back to the 2019 level of                           7-course gala dinners. At      express their gratitude to
extravaganza. However,                              Home Receptions (AHRs)         their friends for attending
more people are opting                              will now happen possibly       the wedding, and this
for destination weddings                            months after a wedding to      is a trend we don’t see
compared to last year.                              introduce the new family       going away. Also, guests
Weddings that would          Harsh Agarwal          member to the family.          will look for a reason to
otherwise happen outside                            Outdoor functions will be      travel. Flight charters have
India will now happen                               preferred, so properties       seen an uptick. We have
within the country.                                 with more outdoor venues
Unexplored destinations
                             We plan to expand      will be popular. Smaller
                                                                                   partnered with various
                                                                                   international airlines to
have come up to host the     our presence by        boutique properties            obtain preferential pricing
big fat Indian weddings      setting up offices     (resorts or palaces) will      for our guests.
that are now smaller and     in Jaipur and Goa      be in demand where you
leaner. Khimsar, Arambol,                           can exclusively have only      What are your plans for
Kumarakom, Hampi,            to cater to the rise   your guests staying in. This   this year?
Mashobra and Khajuraho       in demand for          ‘exclusivity’ will continue    We plan to expand our
have gained traction.        destination events     through 2021 and people        presence by setting up
‘Intimate celebrations’ is                          will prefer inviting only      permanent offices in Jaipur
the buzz phrase.                                                                   and Goa to cater to the rise
                                                                                   in demand for destination
What trends do you see                                                             events. We also plan to
for destination weddings?    QUICK BYTE Khimsar, Arambol,                          promote more sustainable
Weddings have gone online,
so guests are receiving      Kumarakom, Hampi, Mashobra &                          weddings owing to several
                                                                                   lessons that were learnt in
packed hot food boxes into   Khajuraho have gained traction                        the year 2020.

                                                                                         M CEtalk January-February 2021   9
Speed networking - the inbound business magazine work-life balance: uneven ScaleS - Mice Talk

       Work-life balance:
       Uneven scales of time
        COVID-19 has changed the whole concept of ‘work-life balance’. The scales of balance
        have been skewed owing to work from home being enforced, rather than an option.
        Charmaine Fernz

                                                            he year 2020 was a       work life after COVID-19’
                                                            year of surprises and    which states that before the
                                                            drastic changes…         pandemic, the conventional
                                                   certainly not in the positive     wisdom had been that offices
                                                   way for a majority of the         were critical to productivity,
                                                   human race. Many concepts         culture, and winning the
                                                   that were gaining ground          war for talent. Companies
                                                   have to be revisited with         competed intensely for prime
                                                   a new focus. One of the           office space in major urban
                                                   many pertinent issues most        centres around the world, and
                                                   corporates focussed on over       many focused on solutions
                                                   the past several years was        that were seen to promote
                                                   employees attaining the right     collaboration. Densification,
                                                   ‘work-life balance’ and thereby   open-office designs, hoteling,
                                                   enhancing productivity.           and co-working were the
                                                   However, the concept was          battle cries.
                                                   completely shaken and
                                                   stirred with the onslaught        According to McKinsey
                                                   of the pandemic. The global       research, 80 per cent of
                                                   lockdown forced companies         people questioned report
                                                   to adopt the work from home       that they enjoy working from
                                                   concept and make the best use     home. Of the respondents,
                                                   of it with technology.            41 per cent said that they are
                                                                                     more productive than they
                                                   As Deepa Chadha, SVP-HR           had been before and 28 per
                                                   & Corporate Affairs, Vistara,     cent said that they are as
                                                   explains, “An ideal work-life     productive. Many employees
                                                   balance is about creating an      liberated from long commutes
                                                   opportunity to become one’s       and travel have found more
                                                   ideal self, both professionally   productive ways to spend
                                                   and personally. With the          that time and enjoy greater
                                                   professional environment          flexibility. Many organisations
                                                   becoming increasingly             think they can access new
                                                   demanding and competitive,        pools of talent with fewer
                                                   especially in the aviation        locational constraints, adopt
                                                   industry, it is important to      innovative processes to
                                                   consciously work towards          boost productivity, create an
                                                   maintaining a healthy balance.”   even stronger culture, and
                                                                                     significantly reduce real
                                                   Pandemic = Change                 estate costs. While many a
                                                   Going by a report by McKinsey     company, witnessed both
                                                   on ‘Reimagining the office and    the benefits and challenges,

                                                   QUICK BYTE Research by McKinsey
                                                   reveals that 80% respondents
                                                   enjoyed working from home

10   M CEtalk January-February 2021
the work from home
concept certainly put up
a humongous task for
HR professionals. Mona
Cheriyan, President and
Group Head, Human
Resources, Thomas Cook
(India) explains her
perspective saying, “The
change in work culture due
to the pandemic is not only     Neerja Bhatia
affecting employees but
also poses a challenge for
the human resources team.
While we at the TCIL always
                                There has been
had a work from home            an increased focus
policy, we never anticipated    on managing
it to be implemented on
such a large scale and for
                                teams virtually
such a long duration.

The Human Resources
team at Thomas Cook
has been at the heart of
managing employees and
helping them cope with the
changes in work life during
the pandemic. With the
expectation of the vaccine
and opening of borders, our
business is now on the cusp
of recovery and the role of     Deepa Chadha
HR is becoming even
more important.”
                                                     QUICK BYTE We have learnt to
The adaptation                  It is vital to       respond quickly, with the situation
The new change though           work towards         evolving at such a rapid pace
welcomed by many had a
mixed bag of compliments.       maintaining a        a rapid pace. Navigating          work or in your personal
While many employees            healthy balance      through uncertainty has           life, leading a disciplined life
were of the opinion that                             surely seemed challenging,        is the only way to achieve
workload had most certainly                          but in retrospect, has been       balance. It becomes all
increased; many were of the                          a great opportunity to            the more important in the
view that family time was                            innovate and adapt in more        work from home scenario
more productive thereby                              ways than one.”                   where your home and office
resulting in enhanced                                                                  mean the same space. Some
work productivity. Neerja                            Sharing a different point         important aspects to keep
Bhatia, Etihad Airways’                              of view, Chadha explains,         in mind are maintaining
Vice President, Indian                               “Among many other things,         a structured routine and
Subcontinent gives us her                            the pandemic has brought          following it diligently.”
opinion stating that, “It has                        to the forefront, the concept
been about managing time                             of work from home which           Making the most
effectively – being able to                          offers a good opportunity to      of opportunity
                                Mona Cheriyan                                          Technology was king
efficiently perform at work                          maintain a healthy balance
while still having time and                          between professional and          literally during the
energy to unwind. There has                          personal responsibilities.        lockdown. The work
been an increased focus on      The change in        Having said that, for             from home atmosphere
managing teams virtually,                            organisations in the service      made companies adopt
ensuring they remain driven     work culture         industry, it is not possible to   to practically every
without burning out. We         poses a challenge    completely shift to remote        technological advancement
have learnt to be agile and     for the HR team      working especially for the        in order to keep businesses
respond quickly, with the                            frontline / operations staff.     sustainable and profitable.
situation evolving at such                           Moving ahead whether at           Chadha asserts this

                                                                                            M CEtalk January-February 2021   11

                                                                                           new normal of working
                                                                                           from home, we connect
                                                                                           virtually every morning and
                                                                                           remain connected despite
                                                                                           working remotely.”

                                                                                           Cheriyan further
                                                                                           asserts, “At TCIL, we
                                                                                           have re-established our
                                                                                           organisational culture to
                                                                                           adopt more flexible working
                                                                                           arrangements. We believe,
                                                                                           there will be a major shift
                                                                                           towards hybrid working
                                                                                           models that capitalise on
                                                                                           benefits of both remote
                                                                                           and office working. The
                                                                                           face-to-face interaction will
                                                                                           now be through increased
                                                                                           technology interfaces like
                                                                                           MS Teams rather than
                                                                                           physical meetings.
        view saying, “With the
        shift of workplace from
        physical office spaces
                                         QUICK BYTE Face-to-face                           Cost management has been
                                                                                           a business imperative. As
        to employees’ homes,             interaction will now be through                   our industry has been one
        companies are continuously       increased technology interfaces                   of the worst hit by this
        strengthening their                                                                pandemic, we have been
        technology infrastructure        accelerated shift towards                         forced to take measures to
        to enable seamless virtual       a new, digital economy.                           cut costs by temporarily
        collaboration for an efficient   We invested and continue                          deferring or reducing
        workflow. Another aspect         to invest in equipping our                        employee compensation
        which has proved to be a         employees with new skills                         and benefits. This has also
        key driver of growth has         and helping them to deal                          opened the discussion
        been organisational culture.     with the ‘new normal’. In                         around rethinking employee
        At Vistara, the performance-     addition to learning skills                       rewards and benefits in the
        driven culture has kept the      related to their roles, we                        long-term.
        entire workforce focused on      developed competencies in
        the business objectives.”        our employees to take on                          The move to a hybrid
                                         new challenges.”                                  working model has
        Reiterating a similar                                                              also opened up the
        viewpoint, Bhatia explains,      The next step                                     organisations’ talent pool
        “Over the past year, we had      Opportunity in adversity                          considerably. It now aids us
        run comprehensive risk           is the best way to lay out                        in hiring talent not limited
        assessments to strategise        how the New Year emerges,                         by physical location. We
        and plan better, whether         and business continues to                         now have a more flexible
        it was about identifying         sustain profits. Two key                          structure to accommodate
        opportunities for training,      factors that take precedence                      agile working and can
        extending support or             is health and business                            hire from all geographies.”
        introducing special policies.    growth. As Bhatia explains,                       Finally, concluding on
        For instance, the advisory       “It is important to prioritise                    some innovative strategies
        role played by our HR teams      one’s health and wellness. I                      adopted, Chadha states that
        has grown exponentially          have believed in the concept     The move to a    consistent communication
        as they have extended            of personal enhancement                           & engagement with
        maximum support to               and well-being. In order to      hybrid working   employees are crucial to
        navigate this new normal.”       strike that right balance,       model has        Vistara. Several campaigns
                                         it is important to take          opened up the    launched in the past year
        Taking on a different path,      care of one’s own physical,                       aimed at establishing a
        Cheriyan says, “For us at        emotional and mental             organisations’   sense of belonging among
        TCIL, the need of the hour       health. Subsequently,            talent pool      employees, boosting staff
        is to develop adaptability       companies should focus           considerably     morale and reassuring them
        and resilience in our            on frequent and timely                            while fostering engagement
        workforce as we make an          communication. With the                           and collaboration.

12   M CEtalk January-February 2021
guest column

M CE to revive soon
Sandeep Dwivedi, Chief Operating Officer, InterGlobe Technology Quotient (ITQ),
shares his views on the increasing consumer sentiment to restart travel

        he first few weeks of   days as a deeply personal        time and need for enhanced
        2021 have renewed       phenomena, giving direction      safety. Snowfall in major
        our hopes for a         to a new race of thoughtful      northern attractions is also
recovery, especially with       customer experiences and         adding to the traction in
the news of vaccines in the     unconventional partnerships      domestic air traffic.
world’s major economies.        within and outside industry.
Industry has been staying       Adopting this approach           An interesting trend is
rather optimistic and           with regards to evolving         picking pace under the
estimates a full domestic       customer sentiment in the        name of ‘revenge travel’ and
recovery of 2019 level by       business travel and M!CE         is likely to grow in 2021,
2021, provided substantial      categories, travel businesses    considering limited travel
risk mitigation, consumer       can reset momentum and           opportunities presented
acceptability and aviation      restore traction in the          by the year that passed by.
adaptability ensue.             new normal.                      With over 50% of India’s             Sandeep Dwivedi

In the last quarter of 2020,
as consumer sentiment
revived, we saw two
positive outcomes: first
was improved confidence
in air travel and second,
an increased allocation for
flights by aviation ministry.
It is only fair to say that
a further increase of up
to 10% by February 2021
is expected, provided the
number of air passengers
rise in these initial weeks,
number of cases detected
on-board decline, and safety
is elevated with successful
vaccination of frontline
aviation personnel.

Although business and           QUICK BYTE M!CE travel has
M!CE travel has largely         largely declined, but recovery is
declined since the outset
of the pandemic, leading
                                expected soon via hybrid events
to digital management
of organisational tasks         It has been witnessed            population under 25 years of
and reduced brick-              that leisure domestic            age and over 65% below 35,
and-mortar events, a            travel is slowly picking         travel, including air travel,
recovery is expected soon
through hybrid events.
                                up considering most
                                international routes,
                                                                 appears to be one sector
                                                                 likely to recover sooner
                                                                                                 The trend seems
The sentiment metre             including the ones in            in the country than its         to shift towards
in current year points          high demand earlier, are         counterparts abroad.            air travel with
towards growing interest in     off limits. Domestically,                                        the affluence,
extending knowledge base,       travelling by road appears to    (The article has been written
networking and exchanging       be the preferred mode for        by Sandeep Dwivedi, COO,        limitations on
information in-person.          most leisure travellers. The     InterGlobe Technology           time, distance &
In this case, businesses        trend seems to shift towards     Quotient. The views             need for safety
can learn from the way          air travel with the affluence,   expressed are the author’s
travel has evolved these        distance, limitations on         personal views.)

                                                                                                   M CEtalk January-February 2021   13

       Packaging Kevadia
        Kevadia in Gujarat now has given fillip to the state’s tourism potential, and has
        everything to offer from a jungle safari and river rafting to M!CE venues
        Hazel Jain

                      hen Prime            He adds that the Statue of                               With the new trains – that
                      Minister Modi        Unity has by itself become a                             are existing routes extended
                      stayed a night       great destination for tourism.                           to Kevadia – Vaghela says
        in Kevadia recently and            The seaplane launched on                                 that it has become easy to
        tweeted about it saying it’s ‘a    October 31 added another                                 create itineraries for
        must visit’, it was evident that   feather to Kevadia’s cap.                                all budgets.
        this destination was about
        to become the next big thing       “Believe me, there are                                   “Those who can’t afford a
        India had to offer. While          so many activities added                                 car or a flight can now use
        there, the PM inaugurated          around the Statue of Unity                               the trains. Everybody can
        various development works,         that it is now a minimum         Randhir Singh Vaghela   visit Kevadia now. It has
        including facilities for jetty     two-night destination and                                given a 100 per cent boost
        and boating.                       we are hoping that it will                               to tourism. All the new
                                           soon become one of the                                   activities are on right now
        He also launched eight train       global destinations that every
                                                                            There are so many       while observing all health
        routes connecting Kevadia to       tourist would like to visit,”    activities added        and safety protocols. There is
        other parts of India, via          Vaghela adds.                    around the Statue       a jungle safari, river rafting,
                                           Kevadia is also registered
                                                                            of Unity that it is     an auditorium for M!CE
                                                                                                    and events, plus two hotels
        Sharing his view on how            as the country’s first green     now a minimum           and two Tent Cities for
        Kevadia has managed to             railhead with a green            two-night               accommodation,”
        package a complete tourism         building certification.          destination             he shares.
        product, Randhir Singh
        Vaghela, IATO Chairman                                                                      Vaghela, along with other
        (Gujarat Chapter), says,                                                                    travel agents, was invited
        “With the eight train routes                                                                by Gujarat Tourism to visit
        connecting Statue of Unity to                                                               the Statue of Unity for a
        the rest of the country, it has                                                             familiarisation tour and
        made it so easy to package it                                                               experience of the activities
        and create itineraries around                                                               in September 2020. “We
        this destination.                                                                           have already sold a lot of
                                                                                                    packages. I feel Kevadia
        Of special mention is the                                                                    can be a great tourism
        Vistadome coach on Jan                                                                       destination not just for
        Shatabdi that connects                                                                       Gujarat and the rest of
        Kevadia to Ahmedabad. It           QUICK BYTE There is an auditorium                         India but worldwide, as our
        is a truly unique experience
        and also has very                  for M!CE and events, plus two                             PM is the biggest tourism
                                                                                                     ambassador for us,”
        convenient timings.”               hotels and two Tent Cities                                Vaghela adds.

14   M CEtalk January-February 2021

   movements in India           Chalet Hotels has promoted                                         The Leela Palaces, Hotels and Resorts
                                Rajneesh Malhotra to Chief                                         has appointed Chandrashekhar Joshi as
                                Operating Officer. Malhotra has                                    the General Manager of The Leela Palace
                                been instrumental in driving                                       Jaipur. In his new role, Joshi will launch
                                operational strategies for the                                     the soon to open 200 room Palace, a
                                company in his previous position                                   reflection of modern palatial grandeur,
                                of Vice President – Operations                                     inspired by the Rajputana heritage. He
                                & Asset Management. Having                                         will be instrumental in introducing The
                                joined the company in April 2019                                   Leela Palace Programming and signature
                                and with over 25 years in hotel                                    Palace Service to the Pink City. With
                                operations, Malhotra will focus                                    over 20 years of experience, Joshi has
       Rajneesh Malhotra        on driving operational excellence        Chandrashekhar Joshi      worked with Le Meridien Pune, JW
    Chief Operating Officer     continuing to report into Sanjay               General Manager     Marriott Juhu Mumbai, Renaissance Bali
    Chalet Hotels, Mumbai       Sethi, MD & CEO of Chalet Hotels.        The Leela Palace Jaipur   Uluwatu Resort & Spa, to name a few.

                                Sheraton Grand Chennai Resort                                      Hyatt Regency Pune & Residences
                                & Spa has appointed Shiv Bose                                      has appointed Thomas Abraham as
                                as the General Manager of the                                      General Manager, in addition to his
                                property. He has almost two                                        role of AVP for Hyatt Hotels, Central
                                decades of illustrious experience in                               India. Abraham brings 27 years of
                                the hospitality industry. In his new                               experience in the hospitality industry
                                role, Bose will be spearheading                                    and has spent over 13 of those years
                                the team and developing the                                        with Hyatt. He moves to Hyatt
                                hotel’s operations to deliver stellar                              Regency Pune from the iconic Park
                                service standards. Prior to joining                                Hyatt Hyderabad. Abraham will focus
                                Sheraton Grand Chennai Resort                                      on strengthening the operational
                 Shiv Bose      & Spa, Bose was the General                  Thomas Abraham        strategies of the hotel, while
       GM, Sheraton Grand       Manager at Courtyard by Marriott        GM, Hyatt Regency Pune     overseeing all nine Hyatt properties in
      Chennai Resort & Spa      Bengaluru Hebbal.                                  & Residences    Central India.

                                Marriott International has                                         Sayaji Hotels Pune has appointed
                                appointed Deep Preet Bindra,                                       Ajay Kanojia as their General
                                as the General Manager for                                         Manager. An industry veteran
                                Courtyard by Marriott, Ahmedabad                                   with almost 15 years, Kanojia has
                                (Ramdevnagar). With his rich and                                   experience in the luxury and upscale
                                diverse experience spanning over                                   hotel segment. In his new role, he
                                17 years in the hospitality and                                    will be responsible for delivering
                                services sector, Bindra will lead the                              high levels of customer service and
                                team at the hotel to strengthen its                                successful positioning of the hotel.
                                position in the value-driven market                                Kanojia will also be responsible for
                                of Ahmedabad. Bindra has worked                                    curating strategic initiatives that will
        Deep Preet Bindra       with JW Marriott at Aerocity in                   Ajay Kanojia     lead the hotel to continue its guest-
         GM, Courtyard by       New Delhi and Marriott Whitefield              General Manager     focused approach and consolidate its
      Marriott, Ahmedabad       in Bengaluru.                                Sayaji Hotels Pune    leadership position.

                                Kiran Challoju has been appointed                                  Fairmont Jaipur has announced the
                                as the Portfolio Director of Sales                                 promotion of Amit Sangwan from
                                & Marketing for a portfolio of 10                                  Director of Food & Beverage to
                                Holiday Inn Express hotels under                                   Director of Operations, with all four
                                the SAMHI ownership effective                                      verticals of Food & Beverage, Culinary,
                                Nov 23, 2020. Challoju comes                                       Front Office and Housekeeping
                                with around 17 years of rich                                       reporting directly to him; he will
                                experience in spearheading Sales                                   also be responsible to maintain and
                                and Marketing operations with                                      enhance guest satisfaction. Prior to
                                expertise in luxury, mid-scale                                     joining Fairmont Jaipur in August
                                and value segments of the hotel                                    2019 as Director of F&B, Sangwan was
            Kiran Challoju      industry. He has worked with                    Amit Sangwan       previously associated with renowned
Portfolio Director of Sales &   well established brands like IHCL,        Director of Operations   hotels like Pullman, Novotel and Leela
                   Marketing    Oberoi Hotels and Resorts and                    Fairmont Jaipur   amongst others. He has won various
         Holiday Inn Express    ITC Hotels.                                                        accolades from the industry.

                                                                                                                  M CEtalk January-February 2021   15
RNI No.:DELENG/2010/34144 ` 20

the outbound business magazine

                                                                     A DDP Publication
                                  Volume XII Issue 1 January-February 2021 16 pages

                                                        M CEtalk January-February 2021   1
2   M CEtalk January-February 2021
contents                                                            Spring 2021

'Festival Economy' policy

                             6                                 8

events                            inTerview
FITUR 2021 for recovery of        New start for exhibitions

                             10                                12
                                                                        counsellor      13
                                                                        Shivani Misri
                                                                        Sadhoo talks about
                                                                        how the event based
                                                                        industry is changing
                                                                        at a quick pace
nto                               interview
Fiesta Filipinas launched         ‘India, a priority market’

                                                                      M CEtalk January-February 2021   3
international news

                                                                                      Oman Air will operate five weekly
                                                                                 flights to Dubai. The airlines will
                                                                  maintain its comprehensive safety programme
                                                                     throughout all elements of the travel journey.

                                                                                                    We are excited
                                                                                                    to introduce
                                                                                                    the Hyatt
                                                                                                    Regency brand
       SingapoReimagine MICE Virtual                                                                to Cambodia.
       Show on March 3-4, 2021
                                                                                                    We look forward
       The two-day tradeshow will connect with up to 40                                             to welcoming
       leading suppliers including convention centres, hotels,                                      business and
       unique meeting venues, DMCs and tour operators
       in Singapore. It will bring updates on Singapore's                                           leisure guests to
       progress towards the resumption of business events,                                          an energising
       showcase new & reimagined M!CE experiences and
       conduct virtual tours & culinary masterclasses.
                                                                                                    new space

                                                                  Israel to focus on leisure & M!CE
                                                                  Israel's Ministry of Tourism, as part of its wider promotional
                                                                  activities in the UAE, is all set to participate at the Arabian
                                                                  Travel Mart and Expo Dubai in 2021. The strategy is to focus
                                                                  Israel as a leisure and a M!CE destination through various B2B
                                                                  and B2C activities. The UAE and Israel signed a mutual visa
                                                                  waiver agreement following the normalisation of ties between
                                                                  the two countries, enabling travellers to obtain visas on arrival.

      IMEX 2021 in Frankfurt cancelled
      IMEX 2021, due to take place at Messe Frankfurt from
      May 25-27, has been cancelled. IMEX in Frankfurt is a
      hugely global event – exhibitors and buyers represent
      150+ countries. Though the IMEX team believes that
      a resurgence will come, sadly it will not happen in time
      for them to deliver a strong and successful event in May.
      The event will be held on April 26-28, 2022.

                                                                              Emirates Airlines announced that flights to Saudi
                                                                              Arabia, Oman and Kuwait have resumed. Emirates

             resumes                                                          flights to and from Dammam, Jeddah and Riyadh
                                                                               have begun. All customers, excluding Saudi

            flights to                                                         nationals, who hold a ticket to the Kingdom of
                                                                               Saudi Arabia and have visited Argentina, Brazil,
         Saudi, Oman                                                           India, South Africa or United Kingdom within the
                                                                                last 14 days will not be accepted for travel at their
          and Kuwait                                                            point of origin.

4   M CEtalk January-February 2021

‘Festival Economy’ policy
The goals of the ‘Festival Economy’ policy are to enhance the destination city’s reputation
& contribute to sustainable development, says Nichapa Yoswee, Senior VP–Business, TCEB
MT Bureau

        hailand Convention                         states, "The partnership         festival owners to overcome
        & Exhibition                               and collaboration between        the challenges posed by
        Bureau (TCEB)                              these associations and city      COVID-19. ‘Thailand
has launched a ‘Festival                           governments are the key          Event Line Up’ is a broad-
Economy’ policy to nurture                         that will result in ‘One City,   based subsidy scheme for
partnerships between                               One Licensed Event’– the         festival organisations. New
professional festival                              idea that each city has a        or existing festivals which
associations and local city                        distinctive signature festival   are able to create business,
governments to co-create                           that can be promoted and         social, and environmental
new festivals with lasting                         recognised internationally –     impacts are eligible.
economic, social and           Nichapa Yoswee      within five years.
environmental impacts.                                                              ‘N2N (New to Normal)
                                                   The goals of the ‘Festival       Tech Savvy’ supports
At the launch on December                          Economy’ policy are to           festival owners in acquiring
1, 2020 in Bangkok, TCEB                           energise the destination         technology and innovation
put this policy into action    Each city has       city’s economy, to enhance       that will help to manage
by signing a MoU with                              the city’s reputation, and       their festivals more
Phetchaburi province,
                               a distinctive       contribute to the sustainable    efficiently. TCEB also offers
Ratchaprasong Square Trade     signature           development of the city."        MICE Innovation Catalog
Association (RSTA) and         festival that can                                    which contains lists of the
Thai International Events &
Festivals Trade Association
                               be promoted         In tandem with the launch
                                                   of ‘Festival Economy’,
                                                                                    technologies available to
                                                                                    be selected.
(TIEFA) to jointly work on     and recognised      TCEB has also unveiled a
projects under the ‘Festival   internationally     campaign named ‘Thailand         ‘International Mega Event
Economy’ policy. Nichapa                           Power Up’ aiming to              and Market Penetration’
Yoswee, TCEB Senior                                empower festival owners in       is for festival owners who
Vice President – Business,                         order to enhance festivals in    are looking to launch
                                                   Thailand and to maintain         festivals in Thailand which
                                                   international fan base           must include plans for
                                                   engagement by utilising          development, adaptation,
quick byte ‘Thailand Power Up’                     technology and an online         international promotion,
aims to empower festival owners                    platform. More importantly,
                                                   this campaign offers three
                                                                                    and the rationale of
                                                                                    selecting Thailand as the
in order to enhance festivals                      packages that will help all      host country.

                                                                                           M CEtalk January-February 2021   5

        FITUR 2021
        for recovery of tourism
        IFEMA is focusing all its effort on presenting an edition aimed at contributing to the
        revival of tourism at a time when FITUR's role as a driving engine is critical and decisive
        MT Bureau

                 he 41st edition of      destinations and provide a     to focus on optimising         Latin American market.
                 the International       much-needed boost to the       its rallying power, in         Each edition brings together
                 Tourism Fair, FITUR     worldwide tourism activity.    addition to enriching its      over 11,000 companies from
         2021, will be held from May                                    specialised content and new    165 countries, as well as
         19-23 at Feria de Madrid.       Relaunching                    business niches, as well as    official representatives from
         This comes after a meditated    tourism activity               promoting knowledge areas      a large number of nations
         decision that, exceptionally,   For its part, IFEMA is         that contribute towards        from around the world. It
         makes this event essential      focusing all its effort on     relaunching both the           is also Spain's major event
         to the recovery of the          presenting an edition          national and international     for the tourism business,
         tourism industry, at a time     aimed at contributing to       tourism activity, as one of    with over 250,000 attendees
         that will still preserve its    the recovery of tourism at a   the world's main growth        from around the world, as
         high international impact       time when FITUR's role as      engines and especially for     well as for innovation and
         and thus, promote the           a driving engine is critical   Spain, where tourism is the    promotion of new tourism
         professional reunion of         and decisive. Therefore,       main sector, both in terms     segments, technological
         companies, countries and        it is especially important     of GDP and employment.         leadership in tourism
                                                                                                       management and a tool for
                                                                        FITUR has the unanimous        knowledge transfer.
                                                                        support from Spain’s
        quick byte Each edition of FITUR                                tourism industry and it is     FITUR's high level of
        brings together over 11,000                                     currently the world's second
                                                                        major trade fair, and first
                                                                                                       representation is also
                                                                                                       acknowledged by the
        companies from 165 countries                                    regarding its impact on the    support from the World

6   M CEtalk January-February 2021

                                                                                   on the General State Budget
                                                                                   for 2021. Along with the
                                                                                   support that accompanies
                                                                                   this government
                                                                                   recognition, the AEIP award
                                                                                   will further strengthen
                                                                                   FITUR’s efforts to encourage
                                                                                   and promote market
                                                                                   recovery, and boost and
                                                                                   revitalise Spain’s tourism
                                                                                   image. This legal status will
                                                                                   enable FITUR to promote
                                                                                   private sector participation
                                                                                   in a critical edition for the
                                                                                   national tourism industry.
                                                                                   It will also help strengthen
                                                                                   public-private cooperation
                                                                                   links, bringing companies
                                                                                   together to support this goal
                                                                                   that has already produced
                                                                                   such brilliant results in
                                                                                   other areas of the economy.

                                                                                   Tourism Recovery
                                                                                   Special Edition
                                                                                   IFEMA is working on
                                                                                   the contents of FITUR
                                                                                   Especial Recuperación
                                                                                   Turismo (FITUR Tourism
                                                                                   Recovery Special Edition).
                                                                                   This edition will focus
                                                                                   on the need to revitalise
                                                                                   Spain’s leading industry
                                                                                   to enhance its leadership
                                                                                   position, management
                                                                                   capacity, strength as
                                                                                   one of the foundations
                                                                                   of the economy, and its
Tourism Organisation                                designation is an important    intelligence for innovation
UNWTO, with the head                                gesture of institutional       and sustainability. In this
office in Madrid; a bond                            support for IFEMA and          context, it is important to
that is also embodied in
                               Even though          its International Tourism      emphasise how, over its
the Governing Board of         the 41st edition     Fair and acknowledges its      40-year history, FITUR has
Affiliate Members of the       is still a few       work to encourage business     grown and consolidated
UNWTO which is currently
chaired by IFEMA/FITUR.
                               months away, it      development and recovery
                                                    in the tourism sector.
                                                                                   its position as one of the
                                                                                   most effective tools for
Its annual event entails       already has strong                                  promoting, developing,
an economic impact of          institutional &      The award of ‘Event of         innovating and boosting the
€330 million, with the         business backing     Exceptional Public Interest’   tourism industry in Spain.
ensuing direct outcome                              (AEIP) has been included in
on the recovery of tourism                          this year’s National Budget.   Last year was an extremely
activities and boosting of                          The award became effective     complex one for the tourism
the sectors linked                                  on January 1, 2021 and         industry, and FITUR
to tourism.                                         lasts for three years, until   Tourism Recovery Special
                                                    December 31, 2023. It will     Edition will therefore be
‘Event of Exceptional                               provide special support        an opportunity to join
Public Interest’                                    over three years and further   forces behind the shared
The Spanish Government                              encourage the revitalisation   goal of reviving tourism in
has declared FITUR an                               of Spain's tourism industry    Spain. Even though the 41st
‘Event of Exceptional                               and its image as a tourist     edition is still a few months
Public Interest’ for its                            destination. The budget        away, it already has strong
contribution to the recovery                        was published in Law           institutional as well as
of tourism in Spain. This                           11/2020, of December 30,       business backing.

                                                                                          M CEtalk January-February 2021   7
        TravelRevive hybrid
        event gave us a
        glimpse of how
        M!CE events will
        look like in a
        post-COVID world.
        Andrew Phua,
        Executive Director
        (Exhibitions &
        Conferences), STB
        shares more details.
        Hazel Jain

        New start for exhibitions
                                     Has Singapore started          trial events with up to
                                     conducting physical M!CE       250 attendees.                  Are there any
                                     events since it opened                                         international events
                                     officially to events?          Tell us more about this         coming to Singapore
                                     Singapore has made steady      pilot hybrid event.             in 2021?
                                     progress in the resumption     TravelRevive was Asia-          TravelRevive reinforced
                                     of business events under       Pacific’s first international   Singapore’s position as a
                                     STB’s Safe Business Event      travel tradeshow to take        top marketplace of ideas
                       Andrew Phua   Framework (SBE), which         place physically during         in the Asia Pacific and as a
                                     requires event organisers      COVID-19 on November            safe and trusted Global-Asia
                                     to implement Safe              25-26, 2020. Powered by         node for M!CE and business.
                                     Management Measures to         ITB Asia and the Singapore      Its successful execution
                                     meet a set of health and       Tourism Board, the event        has demonstrated how the
                                     safety outcomes. In July       attracted close to 1,000        tradeshow experience can
                                     2020, STB started accepting    attendees onsite, of which      be made safe yet fruitful for
                                     applications for business      65 were foreign delegates       attendees – with the degree
                                     events with a capacity of      from over 14 countries          of interaction that they were
                                     up to 50 physical attendees.   in Asia, Middle East and        used to before COVID-19.
                                     Building upon the successful   Europe. With 36 exhibiting      At TravelRevive, two
                                     trial of this framework in a   companies, TravelRevive         MoUs were also inked
                                     pilot hybrid event in August   had close to 600 scheduled      to anchor the ASEAN
                                     2020, further relaxation was   buyer/seller meeting            Regional Headquarters
                                     announced in September to      appointments on site.           of new entrants – Messe
                                                                                                    Munich and Fiera Milano,
                                                                                                    signifying their confidence
                                                                                                    in Singapore as a regional
                                     quick byTe TravelRevive reinforced                             M!CE hub. In addition,
                                     Singapore’s position as a safe                                 the Infocomm Media
                                                                                                    Development Authority
                                     Global-Asia node for M!CE                                      and STB signed a one-

8   M CEtalk January-February 2021
year MoU with B2B event            for securing groups to
organiser Informa Tech to          Singapore. These schemes
launch a new international         are being reviewed
technology event in                regularly. In fact, we have
Singapore slated for the           just made enhancements
second half of 2021.               to the schemes in light of
                                   the COVID-19 situation
Are there any new                  to ensure that they are
incentives for M!CE                able to meet the changing
groups from India?                 needs of the corporates,
India is one of the key            M!CE agents and event
sources of business traffic to     planners and to keep
Singapore, particularly for        Singapore competitive
the M!CE segment. There            as a top-of-mind M!CE
are four programmes which          destination for the
are customised to meet the         Indian market.
needs of corporates, events
planners and the delegates,      What learnings do
for different group sizes.       destinations, event                                   deliver new value. It has
These schemes are catered        planners & convention                                 been observed that various
specifically to help them        centres take away from          COVID-19 has          alternative meeting formats
to plan better and pitch         the past year?                  pushed the fast-      that allow people to meet
more confidently should
Singapore be a destination
                                 The industry is currently
                                 experiencing an accelerated
                                                                 forward button &      and interact remotely have
                                                                                       emerged. COVID-19 has
of choice.                       digital transformation, and     accelerated digital   certainly pushed the
                                 traditional event set-ups       transformation        fast-forward button
One point to note is that        may no longer serve the         and adoption          and accelerated digital
these support schemes are        needs of event planners                               transformation and
offered before the decision      in this new environment.        across the world      adoption across the world.
on destination selection is      Digitisation, flexibility of
made, typically during the                                                             Today, consumers use
bidding stage. We aim to                                                               screens and live virtual
influence the decision so                                                              experiences more than
that the schemes can be                                                                ever, and that’s exactly how
effective.                                                                             the space will would be
                                                                                       redefined – a consumer-
• INSPIRE (In Singapore                                                                centric offering that is
  Incentives & Rewards) is                                                             digital-enabled and
  a scheme which supports                                                              data-empowered. Public
  small groups (group size                                                             spaces are being re-
  between 20 to 250 pax)                                                               designed to provide safe
  & offers more than 60 pre-                                                           distancing, touchless
  curated experiences to                                                               solutions and hygiene
  choose from.                                                                         practices for delegates and
• BEiS (Business Events in                                                             employees’ safety assurance.
  Singapore) is a financial                                                            Virtual spaces are being
  support scheme targeted                                                              transformed to augment
  at large groups which                                                                physical meetings.
  offers corporates a
  financial grant to help        venue spaces as well as                               Do you think hybrid
  them enhance the quality       health and safety protocols                           events will be the future
  of their travel program.       will be event planners’ key                           for this industry?
• SMAP (Singapore MICE           priorities following the                              Hybrid event formats
  Advantage Program)             resumption of the industry.                           have become increasingly
  is a bundle of benefits                                                              significant, where content
  that various Singapore         Social distancing will also                           is delivered virtually, while
  stakeholders offer to          shape how various aspects                             ensuring that the digital
  the delegates.                 of social and business                                aspects complement in-
• STARS (Special Travel          activities will be conducted                          person events. We will
  Agent Rewards Singapore)       in a post-COVID world.                                certainly see more hybrid
  is a reward program to         The M!CE industry is                                  events as the industry
  reward M!CE agents             rethinking on how business                            evolves its landscape
  and event planners             events will be organised and                          and experiences.

                                                                                              M CEtalk January-February 2021   9

       Fiesta Filipinas launched
        The virtual festival has been organised to simulate the experience of a festival through a
        combination of live and pre-recorded videos and live workshops and activities
        Manas Dwivedi

                 he Department of
                 Foreign Affairs,
        in cooperation with
        Department of Tourism
        & National Commission
        for Culture and Arts has
        launched ‘Fiesta Filipinas:
        An Online Celebration of
        Philippine Festivals’. This
        is a six-part, multi-format
        online event series from
        December 2020 until
        May 2021. The virtual
        festival has been organised
        to simulate the experience
        of a festival through a
        combination of live & pre-
        recorded videos and live
        workshops and activities.

        The project aims to
        showcase Philippine                                                                   to experience our culture,”
        festivals, culture and           QUICK BYTE The DOT will identify                     he says.
        traditions to a global
        audience. Every month for
                                         100 destinations and give them                       Marie Yvette Banzon-
        the next six months starting     its stamp of approval                                Abalos, Executive Director,
        December, the Department                                                              Department of Foreign
        of Tourism (DOT) will                                                                 Affairs, says, “Fiesta
        feature one virtual town                                                              Filipinas is an innovative
        fiesta, showcased as a way                                                            approach to promote
        for locals to introduce                                                               Philippine culture and is a
        their cultural festivity to                                                           way of bringing Philippine
        the world stage, so that                                                              culture and celebrations
        the Filipino diaspora and                                                             closer to people's hearts
        tourists can enjoy what the                                                           despite the limitations of
        country has to offer, and                                                             the pandemic.”
        invite people to visit once      Roberto P Alabado III   Marie Yvette Banzon-Abalos
        the pandemic is over.                                                                 The first Fiesta Filipinas
                                                                                              virtual event celebrated
        During the launch,                                                                    the Christmas season,
        Roberto P Alabado III,                                                                with the Giant Lantern
        Undersecretary, Tourism          This type of            It is a way                  Parade (December 19), to
        Regulation, Coordination                                                              be followed by the Sinulog,
        & Resource Generation,           project whets           of bringing                  Ati-Atihan and Dinagyang
        said that DOT will identify      the appetite of         Philippine culture           Festivals (January 30, 2021),
        100 destinations and give        tourists who            and celebrations             the Panagbenga Festival
        them its stamp of approval,                                                           (February 27, 2021), Visita
        providing what hotels and
                                         would like to           closer to people's           Iglesia (March 20, 2021),
        resorts to stay in and the       experience our          hearts despite the           Lami-Lamihan Festival
        services available. “This type   culture                 the pandemic                 (April 24, 2021), and end
        of project whets the appetite                                                         with the Flores De Mayo/
        of tourists who would like                                                            Santacruzan (May 29, 2021).

10   M CEtalk January-February 2021
M CEtalk January-February 2021   11

       ‘India, a priority market’
        We had to rethink our promotional strategies, says Ksenya Boykova, Head of International
        Affairs & MICE, Moscow Project Office for Tourism and Hospitality Development
        Nisha Verma

                he Moscow City
                Tourism Committee
                recently held the
        Discover Moscow Digital
        Roadshow in India. Claiming
        that India is a priority
        inbound tourism market for
        Moscow, Ksenya Boykova
        said, “The number of tourists
        from India to Moscow has
        almost doubled over the past
        10 years, reaching 89,000
        in 2019.

        In the year 2019, India
        ranked third in the Asia
        Pacific region, excluding
        China, in terms of the
        number of foreign tourists
        in Moscow. Before the
        pandemic, the number of
        tourists coming from India                                                                   received positive feedback
        to Russia had been growing
        by 18-20 per cent annually,
                                        QUICK BYTE The number of tourists                            from our Indian colleagues,
                                                                                                     which reinforces the value of
        and in terms of growth rates,   from India to Moscow has almost                              the digital roadshow format
        India ranked fifth, leaving     doubled over the past 10 years                               during this challenging time.”
        even China behind.”                                                                          Moscow offers opportunities
                                                                     the regions of India (which     for cultural tourism as
        When asked about the aim                                     would be challenging for an     well as business and
        behind organising the digital                                offline roadshow).”             educational tourism.
        roadshow, she revealed, “The
        current situation allowed                                    The four-day event hosted       E-visas for
        us to rethink Moscow's                                       not only companies from         Indian tourists
        promotional strategies and                                   Moscow (tour operators          From January 2021, tourists
        create new digital products.                                 and hotels), 25 of which        from India will be able
        We have launched several                                     introduced themselves and       to apply for electronic
        interesting projects which,                                  their products at online        visas. Three out of the 29
        we are confident, have          Ksenya Boykova               meetings, and more than 10      entry points where the
        aroused the interest of the                                  companies that took part        visa procedure will be
        Indian professional audience.    gEtting e-visas             in the virtual exhibition       simplified to enter Russia
                                                                     remotely, but also over 600     are located in Moscow,
        In the new reality, we saw       From January 2021,          representatives of the Indian   at the largest Russian
        great potential in online        tourists from India will    tourism industry.               airports, Sheremetyevo,
        tools, including digital         be able to apply for                                        Domodedovo and Vnukovo.
        roadshows, in terms of           e-visas. Three out of the   Boykova further revealed,       Besides becoming a
        presenting the tourism           29 entry points where       “Indian companies took          more comfortable urban
        potential and Moscow’s           the visa procedure          part in webinars presenting     environment, new
                                         will be simplified                                          attractions for tourists in
        newest tourist products, as                                  the tourism potential of
                                         to enter Russia are
        well as establishing direct                                  Moscow and new projects         Moscow have also emerged,
                                         located in Moscow,
        business contacts with                                       of the Moscow City Tourism      including Zaryadye Park,
                                         at the largest Russian
        Indian companies. Hence,                                     Committee, and as a result      VDNH, Moskvarium, the
                                         airports, Sheremetyevo,
        we decided to hold the first     Domodedovo and              of the event, they held over    Dream Island amusement
        digital roadshow in India        Vnukovo                     1,500 online negotiations       park and the Moscow
        that actually covered all                                    with Moscow companies. We       Cable Car.

12   M CEtalk January-February 2021
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