Mice Showcase Talks To Ranjan Banerjee, General Manager Crowne Plaza, Okhla

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MS- What is your take on the MICE Industry and as a leading hotel, how are you equipped to handle MICE events?
Ranjan-
I would like to go on two different tangents – one, how Delhi is placed and the second, how we are placed. As far as Delhi is concerned, the MICE presence in Delhi is extremely promising, booming and going great so far. The reason why I say so is because, we have the India Expo Mart Limited, a convention centre in Dwarka coming up and the Pragati Maidan is gearing up, which should be operational in next two years and of course, very close to our hotel, we have the NSIC convention centre, which is in the heart of South Delhi.
So what we now require is, a push from the government to ensure that international MICE events come to Delhi. As we saw the last year, or every alternate year, we have the Auto expo, then we have the gifts expo or the handicrafts expo. What came in a big way was the CPhI- the pharma expo, held last year. So while all this is happened, we need more to sustain the tempo in the city. And that can only happen as the time grows, with the different hotels, the Destination Management Companies(DMCs) who organize this and these centre where convention happen, come together on the same platform. We have to make India value proposition and Delhi also a super value proposition. Otherwise we still hear that people go to HICC in Hyderabad. See, I am not saying that they shouldn’t go anywhere else in India, they should; but what value do we give to organizers when they come to Delhi or India per say.
For example in our hotel or any of the Crowne Plaza for that matter, we are all geared up because we say ‘we are the place to meet’. When we say ‘we are the place to meet’, we have a specialized division and that specialized division is for business travelers who are travelling for success and we there to compliment and support them in their success. For that we have a different wing or a different section within our department of sales and marketing which we call the ‘Crowne meeting team’. The Crowne meeting team is headed by a specialized by a Crowne Meeting Directior, who is assisted by an Associate Director and then you have Crowne Meeting Manager and Crowne Meeting Associates. So we have a full-fledged team like this in all of our Crowne Plaza hotels. So if you walk into any of the Crowne Plazas in India or internationally, you will know that we are all geared up to meet any such challenge. And we actually welcome more and more such events. So when we say India is growing, this is the way one of the big promising segment, which can ensure that we get more and more people, if we handle our MICE events very well in India.

MS- What are the major events that your hotel has hosted in the recent past?
Ranjan-
In the Crowne Plaza Okhla, we have hosted international events like Fair trade, which is a biennial event happening every two years across anywhere in the world. The year before last, it was with us, and this year, it is going to be in South America. They went very happy from us. Also, we had hosted a big MSME event of the Government of India. And apart from that, we have several international exhibitions which keep on happening
whose delegations come and stay with us.

MS- What kind of support mechanism you have in place which you provide to the organizers and corporate who organize their events in your hotel?
Ranjan-
Well, including me the entire team is there to handhold the event organiser right from the day one where the query comes in and we ensure, that we reply back to the query within two hours. The two-hour response time is so very important for any Crowne Plaza. So when you have a great start, then definitely everything falls in place within the expected time limit. And when we maintain time for any of our client- be it domestic or be it international, I think that is the least we all as well as the client look forward to. And then we give various options to the meeting organizers besides the meeting. For example, when you have a meeting for four days, three days or even for two days, in today’s changing world wherein executives who are coming here, they want to be in a fresh state of mind, always at on the go so that they are learning and then they are delivering. So therefore we say, all these travelers are traveling here for success. So we as a team of hotel have to ensure that when they go out, they are successful.
We ensure that starting from the day, which starts from the hearty breakfast and the breakfast menu is never the same, we make sure that on a daily basis, as it could be a three days or four days meeting where delegates come in across the world. And we ensure that the menu of the breakfast has something or the other for every national of the world, which appeals to their taste-buds. So we have the international cuisine which has around 62 items of which 20-odd items keep on changing on a daily basis. Then when you go to the meeting room, our meeting-rooms have access to the fresh light. So fresh light is so very important in today’s world where we see even our medical professionals constantly telling that fresh light and sunshine are so integral to good health. Also, sometimes for select meetings you need different venues, that venue could be, say a garden. We have a jet garden where you have the green grass. So many of our meetings have happened wherein the organizers wanted their team members early in the morning to feel the morning dew, which is great.

MS- How do you make sure that other amenities are in place like light and sound and other miscellaneous supporting equipments?
Ranjan-
I think those are very essential. So when I talk of options, it is little out of mundane. Otherwise 10 years back meetings used to be in a room, with very regulated lights. Just a mic and may be a screen. But today the life has changed and as I just said earlier, we have meetings in our swimming pool, jet garden or in a setup which is like a restaurant, so that you can reign in your imagination and come out successful after that meeting. So as far as this Crowne Plaza are concerned, it’s a fantastic opportunity for any meeting organiser to utilise our full range of specialized services.

MS- And as you rightly said earlier that we have big venues like India Expo Mart and Pragati Maidan where a lot of international events are happening every other day. So, do you also focus that their delegates come and stay at your hotel? Do you have some incentivized rates for them?
Ranjan-
As you know, in today’s world, nobody can hold on to their rates. It’s an extremely dynamic world. So we are as competitive as any of our competitors. When we talk of rates, it’s a total value proposition. We give the services that are worth it. We give you the best of Crowne Plaza services, the sleep advantage. We ensure the sleep advantage so that they are refreshed for their work. Although it might sound very basic, but usually this is overlooked. We have the 24 hours guaranteed wake-up call, as in the guest wants it anytime, we ensure that you will get the wake-up call at whatever time, be its 5 am in the morning or 2 am in the midnight. So this guarantee is a part of our Crowne plaza culture.

MS- How is MICE sector shaping up for you over the past couple of years? How the number of events have been going at your hotel?

Ranjan- I would say, we have been very fortunate and it’s a growing segment for us. MICE is around 27% of our business, which is a huge thing. So MICE and corporates go hand in hand. It is extremely promising and talking of the government support, we already have it in the form of e-Visas. For all the international delegates, it has become highly convenient.

MS- Lastly, in one word what does Crowne Plaza stands for?
Ranjan-
It stands for Service, it stands for travelling for success.

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