Hotels shift focus to corporates

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Crimping foreign tourists owing to global slowdown has forced hospitality sector to re-orient itself to focus on corporate segment for better gains.

With corporates too cutting down on their travel budget for meetings, hotel majors are seeing big business opportunity in selling the MICE (meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions) category to local companies.

Between January and August, the pace of growth in foreign tourist arrivals has slowed four percentage points to 6.2 per cent from a year earlier at 42.8 lakh.

With lodging demand in Chennai dominated by business segment that accounts for 70-75 per cent of the total business, hospitality major ITC has set its eyes on this segment.

“A new segment can be opened for hotel tourism industry and TN can take the lead,” said ITC group chairman Mr Y.C. Deveshwar launching the group’s 600-room super premium luxury hotel complex in Guindy, which was inaugurated by chief minister Ms J. Jayalalithaa.

Though MICE segment accounts only for 10-15 per cent of the city’s total hotel demand, Mr Deveshwar admitted that marketing Chennai would be a challenging task. “We hope to get Chennai into the MICE map soon with our grand property,” he said.

The city already has 29 branded hotels with 4,656 rooms across different categories. And around 3,620 more hotel rooms in the branded segment are expected to be added to its kitty over the next three years.

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