SUDIPTA DEV – Mumbai
|Makiko Matsuda Healy|
NYC & Company has been increasingly focusing on the Indian MICE business and has hosted MICE groups from the auto industry, IT, pharma and finance, etc. “The main focus on long haul markets like India is the incentive tour segment. Education is another large part of it as the US is a relatively new MICE destination for the Indian market and there are both real challenge and misconception on visa process. Also, we are promoting longer stay pre or post conference attendance and add a family vacation to the conference trips,” said Makiko Matsuda Healy, vice president, Tourism Development, NYC & Company. She pointed out that this year, the US decided to waive personal interview for Indians who are renewing their visa within four years of expiration of their previous visa and within the same classification as the previous visa. “Further facilitation for the MICE business segment is expected. NYC & Company are working closely with US Commercial Service as well as Homeland Security to improve the visa situation,” she said.
NYC & Company recently hosted the first MICE FAM from India. Healy feels that NYC is able to produce ‘wow’ moments for not just luxury groups, but also small, mid-size groups. “Large, medium and small scale unique venues that fit organiser’s needs just right are available in all five boroughs of NYC i.e. Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, Bronx and Staten Island. Part of what we do is introducing many ways to add more bang to the buck for organisers so that groups that have not considered NYC for their incentive tour for price point reasons can actually bring tours to the city and wow their guests,” she stated.
What makes NYC an attractive MICE destination for Indian businesses are factors like – access (non-stop flights from Mumbai and Delhi, and countless one-stop access options from many cities in India), vibe and ‘wow’ aspect. “When the incentive tour destination is New York City, attendance rate goes up. The impact that stays with each attendee is much higher compared to other destinations and the impact is what the organisers are looking for. NYC has a wide range of shopping choice to cater to every budget. “The city has dynamic, multicultural entertainment options including dining, shows, attractions, etc. Due to its dynamism, there are varied experiences and cuisines to cater to everybody’s needs. Authentic Indian cuisine is easily available for those who want a feel of India,” she added.
Some of the key convention centres in NYC are: The Jacob K Javits Convention Centre – one of the largest event venues in the US and can accommodate up to 85,000 people at six different events – all at one time; NY5000 – a convention complex of 5,000 guest rooms, 100 meeting rooms and a total of 225,000 square feet of meeting space – all in the span of one square block; Madison Square Garden that can accommodate 18,200 spectators; and many unique MICE venues of the city ranging from Madame Tussauds New York to American Museum of Natural History to the Empire State Building.
Healy gives details of a few marketing programmes – Meet Me on Sunday (book a meeting with at least 75 per cent of the room block falling over a Sunday and get valuable concessions from NYC’s hotel partners); Save the Date (a two-year interactive calendar that highlights key concerts, parades, festivals and US public holidays’ identifies ‘need periods’ when visitors can take advantage of better hotel value and availability and enables users to create sharable itineraries); Third Night Free (this programme gives visitors a complimentary third night at participating signature hotels after booking and paying for two consecutive nights). “In the current economic climate, corporations are looking for cost efficient ways to achieve their goals. NYC brings these corporations cost effective way to make the impact they need to drive their sales force and achieve their goals by the programmes they are organising,” she said.