Home Insight PCOs taking the MICE graph higher

PCOs taking the MICE graph higher

MICE is a type of tourism in which large groups, usually planned well in advance, are brought together for a particular purpose. ‘Professional Conference Organisers’ are an umbrella term for the vast scope of the conferences and incentives. An essential of incentive travel is that it is a trip that offers the participants experiences that are either once in a lifetime or things that they cannot easily buy themselves. This allows for an enormous amount of creativity and latitude on how these trips are planned. The world is full of options that could easily fit the bill and emerging destinations have great opportunity here. There are few such PCOs in India which provide expert guidance in terms of organising the most unique, creative and skilful event.

Karan Anand,
Head, Relationships
Cox & Kings

As compared to regular travel that includes sightseeing and leisure activities, MICE projects greater number of tourists, longer dwell periods and higher income. There are only 8-10 players in the industry who are well equipped to conduct MICE tours in a professional manner. In that sense, we believe that the industry is not really fragmented but quite competitive for the players that currently exist in the market. India’s efforts in attracting big conventions need to be reimagined, moving from the current model of supporting individual operators to a more result oriented framework. We need to improve our infrastructure in terms of quality of roads, inventory of rooms in non- metros and modern convention facilities to attract more MICE business. We engage corporates whom we work with and seek our new business opportunities from potential clients in the segment. We provide our customers multiple value added services through our business tie ups with Indian and international suppliers including hotels and venues, national/state tourism organisation and destination/event management companies. This has helped us to grow MICE business at close to 20 per cent y-o-y and provide services that are on par with the industry.

Rajeev Kohli
Joint Managing Director
Creative Travel
& SITE President 2016

The associations meeting market and inbound incentive business are significant drivers of growth and future strategy. It is where we at Creative Travel have built a core competency and global reputation for excellence. We are the most globally awarded MICE player in the region with six prestigious SITE Crystal Awards under our belt. India as a reputation for being an exotic destination but is not known as a MICE product. We are virtually a non entity and have so much more to do to take our rightful position on the world stage. We get a minuscule number of international conferences and our incentive group base is very small as well. The reason we are in the position we are today is because the existing PCO market has driven the industry to untenable ridiculous lows on pricing and service delivery. People are working for almost free and only on kickbacks. Clients have been spoilt with bribes and other inducements. The supplier industry has had no desire to professionalise themselves and charge a fair market value for their services. The PCO segment in India today is essentially non-profitable and is on the verge of collapse. So the quantity of PCOs in the country is not the probe.

Meera Charnalia,
Senior Vice President–MICE, Thomas Cook India

India’s MICE industry is witnessing the emergence of newer destinations within the country. With mergers of international giants, for example Ambuja cement merging with Holcim & Lafarge, is expected to result in upsurge of the incentive market therefore contributing significantly to the overall MICE industry. At Thomas Cook India, we have witnessed a steady growth of upwards 25 per cent y-o-y for MICE business in India. While regional connectivity, infrastructure and taxation policies pose as challenges in Indian MICE market, domestic MICE segment has tremendous potential and it is a sector that we have been strongly and actively focusing on. Government is taking unparalleled initiatives to boost Indian travel industry and hence initiatives particularly ‘Make in India’ and ‘Invest India’ would focus on how the international market will invest in India – encourage production, business SME. The MICE segment has tremendous potential and it is a sector that we have strongly and actively focussing on! With the magical ‘brag factor’ and aspirational value, MICE have always been a great motivator for employees and dealers. With the corporate scenario maturing and government’s pro-tourism initiatives, the Indian MICE market will continue to flourish. This segment is now becoming increasingly sophisticated, with evolving preferences and interests.

Top PCO’s in India
• Alpcord Network
• Creative Travel
• Thomas Cook
• Cox & Kings
• KW Conferences
• MCI
• Siame
• Meetings and more