Bangkok's MICE business stirs back to life

Thailand's business events outlook points toward a positive Q4 and strong 2023, say Bangkok hoteliers.

Centara Hotels and Resorts' Tom Thrussell and Bangkok Marriott Marquis Queen's Park's Roger Parnow
Centara Hotels and Resorts' Tom Thrussell and Bangkok Marriott Marquis Queen's Park's Roger Parnow

After more than two years of Covid turmoil, Thailand's hotels are finally witnessing an uptick in MICE business as borders open and restrictions ease in recent months.

Roger Parnow, cluster director of sales & marketing at Bangkok Marriott Marquis Queen’s Park Hotel says the property has received many RFPs, which he describes as a "very good sign for our hotel and the industry as a whole".

“For the near future, the volume of business and the countries this is originating from will depend on travel regulations,” he says. “As governments remove their testing requirements and quarantine restrictions, we will see a rise in business travel and MICE groups. At present, most requests are for events in Q4 2022 and mostly from countries in Asia Pacific.”

While Parnow expects to see business return to pre-pandemic levels by 2023, domestic business will still be the main driver for now despite the improving global outlook. “However, we foresee the rapid return of international meetings and events from the second half of the year, building up to a full recovery in 2023. There is significant pent-up demand waiting to be unleashed.”

Tom Thrussell, vice president brand, marketing & digital at Centara Hotels & Resorts, says that Centara Grand at CentralWorld, one of the group's major MICE properties, has received several requests for last-minute groups from Asia Pacific countries with the phased lifting of travel restrictions.

“We have also received an increase in interest from long-haul markets eyeing October and November 2022 dates,” he says, “We believe hybrid or “phygital” (physical and digital) events will also remain a popular format for certain markets.”

To help boost business, Thrussell says it would be helpful to have a consistent set of authoritative guidelines such as easing restrictions in a phased manner for events.

“That being said, I also believe it takes a bit of time to restore people’s trust in travel and to readjust their comfort level with in-person gatherings after avoiding it for so long,” he says.

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