Enticing the dragon

TCEB has been hard at work launching various campaigns, as well as promoting the country in more Chinese cities.

View of Bangkok business district at twilight

Thailand Convention & Exhibition Bureau (TCEB) has recently intensified its marketing efforts, via the launch of campaigns, in China’s second- and third-tier cities.

Traditionally, TCEB’s marketing efforts were concentrated on first-tier cities such as Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou, but Nooch Homrossukhon, director of meeting and incentive promotion department at TCEB, said that she has seen a growing interest from other cities.
Citing examples, she said Thailand attracts direct selling companies from Shenzhen and Qingdao, and IT and finance companies from Hangzhou. As well, businesses in China, from third-tier cities including Suzhou, Xi’an, Chengdu and Nanjing, are growing tremendously and companies have travel budgets for incentives.

View of Bangkok business district at twilight

“Over the years, we have developed a Chinese client base and (cultivated) a good relationship with Chinese intermediaries, and this helps to bring back repeat business. (One example is) Infinitus (China) Company, a health firm focused on traditional Chinese medicine. The company will return to Thailand for the 14th time this year, and hold their event in Bangkok and Pattaya in May,” said Nooch. Around 8,000 delegates are expected, and as of press time, it will be China’s largest outbound incentive group to Thailand.
Aside from TCEB, the trade is putting in relevant efforts. For instance, Chiang Mai International Exhibition and Convention Centre’s marketing development and research manager, Kantarath Jirakittirath, said the four-year-old convention centre is targeting businesses from Beijing, Shanghai and Hangzhou due to direct air accessibility. She added that the facility was “planning to organise a fam trip for MICE organisers to Chiang Mai this year”.

On March 31, 2017, TCEB, together with allied Thai partners, kicked off Thailand’s MICE United IV campaign in Beijing, as well as launched the country’s brand campaign, Thailand CONNECT: Your Vibrant Journey to Business Success. Both campaigns were presented to more than 150 business event players at the Thailand CONNECT: China Business Events Road Show 2017.

Thailand’s MICE United IV, now in its fourth edition, features 10 alliances, two of which are new – Airport of Thailand Public Company (AOT) and King Power International Company. The two new partners contribute to the Thailand CONNECT Welcome Packages, through discounts and perks for business event delegates.

Another campaign, Thailand Big Thanks, which runs until December 31, 2017, is particularly popular with Chinese direct selling and multi-level marketing companies as it provides a financial subsidy of up to two million baht (US$58,055) for group sizes of at least 2,000 delegates and a minimum stay of three nights.

Nooch said: “The subsidy allows organisers to use the money to upgrade menus, or enhance the entertainment.”

Another campaign running until December 30, 2017, is the Meet Double Cities which offers a subvention of 100,000 baht per group of at least 200, and staying at least four nights in more than one destination.

“This campaign is to encourage groups to extend their events beyond Bangkok, for economic distribution to the regional level,” said Nooch.

Meanwhile, the Meet the Sustainable Way campaign provides a financial subsidy of up to 100,000 baht for events held at venues in Thailand that have been certified as Thailand MICE Venue Standard and/or meetings that incorporate CSR activities.

Caiyan Qin, assistant sales manager at Royal Cliff Hotels Group and Pattaya Exhibition and Convention Hall, said: “Subventions offered are important as MICE organisers are always asking for support. As other countries offer it, we stand to lose the group if there isn’t.”
Benjamin Krieg, general manager at Novotel Bangkok Sukhumvit 20, added: “Subventions will help attract repeat business. Thailand is good value. It is favoured by overseas business events organisers because you get good experiences for very good value.”
Sydney Yang, sales representative (China) for Sukosol Hotels said many corporate companies in China have been cutting their budgets since 2015 as company profits have dipped.

Regardless, he said: “Thailand is seen as an affordable and accessible destination. Subvention support makes the destination even more appealing. There are many beach destinations such as Pattaya, Phuket and Samui which interest the Chinese.”
Through these efforts, the bureau is targeting to grow Chinese business event arrivals by five per cent this year.

China has been the top international business events market for Thailand ever since it overtook India in 2013.

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