Leading leads Majestic Barcelona to stronger Singapore MICE bookings

(From left) Majestic Hotel & Spa Barcelona's Pascal Billard; Michelin-star chef Nandu Jubany, who is the consultant chef for the property; and The Leading Hotels of the World's Sathia Moorthy

Business event bookings out of Singapore are on the rise for Majestic Hotel & Spa Barcelona over the past two years, its general manager revealed last week when he was in Singapore to meet with key corporate clients and media personnel.

Although Pascal Billard was unable to quantify the increase, he told TTGmice that the improvement has been “significant” and that in his 4.5 years with the hotel, “we’ve never seen much MICE business from Singapore until recently”.

(From left) Majestic Hotel & Spa Barcelona’s Pascal Billard; Michelin-star chef Nandu Jubany, who is the consultant chef for the property; and The Leading Hotels of the World’s Sathia Moorthy

He believed that Majestic Hotel & Spa Barcelona’s strong business out of Singapore was a result of various factors – major refurbishments between 2009 and 2014 that allowed the hotel to “retain its standards as one of the top luxury hotels in the city”; Barcelona’s strong reputation as a business hub and corporate events destination; and more importantly, the hotel’s reliance on Leading Hotels of the World since end-2014.

Billard detailed: “One of the things we did as we approached the end of our refurbishment was to join Leading Hotels of the World. Leading has lived up to its name as being a collection of the world’s best luxury hotels, and has a great business network. We need to give it credit for repositioning Majestic in the luxury space, and for growing our business event bookings out of Singapore over the past two years.”

He added: “Usually independent hotels like us have limitations – we cannot compete properly with major hotel chains in marketing and in global sales presence. Leading has helped us overcome all that.”

Billard explained that hotel’s business event mix leans heavily towards incentive programmes because as a luxury hotel, stays “come with a price”.

“And with Barcelona being a long distance from Singapore and therefore airfares are higher, it is less likely that groups would travel all the way over just for a meeting,” he said.

Majestic Hotel & Spa Barcelona’s recent renovations have given it updated critical infrastructure, as well as refreshed interiors in its lobby, bar, restaurants and other facilities. It now also boasts the city’s largest suite – a three-bedroom unit on the topmost floor with terraces and “an exquisite living room”.

Billard said this suite is “perfect for VIP guests and royalty”, but was reserved in suggesting use of it for private events.

“We tend not to say yes to private events in this suite, unless it is something very high level, such as a CEO meeting, because everything in there is custom-built and requires great care,” he remarked.

When asked if the hotel has also been seeing marked improvements in business event bookings from elsewhere in Asia, Billard said: “We have seen some increase in Chinese, Japanese and Korean markets this year, but they are all leisure, not business events like what we get from Singapore.

“But I expect Singapore to be a platform on which we can get more business event bookings out of South-east Asia in the near future. Singapore is a travel and business hub for many South-east Asian companies and many of them rely on experienced event planners based in Singapore for longhaul trips.”

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