Shaped by ever-changing market demands and destination challenges, Asiaâ€™s business events scene is evolving faster than ever. Mikael Svensson, senior vice president of hospitality management company Louis T Collection, shares his projections and the changes he thinks itâ€™ll bring
What is your outlook for Asia’s business meetings and incentive market in 2019?
Asian markets continue to evolve as its feeder markets grow. Thailand has always been a big market for incentives and meetings, and I see this continuing for the foreseeable future. At Mantra Samui Resort, we are seeing interest from clients looking for an incentive trip that incorporates wellness.
Sri Lanka, where we have three hotels, is also seeing growth (in incentives and meetings), especially from the large international corporates.
What are your key markets for next year?
Mantra Samui will continue to focus on China and South-east Asia, where it receives most of its business due to airlift restrictions into Samui.
Sri Lanka will continue to focus on its key feeder markets India, China and South-east Asia. We also see opportunities from the US, the UK and Europe.
As for Perth, we see opportunities from Australia’s domestic meetings and incentives segments, as well as from South-east Asian countries like Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia.
Samui faces airlift restrictions. How has this affected business volume?
Koh Samui has been seeing a decline (in arrivals) in 2018, which is primarily due to the restricted airlift caused by the local airport and its inability to receive large aircraft. But we hope to see new routes and more partnerships coming through the airport in 2019.
Is the company facing local challenges in other destinations as well?
Sri Lanka is a destination that weathers well no matter the situation. We have not seen any decline, even with the recent political instability that the country is facing. I foresee that Sri Lanka will continue to grow.
How about Perth? You will be opening Quay Perth soon, with the provision of a co-work space.
Quay Perth is an exciting property with almost all the large corporate companies located within a short walk of the hotel. Perth also has a lot of transient corporate clients visiting regularly for business from other cities, and at Quay Perth, we see the opportunity to host these clients looking for a base to work from for a day or two each month.
Our co-working space will be the first within a hotel in the city. We are excited to have the addition where we see our clients utilising the space not only for working, but for networking and entertaining. Working from cafes is very much a part of the Australian way of life so adding a co-work space that offers that vibrant surrounding â€“ but with a business and networking focus â€“ should resonate well.
Are you working on bringing this integration of hospitality and workspace into Asia as well?
We see a great opportunity to continue rolling out our co-working space where it makes sense. For example, in Koh Samui, we see many expats spending a lot of time on the island and looking for a place to work and relax, so we believe that this concept will be an area of growth.