Sustainability ranks highly on today’s MICE agenda

Stakeholders must move with the tides and quickly move towards sustainable events, or risk losing business

As sustainability increasingly becomes a key consideration for corporates, event planners and business hotels must take urgent action to create sustainable events or risk losing business, industry leaders warn.

At the second PHIST (Phuket Hotels for Islands Sustaining Tourism) conference this week, Pat Satkhum, senior manager, MICE capabilities at Thailand Convention and Exhibition Bureau (TCEB), said price and quality were no longer the main factors influencing choice. Instead, sustainability is a vital measure when considering where to host events.

Stakeholders must move with the tides and quickly shift towards sustainable events or risk losing business

Said Satkhum: “Creating sustainable events is the future. It is what corporates want, and it is increasingly what they are demanding for their events.”

Franck Droin, hotel manager at Mandarin Oriental Bangkok, noted sustainability is driving decisions when organising events. He noted a recent shift in corporates who are switching to five-star venues – from four-star hotels – championing green and sustainable meetings.

He said: “Delegates are starting to demand sustainability measures and that will influence their decision when it comes to choosing a hotel for their conference. By putting on green meetings, you can get a long-term return on investment.”

Jeannie Kwok, Hilton’s director of corporate responsibility, shared Conrad Hong Kong had just won a large account with a bank due to its environmental practices. She said: “Green meeting spaces do sell. Banks are now looking at ESG (environmental, social and corporate governance), so this consideration is increasingly coming into play.”

TCEB’s Satkhum further urged event planners to play their part in selling the sustainability ethos. For instance, event venues should keep air-conditioning to a minimum of 25°C, eliminate cut flowers from tables, request whether food waste programmes are in place – or ask for a food donation policy to be introduced – and use local suppliers.

Most importantly, Satkhum hopes venues will develop detailed sustainability reports outlining their initiatives and results. Noted Satkhum: “Corporate clients tend to ask me about water consumption, waste per room and carbon footprint; they want to see these things. If you want to attract more corporate customers then you have to have this in place.”

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