Indian corporates targeted for bulk hotel room booking

Tuesday, 30 September 2008, 09:58 Hrs
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Chennai: In order to cash in on the outbound corporate travel from India, the Dubai-headquartered $6-billion ETA Ascon Star group has entered the meeting site selection business partnering with HelmsBriscoe, the US-based third-party hospitality service provider.

Meeting site selection is the business of facilitating bulk booking of hotel rooms and conference halls for corporates by third-party service providers.

The ETA Ascon Star group will undertake business in India and the Middle East through its business and leisure travel company ANTA.

"We bring bulk business for hotels and enjoy concessional tariff, which we pass on to our clients," HelmsBriscoe's international business managing director Ian R. Quartermaine told IANS.

In 2007, HelmsBriscoe fetched the global hotel industry around $620 million in room revenue booking 3.5 million room nights and total meeting spend in excess of $1 billion, Quartermaine said.

According to him, companies like HelmsBriscoe represent the corporates or clients unlike the travel or tour operators who represent the hotels.

"We do not charge our clients but get paid by the hotels a percentage of the total income earned from our clients in the form of room rents, food and beverages and others. With a data base of details on over 90,000 hotels worldwide, we can match the needs of corporates," he added.

Focussing primarily on corporate meetings and not on incentive conferences, Quartermaine said HelmsBriscoe is targeting facilitating 22,000 meetings.

This would result in a total spend of over $1 billion by its corporate clients, he said, adding that the business could log a 20 percent growth this year.

"The turmoil in the financial sector would require more corporate meetings and hence we do not foresee any major downslide in business," he said.

Speaking about the business prospects in India and the Middle East, Sundar Vasudaven, ETA Ascon Star's project leader in the Gulf region said his firm would first service group companies, and later extend its reach to other corporates.

According to HelmsBriscoe, the business agreement with ETA Ascon Star may be firmed up as a joint venture later.
Source: IANS
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