As destination weddings, International meetings & incentives and film shoots are gaining traction among Indians, the oldest hospitality chain, Hilton has unveiled an innovative programme for its Indian groups. Recognizing that modern India is looking for unique, personalized experiences, Hilton has launched ‘Namaste”, an exclusive guest offering programme, designed to deliver a truly tailored experience for groups travelling from India to Europe.
With the Indian economy on a high, approximately 25 million Indian tourists currently head overseas for professional or personal reasons. Europe commands an estimated market share of about 20 % of all Indian outbound departures. The UN World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) alone predicts that India will account for 50 million* outbound tourists by 2020**. Clearly, it’s a huge plus for the hospitality segment and opens an array of prospects for Hotels catering to the Indian groups segment.
According to GBTA, the Global Business Travel Association, India is expected to be the fastest growing travel market over the next 5 years picking up 11.3%***in compound average growth. This market continues to show enormous growth potential.
“Huge population, rising incomes, improving infrastructure, among others – offer a strong growth opportunity. India is one of the biggest growth markets, with Indians now preferring luxury and overseas stays with their improving financial status,” said Fiona Robson, Senior Director of Sales Operations Europe.
She further added, “Exceptional quality, impeccable service and always the warmest of welcomes, no one knows hospitality like Hilton. We pride ourselves in understanding the needs of our Indian guests and ensuring that we deliver a truly memorable stay; this precisely is the thinking behind our “Namaste” programme, our uniquely designed programme for group travel
Indians are now inclined to explore offbeat destinations and therefore Hilton is looking to cater to Indian groups opting to travel to destinations like Malta, Budapest, Cologne, Baku, besides frequent destinations like Vienna, Prague, London and others. Hilton Properties are excited to welcome groups from India, being equipped with the best in class services, to ensure they have a memorable stay experience.
“Indian companies are interested in bringing their Incentive trips to Barcelona because of the possibility to combine their interest to explore culture and business together. Barcelonais known to be a hub for cruises, and the release of Bollywood movie “Zindagi Na MilegiDobara”, which was partially shot in Barcelona and Costa Brava, massively increased the interest of clients travelling to Barcelona. The weddingof Shristi Mittal in 2013 reinforced the interest in country making it an ideal destination for wedding business,” said Joachim Hartl, General Manager of the Hilton Barcelona Diagonal Mar.
With Europe drawing Bollywood to its fold, the hospitality major has conceived a customized programmeto offer their beautiful hotels, near famous places and unique locations in order to accommodate venuerequirementsof movies.
RemcoNorden, General Manager at the Hilton London Metropole, said, “2019 is seeing some fantastic demand owing to the Cricket world cup with matches happening all over the country and Indian groups still wanting to stay in London. The hotel is looking forward to welcoming many Indian guests given the close proximity to the ground.” “Hilton London Metropole being one of the largest hotels in the region houses some of the biggest Indian incentive movements and has hosted Indian events upto 1200 pax. We have great experience in hosting the Indian guests and have built fantastic relationships over the years. We understand the culture, the need for personal relationships, the importance of authentic Indian food and the need to provide flexibility with regards to Visas,” he added.
Ronald Diesenreiter, Hotel Manager of the Hilton Vienna said, “Vienna boasts of 27 palaces, awaiting on virtually every street corner, which are all examples of the city’s illustrious history. We are thrilled that our rich heritage in culture, arts, music, wine and lifestyle is being recognized, discovered and explored by an increasing number of Indian travellers, event planners and corporations.”
“Our 3 distinct Hilton Hotels in Vienna (Hilton Vienna at the Stadtpark, Hilton Vienna Plaza at the Ringstrasse& Hilton Vienna Danube Waterfront at the banks of Danube river) complement the cities heritage and offer each, in its own way, a very authentic Austrian experience. By offering Hiltons Namaste Programme we focus on tailoring our services to Indian groups and their preferences.”
According to Area General Manager, Erwin Verhoog, “Munich, the ideal hub to connect to a huge variety of interesting program options is certainly picking up a lot of interest amongst Indian groups. With excellent flight connections, MUC serves as a great base for Munich, where interesting sightseeing abounds, combined with coveted German premium cars with no speed limit highways and picturesque alpine routes. A day program variety covering scenic alps & lakes, world famous Neuschwanstein Castle, close to Salzburg in Austria, the location is fast becoming a must for incentive travel out of India. 3 day programs are ideal and are often connected to other European cities for a “second leg” to mix it up a little – so with a week in Europe a program can cover so much more than just 1 destination. Hilton Munich Park and Hilton Munich City have plenty of experience with these groups and understand the flexibility needed. Hilton Munich Park can even offer a separate kitchen where needed.”
Ninoslav Vidovic, Cluster Director of Sales Hilton Prague and Hilton Prague Old Town, said that they have recognized the potential and importance of the Indian market five years ago and started to invest in relationship building with Indian customers and the Hilton Worldwide Sales Office in India. “Today we can say that the Indian market is “emerging” only as its global designation, while by the number of events and revenue it books at our two hotels in Prague the market is considered one of the most important ones. Our Indian customers have a specific cultural background and culinary requirements during their events in our hotels and therefore we have adapted our commercial proposition. Amongst others we have included the possibility of catering of Indian cuisine.”
Destination weddings have captured the Indian market in a big way. For any Indian parent, a wedding is much more than mere ceremonies and fancy decorations. It’s an emotional investment of a lifetime where you don’t collect things but create precious moments. Hilton specializes in ensuring an unforgettable experience for a European destination wedding through Namaste programme which captures this essence, to perfect every detail and create the wedding of your dreams.
The Managing Director of the Rome Cavalieri, Alessandro Cabella, said,“Italy is an attractive destination for weddings. Also those who are interested in visiting locations used in the 1970s for Bollywood movies such as Rome and Venice and production companies wanting to produce movies in Rome find it to be an attractive destination.”
The programme caters to three major segments—destination weddings, meetings and incentives and film shoots giving guests the confidence, that Hilton will meet all their needs and expectations every time, no matter the occasion or destination.