With corporate houses trimming boardroom budgets,hotel packages for meetings have become a lot more innovative
At Hotel Crowne Plaza Today in Gurgaon,curiously themed coffee breaks and interesting packages are making the rather serious boardroom meetings a bit playful. When the meeting adjourns for session breaks,apart from sipping steaming coffees,the executives are pampered with a light head massage and even get to indulge in a chocolate treat. In an attempt to hang on to their blue-chip clients,hotels are offering innovatively themed meetings for a nominal charge.
It is important to offer value additions in the current scenario. Companies are limiting their spend and are looking for the best deals, says Shaun Langdon,general manager,Crowne Plaza Today. Recently,the hotel hosted a board meeting with Berry Theme. On offer were samosas served with gooseberry chutney and cranberry shots for starters,smoked chicken with cranberry dip for the main course and raspberry coffee cakes for desserts.
Another popular theme,quickly entwining work with play,is a spa break. The hotel stations masseurs in the recreation room and they pamper the executives with foot reflexology during session breaks. Even the food counter offers a spa menu with grilled meats,fruit juice shots and fruit skewers. Clients ask for such themes and the mood at the meeting becomes much more relaxed. Most of these themes are offered for a nominal sum, says Langdon.
The Claridges in Delhi that has two conference rooms and two boardrooms Senate with a capacity of 20 people and a business room which can accommodate 12 people plans to roll out a similar fare. Even the smaller rooms that are used for team-building activities are now being offered complimentary to large groups, says Rubal Chaudhry,general manager,The Claridges. March is a busy season for corporate meetings. Though we havent witnessed a massive slowdown in bookings,companies are definitely budget-driven. Most clients look for extra facilities and services in the same package deal. Imported liquor is mostly off the menu but The Claridges is putting extra number of appetisers and desserts in the packages.
While most of our clients are still holding meetings with us,the number of attendees per meeting has gone down in the last six months. The groups have become smaller and hosts are reducing the number of courses in the menu to cut down on costs, says Aditya Singh,director,catering,Hyatt Regency which has seven banqueting rooms. The fruity theme with orange and apples is popular at Hyatt Regency. Big baskets laden with oranges sit on the tables and the counter for coffee breaks rolls out dishes with a fruity twang like lemon tarts,tangerine-scented cookies and lemon chicken pie.
April onwards we are planning to float the idea of theme breaks to our corporate clients. For a thematic set-up we are looking at a candlelight or a more playful floral theme, says Simarjeet Singh,food and beverages manager at The Park Plaza Gurgaon. The setting seems just perfect. Now,if only the economy would perk up.