French holiday resort chain Club Med has set its sights on growing its meetings and events business with the launch of its Worktainment concept to market its incentive, team-building and meeting offerings.
Julien Hauss, business development manager—MICE, Club Med, is pragmatic about the challenges that lie ahead. “It’s true that it’s hard to sell at first in Hong Kong, people have that image that Club Med is only for leisure and parties…but no, you need to see the other way around,” Hauss told CEI.
He emphasised that the casual setting of the resorts with a variety of planned activities available, as well as Club Med’s trademark GOs (gentil organisateur) who can pull off a themed party, creates a conducive environment for participants to let their hair down during corporate activities.
“A lot of companies want to do team building, they expect magic to happen, they want to build the team spirit, but people don’t like team building anymore. Club Med is the soft way to push the team-bonding atmosphere,” said Hauss.
Club Med has been active in expanding its meetings facilities since its acquisition by Chinese conglomerate Fosun International in 2015. Hauss revelaed that meeting rooms at the resort chain’s Bali property have been renovated recently, while the MICE team has been pushing for more familiarisation trips for the past three years. The chain currently owns 15 resorts in the Asia Pacific region and counts brands such as Intel, HSBC and Air China among its corporate clients.
Hauss maintained that Club Med’s competitors are not other luxury properties.
We are not Ritz Carlton, we don’t want to be Ritz Carlton with all the luxury. We are there to have fun, foster creativity.
Unlike other hotel and resort properties, Club Med does not have a presence on online travel agencies (OTA). “Compared to other hotels, when people book a holiday, the purchasing journey is they pick the destination and then the hotel. [With] Club Med, it’s the opposite, they want to go to Club Med, and then pick the destination,” said Hauss.
The exclusivity factor, as well as the location of many Club Med resorts outside of tourist belts, make it easier for corporate clients to carry out incentive trips and gain PR mileage along the way.
“When you privatise the whole resort, you can brand it as you want. [One of] the bosses in the end told me in the end it’s the marketing expense, because we put the logos everywhere [in the property],” said Hauss. “The participants took so many photos and posted on social media, helping to show off the brand."