DELHI: The ban on selling liquor near highways has had an additional fallout: meetings and conferences, which account for a sizeable chunk of the hospitality business, are being cancelled.
The Orchid Mumbai Vile Parle, close to the airport, has been served a notice to not sell liquor because of its proximity to the highway, reports The Economic Times. As a result, about six conferences and events planned at The Orchid this month have been cancelled.
“Hotels like ours are positioned as business hotels and have facilities in place for conducting such events. This is not just loss of business but loss of face,” said Vishal Kamat, director of the Kamat Group, which owns the hotel.
In the industrial town of Manesar in Gurgaon district, 14 conferences for April alone have been cancelled at the Select Group’s Heritage Village Resort & Spa, which is close to NH8.
Arjun Sharma, managing director of the Select Group, said there’s been a 50% drop in upcoming bookings and business enquiries at the resort for the coming months.
“Meetings, conferences and events contribute about 70% to our turnover,” said Sharma.
Meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions, known as the MICE segment, is a critical revenue generator for hotels and is showing visible signs of distress two weeks after the Supreme Court’s March 31 ban on liquor sales near highways. Business events and conferences scheduled in hotels and resorts close to highways are getting cancelled and even moving to other countries.
A business meeting scheduled at a major Indian hotel chain in Chennai has now moved to Sri Lanka, according to people familiar with the development.
“MICE was becoming an attractive revenue generator for hotels in the face of stagnant average room rates. In state capitals like Delhi, Mumbai and Bengaluru, MICE could constitute 18-20% of the overall business,” said hospitality expert Abhijit Umathe. “F&B operations from MICE is a big revenue driver.”