The rolling launch of meetinthailand.com, Thailand’s first and only in-depth, interactive online portal for the meetings, incentives, conventions and exhibitions (MICE) industry – has now been completed, following its ‘soft’ regional launch in Phuket in November 2016.
According to Grenville Fordham, founder and Managing Director of Image Asia Events (IMAGE asia), the company behind meetinthailand.com, the website now hosts detailed business profiles of approximately 600 MICE suppliers, including 320 hotels with MICE facilities, as well as exhibition/convention centres, DMCs, tour operators, event organisers, restaurants and more – spread across nine areas of the country: Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Pattaya, Phuket and Koh Samui plus the wider regions of central, north, northeast and south Thailand.
“Obviously, we’re still in the early stages of reaching out to national and international MICE buyers – who this MICE portal is designed for – but even during our rolling launch phase, we’re seeing satisfying growth in visitors per month (at around 250% from January to June 2017) to what is, after all, a very niche website,” said Markus Vogt, IMAGE asia’s Business Development Manager who leads the MICE project team.
According to Vogt, the next phase of development is about encouraging more hotels, venues and other suppliers to upgrade their profiles to include more detailed information, multimedia products and downloadable brochures, menus etc, while ramping up the promotion to MICE buyers using a combination of industry targeted marketing and SEO tools.
“Our objective is to give venues and suppliers in Thailand’s MICE and weddings industries an opportunity to showcase their offerings in a detailed, searchable, multimedia environment, which they can access and update themselves using comprehensive, secure back end tools,” said Vogt, adding, “For buyers in these industries, meetinthailand.com represents a unique opportunity to preselect venues and other event suppliers – based on easily accessible, hard information.”
This comprehensive website is not just about providing information – although it does that in a big way! The range of buyers’ ‘tools’ is also impressive. There’s a buyers’ ‘Wish List’ (a kind of shopping basket) that allows you to save possible options as you browse and – really important – your choices are saved for next time you log on. Then there’s the automated ‘Request For Proposal’ (RFP) feature that sends a detailed enquiry direct to your short list of suppliers in the ‘Wish List’ with a single click – a real timesaver. The last item in the toolkit is the interactive checklist that helps you keep track – all in the same secure online location – of all the details while planning an event. meetinthailand.comdoes seem to have thought of everything.
The online ‘toolkit for buyers and suppliers’ and the supplier business profiles are not all. The website is a continuously updated source of destination information, as well as tips and tricks for a successful event in Thailand. Last but not least, there are news pages that represent an impressive aggregator of news relevant to anyone planning an event in Thailand.
“I’ve seen event buyers waste time and money on inspection trips to Thailand, armed with inadequate information,” said Fordham, adding, “The fundamental proposition of meetinthailand.com is that no buyer should need to travel to Thailand on an inspection trip without a meaningful shortlist of venues, suppliers and opportunities preselected on the basis of comprehensive, up-to-date information – and with a file of real time quotations/proposals in hand.”