Are you seeing signs of a meetings or incentive market rebound for 2010? What does it look like quarter by quarter? How about for 2011?
As a true incentive has a qualification period prior to trip delivery, we do not see a return of incentives for 2010. We are now seeing some requests for 2011, but rather modest ones. We do believe that some corporations are offering more individual incentives because the participants are less visible (it's more of a perception issue). The challenge is that we are unable to track these since they are being booked as individual leisure travelers.
What types of business /programs seem to be strongest for 2010?
We do see some opportunities for global partner meetings or for corporations that need to hold a meeting for their European constituents. The direct-selling companies are probably one of our best targets at the moment as during poor economic times, people look to supplement their incomes, or if they have lost their positions, they may become direct sellers.
However, Monaco's strongest sectors for incentives had been from the financial, insurance, and automotive companies, and all of those have been under tremendous public scrutiny.
Are you dealing with different kinds of meeting decision-makers, perhaps more third parties? Or people within companies who carry titles other than meeting planner?
I don't see a shift in the types of decision-makers.
Will the deals and promotions from 2009 carry into 2010?
What many are unaware of is the value that Monaco presents today. In fact, the consumer publication New York magazine just included Monaco in an article of great winter getaways, called “Luxe for Less.”
Monaco continues to offer U.S. dollar-guaranteed meeting and incentive packages, currently with pricing through the end of 2011. And for programs that represent a minimum of 160 room nights at our smaller hotels or 400 room nights at our larger properties, the government will even host a complimentary champagne cocktail reception.
Finally, VAT [value-added tax] can be reclaimed on programs in Monaco. This applies also to insurance companies that cannot reclaim in France.