FOXTROTS

Fox – sly.  Trots – left-leaning (Trotsky) plus its more insalubrious meaning.

Foxtrots – leading the industry in a dance.

 

Taiwan Update.

We were invited to Taiwan as part of a group of MICE media. This is our report. Other related reports on Taiwan have appeared in the Travel Business Analyst newsletters, on travelbusinessanalyst.com, and in the Trottings blog.

 

Quick Train Trip:

Daily ridership on THSR (Taiwan High Speed Rail), running Taipei-Kaohsiung, is about 130,000 on about 135 departures daily.

 

It decimated air travel; half the air routes between Taipei and the country’s western cities had been discontinued. Total domestic air traffic was expected to be halved and the last Taipei-Kaohsiung flight stopped in 2012.

 

It also affected other modes of transport:

 

-After THSR started, non-high-speed traffic Taipei-Kaohsiung fell 10%. We are surprised it was not more. So this probably indicates that THSR took most of its traffic from air, but see also next.

-The parallel expressway also lost 10% of its traffic, and long-distance bus companies lost 20-30%.

 

 

 

Humble House:

The Humble House hotel opened in December. Its appearance and style shows its independence – which can sometimes be a disadvantage.

 

For a start, its name is wrong for its targetted international audience. It sounds more like, well a house and 2/3-stars – rather than the slick modern 4-star hotel that it actually is.

 

The HH is located in Taipei’s Xinyi financial district, which means 40 minutes from Taipei’s international airport. It has 235 rooms, including 10 suites, plus a ballroom that can accommodate nearly 1000 guests.

 

A standard 26m2 room costs US$395 (NT$12,000).

 

Given the quality of its hardware, the hotel should do well – although those rack rates are on a high side for a non-chain hotel. If business is not so good, however, it will be partly because of a marketing weakness – starting with that name.

 

 

 

MICE:

In 2009 Taiwan’s ministry of economic affairs started a 4-year “advancement program” for the MICE business. The specific objectives were not clear, and so even less clear if they were achieved.

 

But at end-2013, a bureau (for foreign trade; BOFT) launched a 3-year follow-on program – ‘Taiwan’s MICE industry Pilot Program’, what we call MIPP – for 2013-16.

 

MIPP aims to steer Taiwan’s MICE industry onto the global stage, with its strong government support. The objectives are:

-“to turn Taiwan into a leader of excellent MICE services,

-“to elevate the quality and efficiency of MICE services,

-“to hone Taiwan’s international image and competitive edge as a MICE brand,

-“to make the destination one of the top for MICE business.” Unfortunately, a measureless target, because Taiwan MICE is already “one of the top” – but top-500, top-100, top-10, top-5? According to ICCA measures (albeit on only one, small, segment of MICE) Taiwan is about 7th in Asia Pacific.

 

Unfortunately, as with the first program, many of these objectives are difficult of impossible to measure clearly. And so results will be similarly difficult to measure.

 

Now in its second year, and as part of their promotional efforts, Taitra (Taiwan External Trade Development Council, which is implementing this pilot program) has created the ‘Meet Taiwan’ logo, planned international marketing campaigns and domestic promotion, and set up a cloud MICE portal.

 

MIPP introduced some marketing slogans:

-Meet Taiwan; Love At First Sight. General.

-Meet Passion; Encounter Taiwan’s Splendid Life. For the M(eetings) and I(ncentive) segments of MICE.

-Meet Inspiration; Listen To Your Idea. For the C(onference/congress/convention).

-Meet Expo; Come Together In Taiwan’s Exhibition. For the E(xhibition).

 

Unfortunately, the English-language translations of these slogans seem unlikely to have the desired effect.

 

Other Taitra activities:

-Organises attendance at some MICE exhibitions, ICCA/UFI events.

-Runs road shows. However, in 2013 Taitra ran only two overseas promotions – one in Indonesia (which has not much potential), and only one in China.

We would have thought there would be potential for at least two road shows in China annually, and/or to other Chinese-ethnic markets such as Hong Kong and Singapore.

Taiwan has probably gained from the China-v-Japan political squabble. In 2013, for instance, McDonald’s China held a business meeting–cum-incentive travel for 2500 management-level staff.

-Organises Fam Tours, in which Travel Business Analyst has participated.

-Publishes ‘Green MICE Guidelines’. In 2013, five events applied these.

-Issues the Meet Taiwan discount card. It forecast 60,000 would be issued but it was wrong; about 105,000 had been issued by end-2013.

-Also, subsidises new conventions and exhibitions, does industry research (including surveys).

 

Other support for MICE from the government:

-Established an annual awards program in 2013 – to incentivise Taiwan’s MICE industry. The first, held last September, had seven award categories.

-Introduced a training and certification program – notably with a CEM (Certified in Exhibition Management) and CMP (Certified Meeting Professional) diploma. So far, about 45 CEMs and 20 CMPs have been awarded.

-Introduced a marketing contest with 15 places of learning – most in Taiwan, but also in Hong Kong, Malaysia, Thailand.

-Training courses, not just in Taipei, but also Hsinchu, Kaohsiung, Taichung, Tainan, Taitung.

 

MICE market measures:

-34% growth in exhibition space sales over 2008-12.

-Hosted 74 exhibitions, up 1.6%, in 2012 – making it 6th in Asia.

-2013 C and E ‘output’ (not clearly defined) US$1.1bn (NT$33.8bn).

 

Taiwan’s DMO (destination marketing organisation) has carried out some surveys. We have extracted the conference and exhibition MICE segments of the visitor market. Findings:

-Visitors who had seen advertisements or read reports about Taiwan before visiting – all types of visitors 63%, MICE (just C & E segments; likewise for rest of this section) 49%.

-Spent their spare time on sightseeing during their visit in Taiwan – all 58%, MICE 89%.

-Made trip as a “group tour arranged through a travel agency” – all 40%, MICE 3%.

-First time to Taiwan – all 68%, MICE 66%.

-Daily spend – all US$234, MICE US$213. Most observers maintain that MICE visitors spend more. The DMO had no comment on this contrary finding.

-Spend breakdown – hotel (all 32% share, MICE 52%), meals (all 13%, MICE 13%), local transport (all 10%, MICE 8%), entertainment (all 8%, MICE 4%), shopping (all 36%, MICE 20%), miscellaneous (all 1%, MICE 2%).

-Applied for tax refund – all 15%, MICE 7%. Thought tax-refund procedures were convenient – all 93%, MICE 100%.

 

 

 

Kaohsiung:

Taiwan’s up-and-coming MICE destination.

About Kaohsiung MICE locations:

-ICCK. Seating capacity 1500 guests.
-Kaohsiung Arena. Seating capacity 15,000 guests.
-Kaohsiung World Games Stadium. Seating capacity 55,000 guests.

-KEC. Seating capacity 3800 guests and 1716 3x3m booths.

 

International Convention Center Kaohsiung:

ICCK is government owned and privately managed by the Grand Conference Management Company. The venue is more reminiscent of the 1980s than its fresh and modern sibling, the KEC, see next. Yet the ICCK is notable for its enthusiastic managers, dynamic young staff, and pro-active role in practising green MICE.

 

It is located by the popular ‘Love River’. Once you step outside you’re in the heart of Kaohsiung, amid the bustling city or the siesta-inducing sea breeze, depending on the time of day, and not a hike away from a shop, bus, or bench.

 

About ICCK:

-32 meeting rooms (capacity from 20 to 1500 guests), space for 380 3x3m booths, banquet hall, lecture hall.

-A catering company based in the centre caters for the ICCK and private parties.

-Taken over in 2012, the renovation period lasted eight months. Grand held 750 events in its first year of management (almost comprising all-2013); it projects double that this year.

 

Kaohsiung Exhibition Center:

KEC, the first conference centre managed by Uniplan, a Taiwan-Germany joint-venture, is due to open this month – on the 14th. It has signed a 12-year management contract for the government-owned centre.

 

Located on the waterfront, where a pleasure port and luxury-yacht manufacturing centre are planned. The KEC is a 10min walk from metro station – a design fault, as it should have its own station.

 

About KEC:

-On the ground floor, the showground, with glass panels on either side of the halls, can be opened onto the esplanade. Floor space 18,000m2, with a capacity for 1024 3x3m booths.

-On the 2nd floor are a media centre and a business room.

-On the 3rd floor, five conference halls, two of which, with their moveable panels, can merge. Their combined floor space of 3400m2 provides 3600-seats plus nine meeting rooms with 210m2 floor space providing 120-seats

-Until now Uniplan has done event management.

 

 

Notes: Other related reports on Taiwan have appeared in the Travel Business Analyst newsletters, on travelbusinessanalyst.com, and in the Trottings blog.

 

 

 

The Fox