As it works to increase its global presence in all sectors of the tour and travel business, and in the wake of a restructuring initiative it launched at the beginning of 2019, Japan’s JTB Group has decided to place responsibility to drive its fairly new business vertical, Strategic Meetings Management (SMM), in the Asia Pacific region, including Japan, to their India subsidiary, JTB India. Its office is located in Gurgaon is a city just southwest of New Delhi in northern India. The move is could result in an increase in outbound MICE traffic to the U.S.
It was only at the beginning of 2018 that the company started looking at the SMM program seriously as a business vertical, reports the TravelBizMonitor. “It’s a fairly established business in the U.S. and Europe, but SMM is a new concept in Japan and APAC. We want to strengthen our hold in the SMM business in APAC, including Japan through India,” Norio Nakamura, managing director of JTB India, told the publication.
Globally, JTB has restructured its travel business by bringing the entire outbound MICE business under the Global Business Solutions division. SMM is a major focus vertical under the Global Business Solutions, Anil Srinivasan, executive director of JTB India said.
As part of strengthening their hold in the SMM business, JTB India has signed up with Cvent, an integrated technology provider for the events industry globally—it is headquartered in McLean, Virginia—for its “Gold Partnership” to provide advanced technology solutions to customers. JTB India has been working closely with Cvent since 2014, but decided to take it to newer heights by signing for the “Gold Partnership” from January 1, 2019 with some “exclusivity.” This partnership will give JTB India support in terms of technology tools ranging from venue sourcing to event registration to mobile apps, data analytics, etc.
Asked about the outbound MICE business from India, Srinivasan said that 2018 has been quite good for the company with 70 percent growth in the top line. While 30 percent of the business revenue is contributed by high-value Japanese corporate clients, he said that the rest is Indian corporate business.
When asked about the prospects for 2019, Srinivasan said that despite the upcoming elections, the MICE pipeline for the first half of the year is robust, he added.