Interview with Claude Micallef, Sales Director, Bateaux MouchesRanvir Nayar September-October 2019 Interview
Claude Micallef, sales director, Bateaux Mouches speaks with India Outbound about their plans for the Indian market this year and their future plans to keep up with the changing demands.
How has the year 2019 been for Bateaux Mouches globally?
It has been a very good year again for us, with a very strong growth in events, notably with lots of soirées on board or on rooftops with reputed DJs.
How has Indian market performed so far?
We continue to grow in India and have a dedicated sales team for that market. We have welcomed this year a number of gala evenings for Indian groups, notably with vegetarian and non-vegetarian options of Indian buffets. We have also had numerous evening parties in the presence of Bollywood DJs and we hope to do many more of these in the year ahead.
What is your plan for 2020 vis-a-vis India?
We have always been to India frequently to stay close to our clientele and to be able to understand, first hand, their needs and expectations. This allows us to be responsive and flexible to adjust to their special needs and requests. We would like to develop further the concept of gala evenings with Indian clients. We are also very keen to host some Indian weddings on board as this is again a very promising niche.
What are the novelties that you are planning to introduce for a global audience as well as for the Indian travellers?
We would like to dedicate some time to improve the Bateaux Mouches experience even further, with a new image and more warm and welcoming look and feel on our boats and of course focus on our famous cuisine and keep on innovating it further. We have always excelled in customising the offers as per the demands and expectations of the clients and we will continue to improve our capacities in this domain as well and ensure that our team can respond to all the needs of customers in terms of decor, ambience or cuisine.
How was the Indian menu received?
The clients loved the Indian buffets for their varieties and finesse and of course the innovations that our chefs experimented with. We are able to customise the Indian buffet for privatisations with even Jain menus, should the client so demand.
How do you keep a check on the pulse of the Indian market? As India is a young country, so the youth of today may not like the same thing what their parents and grandparents liked when they came here 40 years ago? What are the changing demands of the Indian market?
Talking about the youth, they are getting married, so we are actually organising the weddings here as well, for 500 people or 1,000 people and like an Indian wedding. We are going to have some animations as well, which have been booked, and they are essentially for the youth. And when you actually show them what the animations are possible around the company Bateaux Mouches on all these sites, they know that it is not a has-been place, but a trendy place today.
How are you reaching the FIT market directly or more through B2B?
I believe the Indian market is still in this kind of business, getting to a good travel agency, wants to be secure. It’s like a cocoon, they need to be sure of what they will get. As long as they are paying for something, you need to deliver. So, they go to a good travel agency to be secure. So, we still work like this. And of course, for the adventurous and more aware travellers, we have our website as well.
Are you also tapping the tier II cities in India to capture that market?
Yes, Ahmedabad, Surat, Hyderabad, Chandigarh, Pune, Chennai, Lucknow, all these cities are also being targeted. And a few more to be added in the coming few years. Nobody is left aside.
What is your strategy to keep growing in India?
Like I say, to be innovative around the sites. You can be the best, but if you don’t show yourself in many countries, if you don’t promote your sites, nobody will notice you. If it is India or any other country, it is the same kind of promotion, same kind of strategy