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60 seconds with… M&IW’s Paulomi Debnath

After 15 years in hotel sales for brands including Hilton, Radisson, Corinthia and Starwood, Paulomi Debnath moved into global hotels and venues procurement in 2016 for US event agency Meetings & Incentives Worldwide (M&IW). M&IW was a client that Paulomi managed for several years and when they approached her for the role, it was an ideal opportunity to step out of her comfort zone and join the other side. Being an explorer at heart, planning the next trip, be it for work or pleasure, will always be Paulomi’s passion.

Brand promise
M&IW is a progressive meeting, incentive and conference management company, headquartered in Wisconsin with offices across the US, UK, Singapore and Brazil, that believes live meetings and events transform organisations. As a strategic partner and service provider in events management, M&IW is privileged to work with some of the most recognised companies across the globe to help them source and execute successful events.

What’s trending in 2018
Clients are choosing quality and exclusivity over ‘run of the mills’ choices. Smaller and individual hotels brands have the stage now. A few second-tier destinations are also stealing the limelight now as clients are becoming more and more accommodating of extra flight connections to get better deals in offbeat locations. Examples include historical sites in central and south-west India, mountain sites in Nepal or China, countries like Bhutan or Sri Lanka, or cities like Reykjavik, Seville, Verona, and Krakow.

Luxury defined in 140 characters
Luxury is getting the right balance of culture and personalised service. For me, luxury travel represents the most unique experiences that create lifelong memories.

Townhouse or treehouse?
I have always been a city girl with the country at heart. Whenever we get a chance, we disappear to remote corners in the country – Cotswolds, Lake District, Scottish hide-out….

The bucket list
Oman, for history, culture and diversity, Machu Picchu in Peru, Cuba, Japan and the Great Wall of China.

Last meal
A little local Peruvian restaurant. It was a family meal, full of flavour and texture, and we enjoyed the cosy atmosphere.

Aperol or agua?
Mojito. My hubby is a former bartender, so I am truly spoiled. It is hard to beat his Mojito as he knows the real mix of ingredients that I like.

Old fave
Corinthia Hotel London. That hotel has my heart and I fear, it will remain there for a long time! It’s simple and classical, with an amazing team, superb food and an absolutely stunning lobby. PS: Do try their hot chocolate in the Lobby Lounge! (it comes with three individual little pots with dark chocolate, white chocolate and marshmallows… just divine!)

Proud moment
Being part of two ‘Grand’ hotel openings in UK and establishing a very contrasting MICE market for each. One being a ‘game changer’ in the London luxury hotel scene and the other being one of the top ranking iconic golf resorts in the world. I consider myself extremely lucky to have these valuable experiences under my belt which enriched me in so many ways.

Bragging rights…
I have been very fortunate to meet several celebrities in my past roles as part of London’s luxury hotel scene. Though I cannot brag as they were our clients and even now it feels a little wrong. However, in my current role, I have been invited to a Lady Gaga concert in Chicago and was fortunate to have a seat right in front. That evening was marvellous and one of the best!!

It’s all in the detail…
Local knowledge is key. There is no doubt that the local team, be it a hotel’s concierge or local DMC, can be the missing piece in transforming an event from being moderately successful to being truly memorable.

What inspires you?
My family – my amazing mother, my very knowledgeable sister, my little boy, who can light up my day any time with his naughty antics, and last but not the least my ever-supportive husband. They say that behind every successful man there is a woman. I would say the opposite is as much true if not more. My husband keeps me grounded, happy and never lets me become too serious.

Final word…
We collectively have the responsibility to be respectful of local cultures and embrace their hospitality. Let us always leave a smile behind.

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