by Patricia Wee | March 20, 2020
pwChinaHotels200320
Pudong skyline: hotels turn to domestic MICE. Credit: Getty images

SHANGHAI - With inbound travel demand in the doldrums, Shanghai hotels are coming up with innovative ways of sustaining business.  Besides following the recommended procedures and protocols of the World Health Organisation and local health authorities, many are going the extra mile to differentiate themselves from others.

At Grand Hyatt Shanghai in Pudong, Ms Yvonne Shen, director of sales and marketing, said: "All of our hotel colleagues have been carefully briefed on this situation, and on the importance of personal hygiene as the most effective way to prevent the spread of the illness.

"For precautionary measures, the event team has designed new layout of meeting set-ups and individual coffee breaks to ensure a safe and comfortable environment for our guests."

The hotel is also embracing for new trends of meetings by introducing videoconferencing meetings to clients. Extra precautionary measures have been introduced at all event spaces, including the placement of hand sanitisers near the reception, conducting mandatory temperature checks, among others.

Over at Pudong Shangri-La ecologically sustainable options for MICE planners have been introduced to support the city's environmental goals. By positioning itself as a Sustainable Events venue, the hotel aims to target corporations which are looking for hotels that operate a responsible business.

The hotel's spokesperson, Ms Jasmine Ye, said: "We are in touch with our partners in not only offering our Shangri-La Service from the heart but also our care for the environment with our Ecologically Sustainable Events Packages.

"Ecologically Sustainable Events encompass 3 tiers of meeting packages: Sustainable Plus Package, Sustainable Premium Package and Sustainable Deluxe Package.

"Domestic MICE is the focus now since domestic business within China is quite active. Occupancy is low, just like all the other hotels in Shanghai, but Pudong Shangri-La is quite lucky that we have a crew business which (has) helped our business during this time."

At press time, there had been no new domestically transmitted cases of COVID-19 on the Chinese mainland, claims China's health authorities. All 39 newly confirmed COVID-19 cases on the Chinese mainland on Thursday were imported. Of them, 14 were reported in Guangdong province, eight in Shanghai, six in Beijing. Ironically, many expatriates returning to the mainland are now citing China as a safer place to be.