In a bid to circumvent ongoing travel restrictions and social
distancing regulations, a few of Hong Kong's heritage hotels have
strategised new incentive offers to attract local corporates.
Heritage Tourism Brands comprises Hong Kong-based hospitality brands
including Harilela Hotels, The Langham Hotels & Resorts, Mandarin
Oriental Hotel Group, Shangri-La Hotels & Resorts, Swire Hotels, The
Peninsula Hotels, and Wharf Hotels. The alliance was formed in 2019
with the aim to demonstrate how Hong Kong remains a top choice for
business, leisure and MICE travellers.
“This spirit of the collaboration continues through the power of one
voice in working with government entities and the Hong Kong Tourism
Board, as well as identifying partnerships with credit card companies
and the like”, Jennifer Cronin, president of Wharf Hotels, and chair of
the Heritage Tourism Brands, told M&C Asia.
Unique incentive experiences to reward employees
Many hotels have offered discounted staycation packages throughout
the year — but how are they ramping up for corporate events and business
According to Juergen Doerr, Shangri-La Group’s vice president,
operations (Hong Kong and Taiwan), promoting unique and heritage-first
experiences can help boost interest from local corporates.
“[We’re offering] a harbour cruise in a heritage junk boat to
experience the landmarks of Hong Kong before returning to the hotel to
sample a specially curated menu by our chef’s team, showcasing the old
and new faces of Hong Kong." There's also the option of a
cocktail-making class helmed by award-winning bartenders.
As for Hong Kong’s oldest hotel and the brand’s flagship, The
Peninsula, is offering experiential journeys such as a historical hotel
tour, motoring tour and aviation history tour.
The Peninsula Academy for instance, offers incentive planners a
choice of bespoke programmes which include "unprecedented access to
historical, cultural and local lifestyle experiences," according to the
hotel's director of sales and marketing, Eric Poon. Think Chinese stamp
and mahjong engraving, culinary classes such as dim sum making and more.
Poon added that staycation packages with dining experiences have been
well-received by corporate planners.
As for ensuring safe play in Covid times, Poon said the hotel is
"agile in responding to any updates to social-distancing regulations by
being flexible and adaptable to venue setup, changes to venue options,
flexible on pricing, using guest rooms for groups”.
The Langham, Hong Kong is also opening up its venues to “catch the
business trend”. “Incentive qualifiers can also enjoy more exclusive
experiences, which were not offered for private use in the past,
including privatisation of our rooftop pool area for alfresco cocktails," Jaly Lai, director of sales & marketing,
Meanwhile, The Murray, Hong Kong, a Niccolo Hotel, is offering
meditation workshops, outdoor yoga classes at The Arches, bootcamps in
the hotel’s neighbouring Hong Kong Park, and cooking classes with chefs.
Tailored experiences, such as a perfume bar with customised, printed
logos can also be arranged.
Marco Polo Hotels – Hong Kong is offering staycations, F&B
rewards and 10 themed coffee breaks including Green Farm, Going Local
and Healthy Essential for corporates to choose from to aid meetings.
Customised logos on food are also available upon request. “Meeting
rewards are also provided for group bookings with 10 guest rooms or
above, a list of attractive incentives featuring double Marco Polo
Rewards points, Star Ferry four-days passes and the hotel’s lunch buffet
for two. Special gifts including iWatch and MacBook Air will also be
rewarded for bookings achieving the target spend."
Boutique-sized corporate offers are also prioritised as a result of
the social distancing regulations, where larger groups have had to scale
down for safety measures. The Murray is using dividable rooms while
Marco Polo Hotels – Hong Kong has lowered the minimum number of guest
rooms for MICE events from 10 to five rooms as part of group promotions.
Shangri-La Group is promoting its Work Away From Office experience,
which includes day use of the guest rooms and in-room dining
Gearing up for hybrid meetings
As restrictions remain uncertain, hotels prepare for a positive 2021
with carefully-curated packages that follow stringent health and safety
measures in line with government regulations.
“We’re preparing for 2021 by keeping close contact with clients
through virtual appointments and sales events and working closely with
the tourism board for overseas promotions and market exposure,” shared
Shangri-La's Doerr, who added that the group is currently working on
internal training to strengthen skills and knowledge to prepare for the
return of MICE clients.
“The Peninsula is working with suppliers to ensure the most
up-to-date technology and communication infrastructure are in place to
cater to client’s need for virtual or hybrid meetings and events”, said
Similarly, The Langham Hong Kong is focusing on Hybrid Meetings which
comply with social distancing and contact tracing measures, while
providing all the essential equipment for meetings including high-speed
internet, video cameras and speakerphones.
“We have enhanced our meeting packages with the highest standard of
biosecurity protocols, in consideration of possible last-minute changes
due to the current pandemic situation, and flexible attrition and
cancellation policies have been updated to ensure guests are comfortable
to book and plan in advance,” said Wharf Hotels' Cronin. Intimate
fireside chats and digital meetings will be at the forefront. Wellness
will also be incorporated in packages, including the Wellness Meeting
Package and Hassle-Free Meeting Package to redefine meetings.
An encouraging outlook for 2021
So far, the responses have been positive and more boutique corporate offers are in the pipeline.
“It is a new direction to target boutique event offers while adhering
to government regulations, company restrictions and new technology
standards”, said Shangri-La's Doerr, who told M&C Asia that already,
requests have come in for Q2 2021 and beyond.
“Small and medium size of groups, particularly those requiring
bespoke tailoring or where the organiser wishes to have a sophisticated
virtual or in-person experience, is also a key focus for our hotel”,
said The Peninsula's Poon. "We have received small incentive groups from
companies in Hong Kong to reward their staff with staycations and
dining experiences such as Afternoon Tea and Michelin-starred dinners”.
For The Langham, Hong Kong, bookings have come in for small-scale
team-building workshops, with possible plans to privatise an entire
guest room floor and use that to house a series of pop-up stores.
Wharf Hotels has continued to receive domestic business enquiries and
secured bookings at mainland China properties since 2020. “The
restrictions in Hong Kong are still in place, so we see fewer bookings
as clients will await group meetings based on these restrictions. On the
other hand, we have received wedding and social event bookings which
continue to be appealing and have a strong demand in our markets, albeit
with a slightly reduced capacity to ensure compliance with
regulations”, said Cronin.
Further in the region, The Murray has picked Singapore to do its
first e-Sales mission to reach out to corporate clients. This will be
done via a live streaming virtual hotel tour to enhance the hotel’s
exposure and reconnect with their existing corporate network and new
Still, in the short term, worldwide travel restrictions mean Heritage
Tourism Brands will still focus on "providing engaging content and
opportunities for local residents to experience staycations... as we
await to welcome back overseas travellers again,” said Cronin.