While international hotel chains court the lucrative MICE market with versatile initiatives and branded images, mid-size hotels in Hong Kong are meeting the challenges by offering alternative cost-effective choices.
Sino Group of Hotels manages four properties in Hong Kong – The Royal Pacific Hotel & Towers, City Garden, Island Pacific and Hong Kong Gold Coast, which focuses on “meetings and incentives” due to limited function spaces.
Since opening in 1995, the Gold Coast remains a popular choice for MICE activities with key selling points including its beach-front location, 10-acre subtropical greenery garden, pillar-free Grand Ballroom and high-rope course that favours teambuilding activities.
General manager Robert Hon says: “MICE business can account for up to 30 per cent of overall business and has been growing steadily this year. Large-scale business [80-100 rooms per night] originates mainly from the US and Europe, but it has declined recently. Small-scale business [30-50 rooms per night] remains strong in Asia, particularly China.”
To cope with competition from upmarket hotels, each property has reacted with different strategies.
City Garden Hotel focuses in attractive rates and value-added offers targeted at small and medium-size groups, whereas Island Pacific Hotel provides tailor-made transport arrangements, contemporary in-room amenities and internet connectivity.
Royal Pacific Hotels and Towers provides corporate clients with internet access in guest rooms and the meeting venue. In addition, four new themed breaks will be introduced in the fourth quarter of this year with activities such as tai chi classes, greenery walks and cooking classes. Dora Liu, vice-president, sales, at Regal Hotels International, says: “On average, MICE accounts for around 15-20 per cent of our revenues. We are focusing our sales team to penetrate emerging MICE markets including Russia, India, Vietnam and the Netherlands.
“With our new strategy, we have confidence in positive growth in 2012, not only because of the growing market trend, but also we have the focus and commitment of service delivery.”
The Royal Plaza Hotel competes with 5-star brands by offering tailor-made packages with competitive prices and flexible policies.
William Chan Ka-shing, its director of sales and marketing, says: “We constantly participate in MICE exhibitions and trade shows to gain exposure. By proactively visiting the regional offices of potential clients, we have created a positive impression and our hotel would be one of the MICE venues for consideration when the opportunity arises.