by clicking the arrows at the side of the page, or by using the toolbar.
by clicking anywhere on the page.
by dragging the page around when zoomed in.
by clicking anywhere on the page when zoomed in.
web sites or send emails by clicking on hyperlinks.
Email this page to a friend
Search this issue
Index - jump to page or section
Archive - view past issues
Mice Asia Net : January 2010
miceAsia.net 17 Q&A been the most dramatically affected. The groups, the meetings, and the incentives, were the first things that were cancelled [in the financial crisis], and so we’re continuing to do our best to get that business back and give them reasons to come back. It is very challenging because I think that many people [and companies] are in a wait and see mode. Q: Do you anticipate a return to pre-2009 MICE bookings in 2010 or will it take a bit longer? A: [Jean] I would say September. We’re not seeing a great amount of activity in the booking level back to where it was in 06 and 07, and it is still very challenging and it is very competitive. Q: With so much competition how does Peninsula differentiate its brand from other hotels and resorts? A: [Jean] As always we’re about the history and heritage and delivering the service levels that have come to be expected at Peninsula. I think when people think of Peninsula they think of something very glamorous and very prestigious so when it’s an important meeting or an exceptional incentive for a reward I think Peninsula is the perfect fit when you want to have that type of presence. And really our brand represents that. In most cases in cities where we’re competing we can be competitive and we have that extra edge of having the most sophisticated facilities and technology and the service to back it up. Q: You are opening a Peninsula in Paris in 2012. While the Peninsula brand is well known in Asia, is it as well known in Europe? What strategies do you have in place to achieve brand recognition? A: [Jean] For Paris it’s going to be interesting to see. We’re not going to have extensive meeting facilities. And it’s a hotel of only 200 rooms, which is a very good size for Europe in general because a lot of hotels in Europe are much smaller [than in Asia]. We will definitely be looking at the exclusive events, the executive events, the very senior incentive programs for that hotel as well. Our entry into Europe is very exciting for us to help create that brand awareness of Peninsula in that market. Q: How many properties do you now have? A: [Jean] We currently have nine hotels. Paris will be our tenth. [Malcolm] Shanghai has just opened. That was our ninth. That soft opened in October 2009. Q: What makes a loyal customer? A: [Malcolm] It’s all about the experience and all about making the customer’s experience personal. That’s why we place so much importance on our staff and initially selecting the right people, and making sure we nurture and take care of them. We are known as a group of hotels where the staff have tremendous loyalty. When people do come back they recognise familiar faces, and the guests are recognised too so they feel very much like they are coming home and being cared for as individuals. Even though we deal with hundreds of people each week, it’s that knack of making the individual [the customer] feel important and valued. Q: What about a loyal conference or incentive travel customer? A: [Malcolm] In terms of conference customers, of course destination plays a big part, and I think that you don’t necessarily see the same conference coming back every year because they like to look for different locations. You do see the same companies promoting our hotels [in different destinations], and the word of mouth spreads that we have a good conference venue or a good incentive venue. And you know if you take the individual customer, Peninsula Hotels doesn’t have a loyalty program as such, and so when you think about the support the hotels get from companies it speaks volumes about how Peninsula is perceived. I know in Tokyo I get customers who may use a Hyatt property in another city but when they come to Tokyo they stay in Peninsula. It’s because of the brand and the experience they get. Q: China is perceived as a growth market. Is this true with Peninsula Hotels? A: [Jean] I would have to agree with you that China is a growth market. And it’s very true for us. In the past couple of years, especially into Hong Kong, we’ve seen that market really start to grow for us, and now it accounts for about 13 per cent of our business for Peninsula Hong Kong. From a corporate perspective our branding push in terms of advertising and events will be much more China focused in 2010, especially with the opening of our hotel in Shanghai. It’s a long term investment. It’s not going to happen overnight, and I’m not expecting to see huge returns straight away but we are starting to solidify those relationships in China now so as the market becomes more sophisticated they will understand the Peninsula brand and make it their brand of choice. Jean Forest is the general manager marketing of The Peninsula Hotels and Malcolm Thompson is general manager of The Peninsula Tokyo. We definitely have an optimistic outlook, and we feel that we’re over the hump... we do anticipate that things will continue to improve in 2010.