Spreading the cheer: Hong Kong

From left: The Hong Kong Observation Wheel at Central Piers; event delegates raising a toast at the Hong Kong Jockey Club

MEHK has made its incentive programme for groups and organisers more accessible than ever, benefitting even smaller gatherings. By Prudence Lui

While Hong Kong’s business events arrivals have enjoyed steady growth in 2016 – up four per cent year-on-year in the first three quarters of the year to reach 1.16 million visitors – Hong Kong Tourism Board’s Meetings & Exhibitions Hong Kong (MEHK) division has discovered that group sizes are shrinking.

To support these small- to medium-sized gatherings and to enhance their experience in Hong Kong, MEHK is revising its Hong Kong Rewards! programme for 2017/2018 to make some of its highly sought-after offers available to smaller groups.

Also, even more attractive offers are added to the programme.

Unlike last year’s edition, Hong Kong Rewards! for 2017/2018 will feature more entertainment options that will allow business event delegates to enjoy the destination like a local.

One of the major additions is free access to the Hong Kong Jockey Club’s Happy Wednesday party at the Beer Garden, where business event delegates can dive into free food and beer while dancing to great live music, cheering on races and partaking in other fun activities.

For a more private horse-racing experience, qualifying groups can have a late-night party at the Hong Kong Jockey Club after 22.00, during which free drinks and live music will be featured.

MEHK believes that these corporate hospitality experiences will be appreciated by both longhaul and shorthaul markets, including China.

Free cocktail receptions offered by more than 40 participating hotels in the programme will continue to be a major highlight in 2017 and 2018, encouraged by positive feedback from both suppliers and business event delegates.

Priscilla Hui, account director of W Hong Kong, which has extended its participation in Hong Kong Rewards!, said being part of the programme allows the hotel to reach out to a bigger pool of clients.

Hui said: “(It gives us access to) a database that we don’t have. (We have obtained) new contacts and queries (through Hong Kong Rewards! communications). This is also a good way to let people know there is a W property in Hong Kong.”

Hui shared that the hotel will be offering six extra rewards to business event groups that qualify for the programme, while creating new perks in partnership with its sister hotels in Taiwan and Singapore.

“For example, event organisers could get a complimentary stay with VIP limousine service at our partner hotels after their event (at W Hong Kong),” she explained.

More details on the 2017/2018 programme were unavailable at press time in early January.

Momentous Asia, general manager, Doris Lam, told TTGmice that the programme could be even more supportive with some tweaks, such as making the perks more accessible and not subjected to availability which prevents the reward activity from being included in bids; having all-inclusive offers from resorts and hotels in the programme; and featuring offers by restaurant chains that cater to international clientele.

International Conference Consultant’s director, Katerina Tam, also suggested including free Octopus electronic payment cards through the programme, which would allow delegates of smaller groups to get around Hong Kong on their own.

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{Developments to Watch}

1The southern part of Hong Kong Island is now more accessible, thanks to the new MTR Island South Line. This is expected to benefit hotels and venues in the area, such as Aberdeen’s Hong Kong Academy of Medicine Jockey Club Building which has a range of venues including a lecture theatre and seven meeting rooms.

2Starting from January 23 this year, all Indian nationals who intend to visit Hong Kong must apply for and successfully complete a pre-arrival registration (PAR) online. Failing to complete this process, Indian nationals will have to apply for a visa directly with the Immigration Department.

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