New Ritz-Carlton Langkawi seeks to increase corporate segment

The Ritz-Carlton Langkawi is pulling out all stops to increase its share of business events, which currently forms 20 per cent of its business mix.

Director of sales & marketing, Zulkifli Rahman, told TTGmice that the hotel is currently working with partners such as The Els Club Teluk Datai, inbound DMCs, overseas outbound agents, as well as airlines that fly to Langkawi to promote the destination as a high-end business events destination.

The Ritz-Carlton, Langkawi’s grand ballroom

Currently, it has confirmed meetings and incentives booked up to June 2018, most of which are from the region, as well as China and Japan, revealed Zulkifli. Clients include the banking sector, retail industry and incentive groups.

This 119-key luxury property that overlooks the Andaman Sea and boasts a 10-million-year-old rainforest as a backdrop, is the latest luxury property on the island. It is located a 15 minutes’ drive from the Langkawi International Airport.

Its meeting facilities include a grand ballroom that can take 430 people in theatre-style, and be divided into three smaller meeting rooms. Meanwhile, the ballroom’s pre-function area is outdoors and offers a view of the rainforest.

However, as a second-tier business events destination, there are challenges.

For instance, Zulkifli pointed out that Langkawi needed more direct flights from overseas.

He explained: “It would go a long way if there were direct flights from the Middle Eastern carriers, as this would also help us promote Langkawi as a business events destination to Europeans and Latin Americans.”

Zulkifli also opined that more infrastructure such as high-end restaurants for groups of 80 to 100 people, and more contractors with high-end coaches based in Langkawi, were needed. Currently for large groups, coaches have to be hired from Kuala Lumpur and this drives up the cost.

“Langkawi also competes with Bali and Phuket, and we are losing business because there are too many taxes imposed on guests. There is the local tourism fee of RM5 (US$1.18) per room per night, and the tourism tax of RM10 per room per night, imposed on foreign passport holders,” he lamented.

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