Follow the digital road

Singapore Tourism Board and tourism sellers are relying on digital platforms to win over tech-savvy Chinese business event travellers who are also in search of fun destination ideas.

Old and new architecture come together seamlessly in Singapore’s city centre

To market Singapore as a choice destination for Chinese business events, the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) is taking the digital route through popular platforms such as WeChat social messaging channel.

This move comes after STB’s 2017 market report which found that Chinese arrivals were the strongest, topping the charts for the first time with 3.2 million footfalls, up 13 per cent year-on-year.

Old and new architecture come together seamlessly in Singapore’s city centre

Juliana Kua, STB’s regional director, Northern & Western China, said: “STB China will be enhancing our WeChat service account – first launched in 2017 – with more functionalities and customised editorial content on our travel incentive schemes, case studies and destination information for (meetings and incentive programme) planners.”

One key part of these efforts is pushing the Passion Made Possible destination brand, which Singapore has so far launched in 22 Chinese cities with the aid of singers popular in China – Stefanie Sun and Nathan Hartono.

In April last year, the Singapore Exhibition and Convention Bureau also launched the In Singapore Incentives & Rewards (INSPIRE) programme for the Greater China market, aiming to promote Singapore’s unique attractions to Chinese incentive travellers.

“In 2018, together with our trade partners, we aim to create more online activity to highlight our Passion Made Possible brand. This will help to showcase Singapore’s strengths as a destination where innovation, growth and new opportunities meet, and create positive mindshare of Singapore as a top business events destination among business travellers and business event organisers,” continued Kua.

Besides accompanying STB on joint roadshows across China, local business events players have also stepped up collaborations and aligned their marketing plans with the bureau.
Mike Lee, vice president, sales, Marina Bay Sands, told TTGmice: “We often introduce our Chinese business leads to STB, so that clients can have access to the support offered by the tourism body’s incentive programmes.”

Marina Bay Sands is also collaborating with mobile and online payment platform Alipay and WeChat to roll out exclusive promotions and retail offers tailored to Chinese visitors at The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands.

Lee added: “Over the years, we have observed an increased demand for bespoke meeting experiences from Chinese delegates. Moving beyond the standard gala dinner and conference programmes, delegates are seeking to add more luxury retail and dining experiences to their itinerary.”

Meanwhile, Bay Hotel is “working very closely with operators (strong in China) – Ctrip, Elong, HRS and others – to bring in more corporate businesses”, shared Philip Cyril Raj, group general manager for Bay Hotels & Resorts. “The China corporate travel market is huge and (we are) looking into more campaigns to draw (them in),” he said.

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