Sourcing Hotels With An Eye To Brands In China

William WongWilliam Wong is senior strategic buyer for global sourcing, indirect materials and services at Sony Ericsson Mobile Communications (China) Co. Ltd., where part of his job is to arrange travel and conferencing events.

Are there any standards used by your company for hotel, MICE destination selection? Is the hotel brand a key factor when you make a selection?
Location, brand, rate and security are the main factors we consider. We look on the hotel brand as a key point, where a brand represents quality and service level.

What are the standards for company staff on business trips?
Based on our hotel brand consciousness and requirements, we choose the same brand for every member of staff, except for top management such as a global president and we arrange for them to enjoy the top service that hotels offer.

Which are your favorite hotels when you arrange company MICE?
Hangzhou: Shangri-La Hotel, Hangzhou, Hyatt Regency, Sofitel Xanadu Resort Hotel
Sanya: Sheraton Sanya Resort, Sanya Marriott Resort & Spa, Crowne Plaza Hotel
Beijing: Marriott Beijing West, Crowne Plaza Park View Wuzhou Beijing, The Great Wall Sheraton Hotel, Radisson SAS Hotel, Shangri-La hotel, Beijing

What problems do you encounter when using hotel products and services? What would you like to say to hotel general managers and sales directors?
The poor quality of hotel facilities and different levels of service. Hotels should always keep their facilities user-friendly and in perfect condition, and improve their staff service levels regularly, which will help hotels, retain their guests and have loyal guests. At the same time, staff training should be scheduled on a regular basis, service standards and professional management should be consistent. The Shangri-La hotel group has a professional staff training program.

Which products and services urgently need to improve in the local hotel market?
Online reservation systems and flexible rate systems need to improve urgently.

Currently local online reservation systems are bad and not user friendly when compared to local online service companies such as Ctrip and Mango, who provide a better platform. It's easy to see that ignorance to online service is a common problem among hotels in the mainland, for example there is even no Chinese interface for international hotel brands' websites. However, the Shangri-La and InterContinental Hotel groups do have better offerings in this area.

Inflexible rates systems cause a lot of trouble. Pressure from property owners is one reason why hotels keep rates high even during the low season.

Which hotels impress you most in China and why?
I am impressed by Ritz Carlton Beijing Financial Street and the Ritz Carlton Shanghai Portman's style and décor; Marco Polo Parkside Beijing's facilities and feel; and the location of the Banyan Tree Resort Lijiang.

What do you think about our bilingual magazine and website products?
They are good communications platforms, and provide timely information.

What kind of travel do you prefer? And any travel destinations would you recommend?
I prefer to be a FIT during my annual leave. Jiuzhaigou, Hangzhou, Paris, U.S.A. and Australia are good choices.