Booking Chinese MICE Corporate Travel With Soft Services In Mind

Daisy Hu

As the global procurement and sourcing manager of Alcatel–Lucent, Daisy Hu is responsible for overseeing the booking and travel plans of her colleagues.

How do you choose hotels for meetings, incentive travel, conventions, and exhibitions? What are the main criteria?
The basic rule for selecting a MICE-related hotel for a contract with our company is easy access to our business entertaining. All staff business travel should follow this rule, and contracted hotels have priority. There are no strict rules on MICE destinations and business catering, however they should follow company policies, such as budget standards, and business type. The most important criteria are hotel facilities, service quality, and safety.

When choosing a MICE destination, we consider such things as location, environment, facilities, room, and value-added services.

What problem do you meet when using hotel products? And what would you like to say to hotel manager and sales directors?
The sales department is the contact point between the hotel and the corporate client. It should take its responsibility to be a real bridge. Bad coordination between the sales department and other departments, such as F&B and catering, is a problem in many hotels. A constant phenomenon is that we, the clients, have to contact different departments for different problems from time by time. It gives us a lot of trouble. As a corporate client, we prefer a packaged service, and we only need to contact sales who can assistant us to solve all problems.

Which hotel products and services urgently need improvement?
Soft services, especially service consciousness and service professionalism need to be improved urgently. Leading services should support initiatives and safety. Also some tiny details should be improved such as ensuring the clock in the room is correctly set. All these tiny mistakes can destroy a hotel's image. Safety instructions, especially the instructions in MICE rooms and emergency access, should be better, two-way doors should be more convenient in the catering area.

Which hotel are you impressed by most? Why?
International brands like New World Courtyard Beijing, Capital Hotel, Marco Polo Parkside Beijing, Holiday Inn hotels, and Crowne Plaza hotels. Local brands like Hotel Kunlun, Beijing International Hotel, Shanghai Everbright International Hotel, and Lakeview Xuanwu Hotel Nanjing.

All these hotels are have a good understanding of service requirements. They pay more attention to the communication with clients on service. Other departments, rooms, catering, F&B departments listen to the sales department, even we, the clients, can feel their efficiency and good communication and coordination.

What do you think about our bilingual products, China Hospitality News and its website? Which department do you focus on more and why?

The Travel Booker opinion section is my favorite. Suggestions on MICE destinations and introductions from my peers do help a lot.

Which information channels do you use when choosing a hotel or MICE site?
There are targeted RFPs, roadshows of famous international hotel brands, outbound promotions from foreign national tourism administrations, and inbound promotions from local governments like the Sanya government. I also check with tour agents in contracts and travel websites.