China Hospitality News reader Nancy Xia is from Epson (China) Guangzhou Branch. She is responsible for contacting hotels in South China, booking hotels for employees' business travel, and arranging corporate travel.
Are there any standards for your company when selecting hotel and MICE destinations?
1. When selecting hotels for employee's business travel, we take into consideration both location and price. Firstly, the hotels must not be located too far away from our company or the places where they will go on business, because this reduces the travel cost and saves time. Secondly, the prices offered by hotels should meet the company's budget. Every company has different accommodation standards for different levels of staff. Only when a hotel can meet the most common budget, it will be possible to book it frequently. Thirdly, the level of hotels must not be too low, otherwise, it will have an adverse impact on the company's image and there is no guarantee of security and service levels. Fourthly, it is also very important that a hotel should be well respected and recognized. For example, if there is feedback from more than two colleagues that reflect adversely on a hotel with some issues which made them not feel good, then we will not book that hotel any more.
2. To select hotels for MICE events, we will consider more items. Firstly, the location will be decided according to the objective of a meeting, for example, for new product launches, franchisee meetings, or training, we will select the hotels close to the city center to offer convenience for the clients, media, and franchisees. For incentive meetings, we would select some special hotels, such as hot spring hotels, which are possibly located far away from the city center.
What are your favorite domestic hotels? Which hotels impress you most in China and why?
For domestic hotels, our first choice will be those that have signed an agreement with us, i.e. their rates would not exceed our budget and they could be conveniently searched and booked online. Also, we will select the hotels according to the recommendations of our colleagues.
The hotels that impress me most include: Shangri-La Hotel, Guangzhou; Chime Long Hotel; Ocean Spring Resort; The Regent Beijing; Xinhai Jinjiang Hotel and most of the hotels in Yalong Bay in Sanya. Because those hotels have a beautiful environment, high-quality facilities, and excellent services. In addition, some new emerging business hotel chains are good, such as Motel, Hotel Kapok, and 7 Days Inn. Both price and location are their biggest advantages.
What problems do you meet on using hotel products and services? What would you like to say to hotel general manager and sales director?
The biggest concern is that the mattress might be too soft, because many people use the computer for a long period and have a serious lumbar disc problems, it is painful for them to lie on a soft bed. To keep looking smart is also very important for a business traveler. After a long trip, the shirts in the suitcase would be crumpled when travelers arrived at the hotel. So if a hotel could offer a complimentary ironing service, it would be better. Currently, many large hotels offer an agreement rate excluding the breakfast, actually, the hotel could launch a kind of in-room business breakfast with some simple dish. This will not only be convenient for the guests but also will save on costs.
What kind of meetings or events does your company hold annually? And which cities do you choose?
Our company has a franchisee meeting every half year, a client appreciation party at the end of a year, and a company outing in the middle of a year, as well as various kinds of meetings as required. These are often held in provincial capitals.
Which information channels do you use when choosing hotel or MICE site?
Firstly, the brand is very important, i.e. the hotel should be one of the well-known star-grade hotels in the region. Secondly, the hotel sales should keep in frequent contact with their clients and visit them regularly, as well as bringing the clients the newest information of the hotel. Thirdly, the comments from the colleagues who have stayed at the hotel are also important. When booking meeting venues, in addition to the hardware facilities including location, environment, equipment, space, traffic, and room quantity satisfying the requirements of a meeting, another important factor is that the hotel sales could follow the whole meeting process and have the ability to coordinate other departments' arrangements.
A sales person with strong ability and good communication skills will solve those any issues arising during a major meeting, thus ensuring the clients have a successful meeting without spending too much effort. In addition, the budget hotels are currently growing rapidly, and it is relatively a big problem for the traditional star-grade hotels. Companies will no longer select only luxury hotels for the employees' business travel, and tend to book the most practical and economic business hotels to save the company's cost.
What do you think about our China Hospitality News monthly print magazine and its website? Which part do you focus on more and why?
I pay attention to the parts Focus and Industry News which offer professional and centralized information so that I can have timely information and get to know about the newest happenings in the industry.