Sabrina Fu is a senior public relations consultant from Hill & Knowlton (China). Her main responsibility in the company is to provide public relations consulting services to clients and offer the event options or accommodation venues that are most suitable for Hill & Knowlton's clients based on their different requirement, for example press conferences, seminars, and other media and client activities.
Are there any standards that your company applies in selecting hotels and MICE destinations for your clients? What's the most important factor that you will take into account in selecting such a venue?
Service, location, and traffic are what we value in selecting a hotel or MICE destination.
Of the three, we attach a lot of importance to service, including hardware service and software service. Hardware service refers to hotel facilities — whether they have complete facilities and whether these facilities work consistently, e.g. meeting room equipment (lighting, acoustics, and air-conditioning). Software service means the quality of the hotel staff, whether they are sincere in serving clients, whether their work is efficient, whether their service is professional, and whether they like to do their best to provide the service necessary to their clients.
Which companies have you ever served, and which hotels have your chosen for MICE activities?
The companies we've provided services to include Siemens, the Mayor of London, Think London, TNT, COSCO Group, Pernod Ricard China, RSA Insurance, and Dow Corning.
In Beijing, the hotels where we've held our events include Grand Hyatt Beijing, Kempinski Hotel Beijing Lufthansa Center, and Beijing New Otani Chang Fu Gong Hotel.
In Shanghai, the hotels are The St.Regis Shanghai, Four Seasons Hotel Shanghai, The Westin Bund Center Shanghai, Hilton Hotel Shanghai, JW Marriott Hotel Shanghai, Pudong Shangri-La Shanghai, and Grand Hyatt Shanghai.
In other regions, the hotels we've used include Dalian Shangri-La Hotel, Kempinski-Chengdu Hotels, Sheraton Chengdu Lido Hotel, and Marriott China Hotel Guangzhou.
Which hotels impress you most in China and why?
Beijing New Otani Chang Fu Gong Hotel, JW Marriott Hotel Shanghai, The Westin Bund Center Shanghai, and Grand Hyatt Shanghai are the hotels that have impressed me most. These hotels feature complete facilities, brand new equipment and thoughtful service.
What problems have you encountered when using hotel products and services? What would you like to say to hotels to help them improve?
During a client's event, it is often our company or our client who is paying the down payment and room charges for the participating guests. The procedure becomes so complicated when a guest wants to check out later than the schedule or postpone their check out while the payer needs to leave ahead of schedule. In this case some hotels will refuse to settle up for us in advance saying that the clients may use their mini bars or other hotel services later. As a result we may have to stay longer in the hotel to pay the final bill; or we may have to communicate with the guests and get them pay to first and then we have to reimburse them. In doing this, the hotel is acting in too unprofessional a way to us, to our clients, and to the participating guests. We suggest that hotels deal with special situations with special measures and solutions. For example, they should allow for payments to be charged to cards against previous authorization, if the card holder needs to leave the hotel ahead of schedule.
Which channels do you usually rely on to select hotels or MICE destinations for your clients?
We often search online for hotel information and relevant comments on hotels. We also follow the recommendations of friends and make an on-the-spot visit to the hotels and MICE destinations ourselves.
What do you think of China Hospitality News magazine and its bilingual websites? Which columns are you most interested in and why?
I am mostly interested in the Travel and Hotel columns. These two columns share one thing in common, that is, they bear rich content, cover a wide array of cities, and are a good reference source to us. I suggest that you publish the website or telephone numbers of relevant tourism departments on your magazine. If you did this it would be more convenient for readers.
What are your travel plan for the coming months?
For Chinese domestic travel, I plan to travel in Sanya or Xinjiang. For overseas destinations, I plan to go to Great Britain or the Philippines.