April Colvin is the general manager of Jinbao Conference and Exhibition Company and of Jinbao Travel Company. Colvin is also the chief representative of the company's Beijing Office and is mainly responsible for the management of the company's daily operations.
What are your criteria for choosing a meeting venue? What do you think is the most important thing for hotels?
Our criteria for choosing a meeting venue are: whether the hotel has a whole set of meeting facilities; whether its restaurants provide varied food and a wide variety of breakfast options; whether its rooms are elegantly decorated and whether it has luxury bathing facilities; a fast reception service; and convenient transportation. However the most important thing is that the hotel should have a high service standard and be able to solve problems quickly.
What are the clients' requirements when choosing a meeting destination? Which domestic cities do you choose most often or which would you like to recommend as meeting destinations?
Usually the clients want the destinations to be conveniently located and feature beautiful scenery and international service levels. The cities we often choose include Sanya, Xinglong, Zhuhai, Dalian, and Hangzhou. But more often we will use holiday resorts and conference centers in suburban Beijing.
Which companies have you cooperated with? And in which hotels have you organized events for these companies?
Canon, Nortel, Ericsson, Chaoyang District Government, BP, and Moshadong Pharmaceutical Company have all been our partners.
The hotels where we have organized events are Beijing Hotel, Swissotel Beijing, Jiuhua Spa & Resort, Moonriver Resort Hotel, Beijing Municipal Government Kuangou Guesthouse, Pudong Shangri-La Shanghai, Shanghai International Convention Center (Oriental Riverside Hotel), Dragon Hotel Hang Zhou, Zhejiang Narada Grand Hotel (the former Zhejiang World Trade Center Hotel), Qianyang Hotel Chengde, Xiamen International Seaside Hotel, Furama Hotel Dalian, Hainan Bobao Conference Center Hotel, and Gloria Resort Sanya.
Which domestic hotels have impressed you most and why?
Beijing Hotel, Shanghai International Convention Center (Oriental Riverside Hotel), and Xiamen International Seaside Hotel have all left me a deep impression with their comprehensive meeting facilities, but I am not so satisfied with the service these hotels provide.
What problems have you encountered in using hotel products and services? What suggestions do you have for hotels?
Here are two examples of problems I encountered. The first was when we held a meeting in Beijing Hotel, the hotel only allowed us to make contact with their sales people, although we needed to communicate with the department that directly served us after our check-in. The communication between the hotel's sales and service department is not smooth at all. And the second was with the Shanghai International Convention Center, which has abundant meeting venues and but enough rooms.
It is very important that hotels can offer emergency services during meetings. This means they not only need to be able to deal with an unexpected happening in an effective and timely manner, but also meet the clients' demands for temporary meeting equipment and recreational facilities. To be more specific, we often have a professional design company to help us arrange the meeting venue before we hold a large-scale meeting, so we need the hotel to have a multi-functional circuit, audio-visual equipment (if they don't have these, they should at least assist us in the installation of the equipment prepared by ourselves), lighting equipment, and help us test these equipment. Besides, emergency equipment and personnel are also a must for hotels. Some other trivia such as a hardware tool, needles and thread are also necessary in case the costume is broken or the stage property needs to be repaired, for a small mistake made on these things may lead to a failure of the whole event.
Through which channels do you select hotels or venues for your clients' events?
At the beginning of each year we will choose several hotels and directly sign with them.
What do you think of China Hospitality News and its bilingual websites? What do you think of our products? Which columns are you interested in most and why?
Directly targeting the buyers' requirements, China Hospitality News reflects users' feedback and is a useful reference for me. I am most concerned with the column of Booker Opinion. I need information on new hotels, new scenic spots and new buying points. I can refer to the experience of other buyers to provide the latest meeting, travel, and holiday and transcendental stunts to our clients.
Which type of holiday do you prefer? Can you recommend some travel destinations for us?
I like relaxed entertainment and leisure. I'd like to recommend Sichuan, the Silk Road, Guizhou and Hunan, the places of historical interest around Beijing and the landscape scenery near the historical city of Chengde.
Do you have any plans for traveling in the future? What are your hobbies?
Beaches, lakeside, forest, and mountains will be my top priorities in the future travel plan. I will also revisit such places as the Silk Road, Zhangjiajie in Hunan, and Jiuzhaigou in Sichuan. In the coming year I need to go to select some destinations for meetings and group holidaymakers. My focus will be the newly developed scenic spots and new hotels around Beijing.
My hobbies are visiting historical places, doing environment service, and entertainment, to name just a few.