World Expo 2010 Propels China To Center Of The World Stage

The World Expo 2010, which will be held in Shanghai from May 1 to October 31, is the next major major international event hosted by China following the successful hosting of the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games. The 184-day event will attract about 240 national and international organizations as well as 70 million visitors from home and abroad. We look at the impact will this have on hotels and the travel industry in the Yangtze Delta Region.

Shanghai Hotels Get Ready For World Expo 2010
At present, there are 56 five-star hotels (including those that are built in line with the five-star standards), 61 four-star hotels (including those that have been accredited but are not officially licensed) and 219 three-star and lower star-rated hotels in Shanghai, providing a total of about 76,000 rooms. Off these rooms five-star hotels account for 32% of the available rooms. In 2010, the number of rooms offered by five-star hotels in Shanghai is expected to reach 28,531, of which 7,710 were added at the end 2009 and in early 2010, which equals the total increase in room numbers over the preceding four to five years. Calculations made by a third-party organization show of the 70 million visitors to the World Expo 2010, about 58.5 million visitors will come from outside of Shanghai or from overseas countries and a considerable number of them will need to stay in Shanghai overnight. If each of these visitors needs to stay in Shanghai for one night between May 2010 and the end of October, there will be up to 400,000 beds needed per day. If these visitors prolong their stay, the demand for hotel rooms will increase by several times.

Fraser Suites Top Glory, Shanghai -Word Expo 2010 Offers Great Opportunity for Increasing Brand Awareness
Fraser Suites Top Glory, Shanghai is situated in the bustling CBD financial district along the romantic Huangpu River and it is only 15-minute drive from the Expo Site. Colin Tan, the general manager of Fraser Suites Top Glory, Shanghai, believes that Expo 2010 offers an excellent opportunity to promote their apartment products, spread their brand image, and extend market recognition. He says that Fraser Suites Top Glory Shanghai offers not only the quality service but also an amazing home-style living environment as the apartments are gold-standard serviced apartments and each of the spacious suites features splendid Bund View. Since the majority of the room inventory is large suites, they are only targeting high-end government groups, CEOs and managing directors of the World's Top 500 Companies, and the commissioners or delegates of some of the national pavilions. To ensure the staff are prepared there are some training courses designed specially for World Expo 2010, including: Hotel service staff Expo English 100; Security and Fire Control; and Service Skills and Quality. Tan says that apartment's unique location, quality service and incomparable facilities will undoubtedly contribute to its business during the Expo 2010 Shanghai!

New Century Grand Hotel Hangzhou: FCS Will Offer Convenient Service to Guests in Any Location
Wu Pingping, the marketing director of New Century Grand Hotel Hangzhou, told China Hospitality News that their hotel will undertake some reception tasks during the World Expo 2010, and they have been preparing to fulfill these tasks. First, they have trained a group of quality and senior convention service managers to provide advanced and professional meeting services. Second, the hotel will focus on training golden key meeting service providers to provide individualized services for their customers. Third, the hotel has a high quality etiquette team whose members are all good looking and possess professional expertise to offer a considerate etiquette service. Fourth, the hotel is capable of providing various language services for international meetings.

New Century Grand Hotel Hangzhou has three 1000-square-meter ballrooms and 15 meeting rooms of various sizes, each of which is equipped with top class meeting facilities to meet the needs of clients. The hotel is currently renovating its meeting facilities to prepare for the opening of the World Expo 2010. In addition, the hotel features 699 fully furnished rooms. With the latest renovation, guests can now experience top comfort in the hotel. In addition the hotel is also going to adopt the FCS system to provide convenient service for guests from any locations.

Wu believed that World Expo 2010 has promoted the expansion of the meeting and travel markets as well as the signed business units and business travelers and boosting the hotel brands. Wu said that to meet the demand of the World Expo 2010, New Century Grand Hotel Hangzhou has offered training for all of its staff. The training for staff of the banquet department includes professional meeting skills, advanced convention services, meeting golden key, language, and etiquette. The staff from the front office has been trained on room skills, private butler service, FCS, and etiquette. During the World Expo, the hotel will offer special services such as the senior convention service manager, meeting golden key, and etiquette service to meet the different demands.

Sofitel Hangzhou Xanadu Resort in Hangzhou Extends the Reach of the World Expo 2010
World Expo 2010 is not only a grand event to display China and Shanghai to the outside world, but also a platform for cities in the Yangtze River Delta regions to share opportunities and realize a win-win status. Hangzhou will be fully connected with Shanghai World Expo and provide all-round services for the event. Data shows that about 70 million visitors will attend the World Expo 2010. Based on a daily visitor of 400,000, up to 250,000 visitors will need to stay in a hotel each day. At present, the total beds that Shanghai offers can only meet the accommodation demands on non-peak days, while on the 48-weekend days and the 17 ticket specified days, there will be a shortfall of 50,000 to 100,000 beds. Philip Wei, the general manager of Sofitel Hangzhou Xanadu Resort, said that with its unique natural environment and culture, Hangzhou will be a hot spot for guests from home and abroad. Therefore, the hotel has been prepared to offer a hand to Shanghai when necessary. Wei disclosed that during the peak times in May and September, Sofitel Hangzhou Xanadu Resort will be chosen for some major meetings when representatives from more than 60 countries and regions will stay in the hotel.

Speaking of the preparation work they've done for the World Expo, Wei said that they have first trained staff on security and fireproofing. Apart from the regular security and fireproof training, the hotel has offered special training on the safety of guests and their belongings during the World Expo 2010. The next is the training on epidemic prevention and food safety. In cooperation with the health department, the hotel now offers training each month on sanitation and epidemic prevention and food safety. These two training courses are vital to ensure guests safety and food safety. In addition, the hotel offers language training in English, French, and Japanese so the staff can communicate well with foreign guests during the World Expo 2010. As a Sofitel hotel, Sofitel Hangzhou Xanadu Resort, just like its sister hotels, has adopted the group's training courses like "the Key of Luxury Experience". By paying attention to the details of service, service process, communication, and attitudes, the hotel's employees can better understand Accor Group's culture essence and the luxury experience advocated by Sofitel so they can provide French luxury and bring satisfaction and surprises to their guests.

In addition Wei said the hotel will deliver a unique cultural experience to guests by combining the South Yangtze River culture with the French style romance and luxury. For example, the hotel employees will perform South Yangtze River dances to guests, the hotel will arrange a swan lake ritual show at its unparalleled Swan Lake, and the hotel will have Philippine band live performance at its lobby bar. In a word, says Wei, the collision between cultures can be found in the hotel where guests can also experience the unique culture of paradise harmony and environment protection.

As to the opportunities that the World Expo 2010 brings to the hospitality industry, Wei said that the six-month long event will attract up to 70 million visitors and bring 300,000 to 400,000 visitors from both home and abroad daily to the Yangtze River Delta region, occupying about 80,000 star-grade rooms, 350,000 beds from budget hotels and 40,000 restaurants and bars. Therefore, the World Expo 2010 means a great opportunity for the hospitality industry in the region. Wei believed with more tourists coming in, the internationalization of the Yangtze River Delta will speed up. Plus, because of the World Expo 2010, many international airlines have launched or will launch new routes to Hangzhou. Wei confided that Sofitel Hangzhou Xanadu Resort has signed long term agreement with some of these airlines. He said that by virtue of the World Expo 2010, the world will know China better and more and more international events will be held in Shanghai and its surrounding cities. The launch of high-speed railways has also reduced the travel time between Hangzhou and Shanghai, making the city easily accessible from Shanghai and it will become one of the top tourist cities in the world with ever more opportunities.

With regard to special services to be offered during World Expo 2010, Wei said that the hotel will reinforce its efforts to promote the essence of the luxury experience embodied by the Sofitel brand during the World Expo 2010. Wei said that from the moment the guests step into the hotel, they have their Golden Key service awaiting for them. Deemed the highest honor of the hotel industry, owning the Golden Key means that the hotel can help solve intractable problems which may not be tackled by others. Sofitel Hangzhou Xanadu Resort has two Golden Keys concierges (including one of the youngest in Hanghzou) each of whom is experienced and possesses the highest capacity for handling various problems.

Regarding MICE, Sofitel Hangzhou Xanadu Resort's Inspired Events Team will provide meeting planning and comprehensive butler services for business meetings, exhibitions and incentive travelers during the World Expo. The hotel's pillarless banquet hall is about 1000 square meters in area. It can hold about 800 people and can be used for luxury car trials, car exhibitions, fashion shows, fashion parties, and team building. The hotel's hydrophilic platform on the Swan Lake exposes guests directly to nature. The Inspired Events Team will offer various tailor-made services for guests.

Experiencing the Culture Diversity of Shanghai
MPI Shanghai is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Singapore-based MP International. The company is in active contact and cooperation with the exhibition sector, industry associations and other meeting organizers from China while introducing the international exhibitions and meetings to China by making use of the exhibition resources of its parent company. In the process it has turned China's high-potential exhibitions into international exhibition brands with Chinese characteristics and is now entering the international exhibition arena.

Dake Zhu, a senior project manager of MPI Shanghai, said that during the World Expo 2010, the company will be responsible for the management of the middle exhibition pavilion of the Best Practice of City area, helping the exhibitors deal with the planning and management issues, managing and assisting in the arrangement of displays for more than 30 exhibitors. In addition the company will assist in the operation and management of some other exhibitions.

While the World Expo brings new opportunities for Shanghai's MICE industry, as a Professional Exhibition Organizer and Professional Convention Organizer, Zhu cherishes this opportunity to introduce Shanghai as a MICE destination to people from all corners of the world and show the diversified culture of Shanghai. Zhu said that in most people's eyes, Shanghai is an international and commercial cosmopolitan city with Nanjing Road, Yuyuan Garden, Xintiandi, the Bund, and Lujiazhui as its landmarks. But actually the real appeal of Shanghai lies in its history. Take Wukang Road, Fenyang Road and Dongping Road in Xuhui District, Tianzifang in Luwan District, and Shanyin Road in Hongkou District for example, all of these are small roads with strong local cultural characteristics. Though they look less crowded, they condensed the history of Shanghai and are good options for learning about Shanghai culture and the lives of the local residents. There are many historical relics and buildings, former residence of celebrities and mini-museums as well. If there is a half-day to be spent, one can choose a very chic restaurant, bar or teahouse here to sit and savor the surrounding atmosphere from which one can truly experience the real Shanghai. What's more, Qingpu, Sheshan and Jiading are also good choices for visitors.

Compared with ordinary tourists, business travelers have to spend more time on their own and they can choose their favorite nightlife in Shanghai. Dake Zhu has drawn a nightlife map for most of the business travelers visiting Shanghai: when the neon lights shine on the Nanjing Road, they can go to the Huangpu River where they can not only experience the bustling Shanghai but also relax and escape the daytime fatigue. In the meantime, Shanghai Drama Art Center, Shanghai Concert Hall and Shanghai Circus World's wonderful performances as well as the Shanghai style crosstalk by Zhou Libo are all on offer. The only thing the guests need to do is to decide their favorites and schedule their time.

The World Expo 2010 not only exhibits Shanghai and China, but also the Yangtze River Delta regions cities to the outside world. Take Suzhou and Hangzhou for example, it now take less than two hours to reach the two cities from Shanghai. The West Lake, the silk products, tea and the West Lake Exposition Museum are surely big tourist attractions.

For PEO and PCO, the hardware facilities of a city are extremely important. Zhu said that since almost all the international brand hotels are available in Shanghai, the city's hotels can basically meet all the demands of clients. Zhu said that they will choose hotels according to clients' demand while taking the location and the transportation into account. For room arrangement, Zhu said to make it easy to manage, it's better to book guests in as few hotels as possible. Zhu claimed that most of the high star-rated hotels in Shanghai provide large bed rooms and there are fewer standard rooms. Therefore it's good to know about the hotel's room capacity before making a reservation. Even so, Zhu spoke highly of the hotels in Shanghai. He said that they provide high level and professional meeting services, for example they have shuttle buses for guests of large size meetings, and some of them even offer check-in and registration services specifically for meeting guests.

The eight major cuisines in China can all be found in Shanghai. Zhu suggests domestic tourists go to Xintiandi, the Bund, and Xuhui District to experience authentic west food and the novel life. He said foreign tourists should to go taste the dumplings and steamed stuffed buns at Chenghuang Temple.

Lastly, Zhu said that looking at the changes to Shanghai brought by the World Expo, from the perspective of a PEO and PCO Shanghai boasts many prospects. However if judging the changes through the eyes of an ordinary citizen, more convenient transportation, more complete urban infrastructure and a cleaner environment will perhaps make Shanghai a more modern, civilized, and international cosmopolitan city.

Integrate Airline Resources To Provide Customized Service For Clients
While the World Expo brings new opportunities to the MICE industry, it imposes new requirements for the travel agencies. When mentioning the influence of the World Expo 2010, Zhou Weihong, the deputy general manager of Shanghai Spring International Travel Service Company, told China Hospitality News that the upcoming World Expo 2010 has driven the development of tourism and transportation in Shanghai. Zhou said SSITSC features prominent advantage as a Shanghai-based travel agency. As a travel agency designated by the organization committee of the World Expo 2010, they perceive the opportunity brought by the 184-day event is more important that ever before, even more important than 2008 Beijing Olympic Games and the golden week holidays.

SSITSC's business pattern of "travel plus airlines" makes it easier to integrate necessary resources. It is capable of making a prediction of the general revenue and market perspective while other travel agencies may find it difficult to do so. Zhou disclosed that SSITSC has acquired many major clients, and during the World Expo 2010 they will integrate their resources by making use of their airline advantages and according to client demand. Zhou suggested that visitors from outside of Shanghai spend at least two days attending the Expo so they can better understand the Expo and experience its charm. Zhou believes that the World Expo 2010 is a test of the comprehensive strength of travel agencies. As a designated travel agency for the Expo, Zhou said they are obligated to do everything well.

During the World Expo 2010, SSITSC will provide services to the national pavilions from Europe, Southeast Asia, major Chinese enterprises, multinational companies, and the exposition office of some domestic cities. Zhou said that clients' demands will vary and she will lead her team to serve these clients according to their needs and budget.

The World Expo 2010 will test a travel agency's meeting organization capacity from many different aspects. Zhou said that organizing events during the World Expo 2010 goes beyond any regular travel itinerary. For example, some exhibitors hope to increase the popularity of their pavilions on a specific day, so travel agencies need to work to exclude media and visitors on that day to make it seem that the pavilion has been filled to capacity.

Zhou believed that the room rates during the World Expo 2010 are generally reasonable. This means that the hotels have a rational understanding of the market during the World Expo period. Besides, four-star and five-star hotels offer solid facilities. Zhou said she will judge a hotel by its class, client demand, price, budget, location, transportation, and the surrounding environment.

Zhou said many tourists want to experience the old Shanghai when they arrive in the city, but the old Shanghai does not necessarily refer to the Western style houses. She suggest tourists wonder around Chenghuang Temple, taste the dim sum at the LV Bo Lang, and walk along the Bund, appreciating the European style buildings and visiting the Expo pavilions in the evening.

As most of the clients visiting World Expo 2010 will not be first-time visitors to Shanghai, it's important to offer some highlights for their itinerary. Zhou said that Shanghai is changing very rapidly with new things constantly emerging constantly, so different content shall be added to the itinerary each time, for example dining at the World Expo venue will be a unique and unforgettable experience for tourists. Shanghai has also had many new privately-owned museums and entertainment venues for expatriates. For example, the Xintiandi area is the best place to experience the blending of Chinese and western culture. In addition there are a number of good options such as looking around the Huangpu River, taking a boat on a river in Suzhou or going to visit the suburbs of Shanghai, Suzhou, or Hangzhou.