International Sports Events Propel Guangzhou's MICE Development

The 16th Asian Games is going to be held in Guangzhou on November 12-27, 2010. Guangzhou is the second Chinese city to obtain the right to host the Asian Games. There will be 41 events, making the 2010 Asian Games the largest in scale in history in terms of the number of events. In addition, Guangzhou will host The 10th Asian Games for the Disabled Persons right after the 2010 Asian Games.

This is an effective way to expand a city's influence and boost its MICE development by hosting international sports events. The success of Barcelona, Doha, Singapore and Beijing in hosting the relevant sports events has made the future of Guangzhou's MICE foreseeable. As the third largest economic city in China and the nation's southern gate and frontier for its reform and opening up, Guangzhou has been quite low-key in the international arena compared with Beijing and Shanghai, but it now seems to be the time for Guangzhou to show itself in the international stage following the successful 2008 Beijing Olympic Games and the ongoing World Expo 2010 in Shanghai. It is extraordinarily meaningful for Guangzhou to host a world sports event at this time.

Impact Of Sports Events On MICE
Sports events can help a city effectively improve its image and promote its economic development. It can also assist the city in realizing sustainable development and enhancing its competitiveness. Therefore, many cities around the world are struggling to be the host city of large size sports event. Being a host city of sports events will also create more jobs for the city's tourism, environment, construction, real estate, electronic information, culture, sports and information service in addition to improving the hosting city's infrastructure, economic integration, urban living standard and development environment. Besides, it will also help the city improve its food service, tourism culture and citizen quality. Take Beijing for example, by hosting the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, the city became more internationalized, with its history, concept of value as well as the perspective of the Chinese nation better displayed to the world and its image in the international community enhanced.

Guangzhou is well-known for its meeting and exhibition business. The 2010 Asian Games will provide a good opportunity for local exhibition and travel service providers to draw the advanced international experience and practice and speed up their integration with the international world. This is helpful for improving the quality of tourism professionals, tourism management and tourism service, and creating a first class environment to drive up the development of the whole tourism industry.

New Changes in Guangzhou
The 2010 Asian Games will last for only 16 days. What concerns people most is what the event can bring to Guangzhou, a city well known for MICE and what new experience can the city provide to frequent business travelers during the Games?

Since 2000, Guangzhou has been carrying out the plan of "making a small change in a year, a medium change in three years and a big change by 2010". Guangzhou is the southern gate of China. It is located in the core area of the Pearl River Delta Region, adjacent to Hong Kong and Macau. It is one of the most important port cities, airline ports and sea transportation hubs in China with its advantageous location. Guangzhou features convenient transportation and it is easily accessible from almost anywhere in China.

Guangzhou's urban transportation has been dramatically improved in recent years through the plan of "making a small change in a year". The three-dimensional transportation and underground transportation in the city begin to gain momentum, and the city possesses unparalleled transportation conditions for developing international meeting and tourism.

New Image of Guangzhou
2010 Asian Games will improve and enhance Guangzhou's overall functionality, promote its exhibition and tourism development and bring other direct or indirect impacts. During the 2010 Asian Games, Guangzhou will see a dramatic increase of tourists who will bring tangible economic benefits to the city. Each of the recent Asian Games was attended by about 10,000 athletes and the total attendant number exceeded 10,000 plus the officials of the delegations. As an international sports event, the Asian Games features a lot of overseas athletes and tourists who have a strong consumption power and will bring in more foreign exchange income. In addition, the event will attract a large number of tourists from both in and out of China. This will directly push the development of Guangzhou's tourism. To host the event, Guangzhou government will have to improve the city's infrastructure, tourism facilities and this will bring direct social benefit to the city.

The landscape along the road from the New Baiyun Airport and the Asian Games City will be the first thing that Guangzhou impresses frequent business travelers and athletes when they come to Guangzhou. After the bus goes on the Airport Express, passengers will be enchanted with the garden style landscape in the Lingnan area and experience the beauty of Guangzhou from the green belts along the way.

Rich Tourism Resources
The success of recent sports events has proven that every major sports event will have positive and far-reaching impact on the world's tourism, especially the tourism of the hosting city and nation.

Image is a powerful weapon for a city joining the tourism competition. If a city wants to develop meeting and exhibition oriented tourism, it must have a clear city image position. Tourism resources and culture are important factors for a city's image, too. Meeting and exhibition are inseparable elements for tourism.

Meeting Resources of Guangzhou Hotels
Pullman Guangzhou Baiyun Airport Hotel

Wilson Fieldhouse, the general manager of Pullman Guangzhou Baiyun Airport Hotel said that the advantages of the hotel's meeting facilities include: 1. The hotel is only three minutes' walking distance to the airport. As an international five-star hotel that is closest to the airport, the unique location of the hotel makes it an ideal place for national or international business meetings. The attendants can take a rest, have a meeting or talk on their business right after they get off the plane and they can get back immediately after the meeting is over. This saves them a lot of time as well as from suffering the heavy traffic in the downtown area. 2. The hotel has a 460-square-meter pillar-less hall and ten meeting rooms each of which is equipped with top class facilities and wireless network to ensure smooth communications. 3. The hotel's Co-Meeting provides the unique Chill-out Space and various customized tea breaks. The hotel also has a special team to provide meeting services. The meeting manager will make plans for meetings or events according to clients' demand and keep track of the whole meeting process to ensure all details are duly and perfectly carried out. The IT manager also comes to the front to provide professional multimedia technology and support to the clients.

Business travelers can make inquiry on flights right in the lobby of the hotel and they can also claim the formalities for self-help check-in directly in the hotel. The hotel also has Welcomers. These Welcomers, as they are called in the hotel manual, are warm-hearted and always ready to help guests solve problems. They are responsible for receiving guests, keeping in touch with them, learning about their demand to make guests feel intimate to the hotel. The hotel has also developed a set of original bed concepts through a survey on beds and sleep. The hotel's bed was designed under the principle of human mechanics. The bed is supported by 18-inch springs with the top covered with multi-springs and multi-partition mattress. There are also hypoallergenic feather pads, 100% microfiber duvet, large square cushions for guest to read in bed, the memory pillow that provides support to the back and waist during sleep, and the unique foot arch pillow that helps guest get better relaxed after long time travel.

Fieldhouse believes by hosting the 2010 Asian Games and with the improvement in Guangzhou's economy and transportation and other facilities, Guangzhou will attract more and more business travellers. He said at present, more and more international hotels are coming in Guangzhou, which makes the competition in the hotel market in the city very fierce. He believed the well-ordered competition brings better travelling experience to business travellers. He said Guangzhou has successfully held 107 international trade fairs — "China Import & Export Goods Fair" and it has Guangzhou International Convention and Exhibition Centre, which is the largest of its kind in Asia and the second largest in the world. Wilson felt that all this will provide favourable condition for Guangzhou to become an international exhibition city. He commented that with government's support, plus Guangzhou's unparalleled history and economic development capacity, there will be much space for Guangzhou's business travel and exhibition.

The Westin Guangzhou
The Westin Guangzhou lies in the Tianhe business area in downtown Guangzhou. It is adjacent to the Zhongxin Square, which is home to many Global Fortune 500 companies. The hotel is close to Guangzhou East Station, the terminal of the GuangZhou-Kowloon Through Train. According to Duke Nam, the general manager of The Westin Guangzhou, the hotel offers 446 rooms and luxury suites, all of which are equipped with the Westin Heavenly Bed that helps guest ease pressure and achieve sound sleep. The hotel also has top technology and excellent services, a range of rooms for meetings and parties. In addition, the hotel possesses a comprehensive fitness and spa center to help guest relax both in body and in mind. Regarding meeting facilities, the hotel has many meeting rooms and banquet halls, totaling 1747 square meters. All the meeting space features advanced design and is suitable for various meetings and featured events. The bright and spacious public meeting room features a vast landscape. Guest will get twice the result with half the effort by holding their meeting or events here. The meeting room is quipped with an elaborate projection screen, built-in overhead, and the executive meeting rooms are even furnished with Herman Miller star-grade chair, independent audio and lighting control systems and IP telephone with a call Service Express service. Lous Vuitton, China Telecom, China Mobile, Hennessy, LG, Samsung have all held their job fairs, corporate meetings or annual sessions in the hotel.

Business travelers can choose the hotel's Westin Renewal and Westin WORKOUT rooms. These rooms, ranging from 50-71 square meters, feature tall ceiling and tender colors which make people feel calm. Westin Renewal rooms provide message chairs for guest to get recuperated, while Westin WORKOUT rooms provides Precor treadmills and other fitness equipment so guest can always exercise to keep healthy.

Duke Nam stated that Guangzhou is playing an increasingly important role as a key city in southern China. He said The Guangzhou Chinese Export Commodities Fair which is held twice every year and the upcoming 2010 Asian Games, have speeded up Guangzhou's internationalization steps, and more and more global 500 Fortune Companies are settling down in the city. Duke said under this background it's important for hotels in the city to provide business travel and exhibition service. At present, more and more hotels in Guangzhou can provide service for top notch meetings with their own style and operation pattern. The frequent visits paid by meeting buyers and business travelers show that Guangzhou will definitely become a popular city for MICE.

Shangri-La Hotel, Guangzhou
Shangri-La Hotel, Guangzhou is strategically located and adjacent to the Guangzhou International Convention and Exhibition Centre — home to the world-renowned, twice-yearly Canton Fair. Being the largest portfolio of hotel meeting and banquet space in Guangzhou, the hotel has two ballrooms, eight function rooms, a 105-seat auditorium, three VIP greeting rooms, totalling 6,000 square meters thus allowing it to cater to events of any scale. The 2,240 square-meter, 11-meter-high, pillarless Pearl River Grand Ballroom is the largest convention hall in the Shangri-La hotel group, accommodating up to 1,280-person functions or 3,000-person meetings. An ideal venue for exhibitions or product launches, the elegantly appointed Guangzhou Ballroom on the third floor offers spectacular views across the Pearl River form the vast pre-function area, while the back of house elevator allows for easy transportation of cars and heavy equipment. The other eight smaller function rooms are also available for more intimate banquets or receptions. The 100-seat auditorium with a raised stage is a preferred venue for press launches, lectures or presentations.

All the meeting and banqueting facilities are complimented by the latest communication and audiovisual equipment including wireless internet access, LED projector and tele-conference etc. In late 2009, the hotel invested RMB1 million for the latest technology — 60square meters of LED panels, which are widely used to enhance the live performances of image presentation and are suitable for any meetings, presentations, product launches and social banquet.

Coordinating large-scale conference is one of the featured services of Shangri-La Hotel, Guangzhou. The whole process, ranging from the site layout and food ritual, menu design and counter card design and flower arrangement, shows the hotel staff's professionalism and attention to details. For the diner of the opening ceremony of the 107th China Import and Export Commodities Trade Fair, the hotel provided service to a total of 530 people including officials from the Guangzhou provincial government, Guangzhou municipal government, officials of the 2010 Asian Games Organizing Committee, representatives of foreign general-consulates in Guangzhou, and trade delegations from other Chinese provinces. Since the opening ceremony of the trade fair was themed "Thrilling Asia Games, Vigorous Guangzhou", the hotel's meeting service team talked with the organizer of China Import & Export Commodities Trade Fair and the 2010 Asian Games Organizing Committee to know about their demand for the meeting. Finally they offered a suggestive plan based on the plan of the organizers and highlighted the theme of "Asian Games" for the diner. The hotel chose harmonious flowers to match the background design of the meeting venue. The menu was a perfect blend of Asian Games culture, international and Cantonese flavour. For example, the striking Asian Games icon was painted on the cheese cake. Special soft drinks and wines are provided to match the dishes. The team also designed a special sign for the wine bottle according to the theme of the diner. They gave consideration to the culture and religion beliefs of the guests when they worked on the menu. The hotel arranged staff in Asian Games mascots and athlete uniforms to present the dishes.

Booker's Opinion
Hotel Facilities Can Meet Meeting Demands

Each year LG Chem Trading (Shanghai) Co., Ltd Guangzhou Branch holds new product introductions, designer conferences, annual dealer conference and annual conclusion meeting from time to time in Guangzhou. These events are usually attended by 50-100 people. Mo Weijie, the sales director of LG Chem Trading (Shanghai) Co., Ltd Guangzhou Branch, told China Hospitality News that they will consider the location and facilities of a venue if the attendants are mainly clients, for convenient transportation will make clients feel the considerateness of the company, while the right facilities shows that company's respect to clients. However, Mo said if they choose a venue for their internal events, they will mainly think about the software and affiliated service before giving consideration to the convenience of the location and other value-added service.

When they choose a hotel for a meeting or event, Mo said they will first consider the location of the hotel, the hotel's transportation, the hotel brand, facilities and services in addition to its features, food and environment. Mo said that they have held events in Grand International Hotel Guangzhou, Jianguo Hotel Guangzhou, The Westin Guangzhou and Grand Hyatt Guangzhou.

Mo stated that Grand Hyatt Guangzhou has impressed him most among all these hotels. He said the hotel's interior decoration is distinctive. It features a post-modern style everywhere from the elevator to the lobby. It looks simple but natural, modern but without losing the popular low-carbon concept. The design of the hotel's meeting rooms also impressed Mo a lot. All the meeting rooms are equipped with lighting and audio-visual system. But what makes the company most satisfied is the stage and multi-media control room in the hotel's banquet hall as well as the one-stop service provided by the hotel's meeting team. Grand Hyatt Guangzhou owns a total of 979 square meters of meeting space which provides 700 seats. The space can be divided into two to three smaller halls or six meeting rooms to meet different meeting demands. The large banquet hall and meeting rooms can be used as elegant meeting or dining clubs and are most suitable for corporate product release and corporate meetings. LG Chem Trading (Shanghai) Co., Ltd Guangzhou Branch often holds product introduction meeting, annual distributor meeting and designer meeting in the hotel. The attendants are also very happy to attend a meeting in the hotel, according to Mo.

The Spin-off Effects Of The 2010 Asian Games
2010 Asian Games will not only have impact on the development of Guangzhou, but also the whole Guangdong province and even the Pearl River Delta Region. Take Foshan for example, the boxing and water ballet of the 2010 Asian Games will be held in Foshan and the city will take the opportunity to increase its own reputation and show its enchantment to the outside world.
Foshan is a city located in central and southern Guangdong Province in the Pearl River Delta Region. Guangzhou, the capital of Guangdong Province lies to the east, while Hong Kong and Macao lie to the south. Foshan covers five districts, namely Chancheng, Nanhai, Shunde, Gaoming and Sanshui. Foshan is known as the "South China's Pottery City". It is the birthplace for several arts and performances such as Canton opera, martial arts, and Cantonese cuisine. China's National Intangible Cultural Heritage list has 13 cultural heritages from the city, including Lion Dance, Canton Opera, and Dragon Boat Regatta. The city's intangible cultural heritages are closely connected to commerce and travel exhibition. Tourists from Guangzhou can extend their tours to Foshan, which can use its geographic and cultural advantages to accelerate the development of commerce and travel exhibition.

InterContinental Foshan
Carlo Schmed, the general manager of InterContinental Foshan, told China Hospitality News about the advantages of Foshan as a MICE city. As the most important manufacturing base and commercial centre in the Pearl River Delta. Guangzhou and Foshan Region enjoys a good reputation globally as the production base of ceramics, furniture and construction steel products and attracts millions of business buyers from all around the world, like mainland china, Hong Kong, Macau, Euro, USA, Middle East, as well as South Asia and China to attend the Canton Fair, Ceramics Fair, and the Furniture Fair that are held on yearly basis. With the recovery of global economy and the growth of domestic demand, Carlo Schmed has the reason to believe that the business travel market and MICE industry will show certain growth in Guangzhou and Foshan Region.

After the tremendous success of the movies "Ip Man" and "Ip Man II", more and more people begin to know Foshan as the origin of "Wing Chun" fist and the hometown of Ye Wen, the renowned martial-arts master. Carlo strongly believed the series of "Ip Man" films would be the promising effect not only to promote Foshan itself but also bring the greatest attraction towards leisure travellers.

Carlo also gave an introduction to the hotel in his reign – InterContinental Foshan. He said that InterContinental Foshan is only a short 10-minute drive from central Foshan, and a mere 18-minute drive to central Guangzhou. Guangzhou International Convention and Exhibition Centre (Canton Fair) is only 28-minute drive away, and it takes 40-minute drive to Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport. The Guangzhou-Foshan metro station is only 10-minute walk away, and it will be opened to traffic before the 2010 Asian Games, which will make the distance shorter and the communication easier between the two cities. Beside, Poly Canal Plaza, the high-end complex in Foshan, is adjacent to hotel, equipped with the comprehensive recreation facilities such as Poly International Cinema, Champion Skating Rink. And, it offers more recreation selections to the hotel guests.

InterContinental Foshan's Grand Ballroom boasts the highest ceiling in Foshan with the height of 7.5 meters and covers 1,032 square meters, and can comfortably seat 630 persons for a sit-down dinner or 930 persons for a cocktail reception. The Grand Ballroom can be divided into two separated ballrooms to offer optimum flexibility to cater to any of the guests' function requirements. The hotel also has fifteen breakout meeting rooms, each features state-of-the-art meeting facilities, and simultaneous broadcast is one of the state-of-the-art meeting facilities that meet function requirements. At present, the hotel is participating and implementing the "InterContinental Meetings" Program, which is not only the InterContinental Brand Initiative but a powerful meeting offering to deliver outstanding customer experiences. Once this InterContinental Meetings microsite is completely developed, meeting planner can obtain e-brochure, view 360 hotel virtual tour, check function room availability, ask for meeting proposal online. Everything they need is easily accessible via this online tool. The hotel has also appointed The Instant Service Manager, who is contactable via a one touch telephone call from each meeting room. The dedicated individual will provide planners and delegates alike with a permanent point of contact, on hand to give immediate assistance during the event itself in order to fulfil customer's needs timely, and to assure the success of all events.

The hotel's Insider Collection delivers unique and truly memorable events firmly rooted in authentic local flavour with a rare, but tangible sense of Foshan. For example: Enriching Foshan historical tour at the Ancestral Temple. Take a short break from the busy schedule to enjoy the folk arts and cultures such as the tea drinking ceremony and Cantonese opera. The general manager recommended that guests to go to Nanfeng Kiln to experience first-hand making of Chinese pottery, or visit the Wong Feihong Memorial Hall to get an in-depth understanding of Chinese martial arts and learn some basic self-defence skills under the guidance of professional Kung Fu masters. During the short tea break, the hotel will treat its guests with local delectable deserts, such as the Manggong Cake, Nine-Layer Cake, Jiujiang Deep-Fried Dough and Milk Jelly. A gentle reminder to not filling your stomach, as the hotel provides luncheon and dinner that are sure to tantalize your palate with authentic Cantonese cuisines, including Fried Milk, Chicken in Chu Hou Sauce, Shredded Chicken in Eggs etc.

Carlo Schmed commented that as InterContinental Foshan is located in the Guangdong Provincial Financial high-tech Zone, it wakes to a splendid view of picturesque scenery or the elegant landscaped garden in each of its luxurious guest rooms. Oasis in the city – that's just perfect for leaving the world behind. During their stay in the hotel, guests can visit the breathtaking Xiqiao Mountain, one of the four major famous mountains in the Lingnan area, or Foshan Ancestral Temple, appreciating Chinese pottery art through the Nanfeng Kiln, enjoying the lush greeneries in the classical Liangyuan Garden, or tracing the ancestral roots of Kung Fu masters Wong Feihong and Bruce Lee, practicing the simple blows and kicks of Wing Chun martial art. The hotel's Chief Concierge and his team are always on hand to help guest enjoy the many enriching experiences that Foshan has to offer.