Each year more than 400,000 international conventions are held worldwide and the direct and indirect economic benefits exceed USD280 billion. The large potential of the industry in China, and the high returns, have attracted many governmental and non-governmental institutions to invest in the new business. Here we review some of the offerings in Wuhan.
Wuhan Science and Technology Convention and Exhibition Center
Wuhan Science and Technology Convention and Exhibition Center is located beside the East Lake, adjacent to the emerging "Optics Valley of China". It is an intelligent, multifunctional, and comprehensive convention and exhibition center integrating Chinese and western cultures. The total floor area of the center is 90,000 square meters, including exhibition halls of 30,000 square meters, meeting rooms of 5,000 square meters, office buildings of 22,000 square meters, together with supporting facilities like restaurants and residences which occupy an area of 35,000 square meters.
The two-floor Exhibition Hall A has a total area of 5,000 square meters, and is equipped with central air conditioner, a sightseeing elevator, an escalator, and a freight elevator. It can accommodate up to 430 international standard booths, and is suitable for cultural, educational, and technological exhibitions. Hall B's major pillar-less area can host 150 international standard booths, and the minor hall can provide 400 booths. Hall B is the venue for large industrial exhibitions such as automobile,s machinery, electronics, and building materials.
Ramada Plaza Optics Valley Hotel Wuhan
Located in the heart of China's Optics Valley, Ramada Plaza Optics Valley Hotel Wuhan is a five-star hotel near the Wuhan Science & Technology Convention and Exhibition Center. Liu Yuejin, the general manager of the hotel, believes that the location has brought higher synergy to MICE offerings in this area. The meeting facilities of WSTCEC and the room and dining facilities can complement each other to create a product chain for large-scale conferences and exhibitions. And MICE guests can make up for lost revenue in the low season for business travel. The hotel can meet the demands of high-end guests in the convention and exhibition industry.
With support from East Lake Hi-Tech Development Zone, the hotel has undertaken many international activities since its opening, including several involving catering for large groups. For example, the FIFA Women's World Cup group draw and the World Medical Association annual conference.
A new geographic advantage for the hotel is the subway station which is currently under construction. After this open, it will be easier to get to any destination in Wuhan.
Liu told China Hospitality News that MICE guests would think of following factors when choosing a suitable hotel: the geographic location, flexible prices, an attentive and professional meeting reception, diverse cuisine, internal coordination ability, and emergency response capacity. In the high season in Wuhan, the hotel would provide targeted services. On one hand, the hotel will provide a meticulous overall reception plan by integrating its services; on the other hand, it will position its products according to exhibitions from different industries and regions and provide specific product portfolios to guests to guarantee a high service quality and customer satisfaction. For example, the hotel would offer personalized VIP services to MICE team,s or provide catering services with Chinese and western cuisines to events.
Liu says that guests should have a say on the quality of the hotel's meeting facilities. The hotel has a grand ballroom with multifunctional rooms on the same floor, and all are equipped with high-tech meeting facilities, especially green, state-of-the-art LED screens. There is an independent kitchen on the same floor as the ballroom, to ensure the quality of dishes. Chinese, western, and Japanese restaurants can meet the demands from different MICE groups; and different banquet and meeting setups offer different experiences. The hotel's MICE team provides professional meeting solutions to companies and organizations and aims to bring unexpected surprise sto organizers and participants.
China Machine Tool 7 Tool Builders' Association held its annual meeting in Ramada Plaza Optics Valley Hotel Wuhan in mid-March 2010. The organizers were from Beijing and know little about Wuhan. They chose the hotel for its expertise in MICE and its meeting facilities. The organizers asked a lot about the details. The hotel's MICE team made a digital document for them including information about the nearest Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, a road map showing the route to the hotel from other places, and contact details for the hotel. The team also provided a list of functional divisions and contact details within the hotel to the organizers. The hotel carefully chose the menu to meet guests' tastes while keeping local features. After each meal, the hotel requested comments on food quality and the food combinations to help improve the next meal. The hotel was highly praised by the guests for its attentive service, and also received a thank-you letter from the meeting organizer.
In May 2010, the hotel hosted the Fourth Critical Care Medicine Conference organized by the China Medical Association. The main venue was the Wuhan Science and Technology Convention and Exhibition Center as there were over 3,000 participants. As the only five-star hotel close to the exhibition center, Ramada Plaza Optics Valley Hotel Wuhan received guests from major pharmaceutical companies and hospitals. The 1,000-person dinner on the first day was held in a 5,000-square-meter hall of the second phase project of the center with 100 tables. The hotel had made a detailed plan for the catering of the dinner — from the layout of the hall, the setup of the tables and chairs, and the vehicles, to the service personnel. To meet the various tastes of guests, hotel has also personalized the menu for the dinner. The red chair, the white table skirt, the table setting, and the light music, impressed the guests who had a wonderful night, and also satisfied the conference organizer.
Lui says high-end professional hotels are the necessary foundation for the smooth progress of convention and exhibition industry. Hardware facilities and hotels service is the basis for the win-win situation between the exhibition industry and the hotel industry. The exhibition industry provides guests for hotels, meanwhile it requires hotel to improve its facilities and services to meet the demand from MICE guests. Hotels also gain in reputation.
Wuhan Optical Valley Kingdom Hotel
Wuhan Optical Valley Kingdom Hotel is located at the heart of China's Optics Valley facing the East Lake, with Desheng Mountain on the other side, and is adjacent to Wuhan Science and Technology Convention and Exhibition Center. The hotel is only a 10-minute drive away from the East Lake Scenic Spot, Wuchang central commercial trading circle .and the center of Optical Valley. It is a 50-minute drive away from Tianhe International Airport.
Wuhan Optical Valley Kingdom Hotel offers 368 lakeview or mountainview rooms and suites. All rooms have desk, broadband Internet access, private safe, free coffee and tea, mini bar, satellite and cable TV, and an independent bathroom.
The hotel's 2,200 square meters of multifunctional rooms and its grand ballroom can meet the demands of 1,200 people for meetings and banquets.
Wuhan International Convention And Exhibition Center
Wuhan International Convention and Exhibition Center, — the former Wuhan Exhibition Hall — was also known as the "Sino-Soviet Friendship Palace". It was built in 1956, the fourth comprehensive exhibition hall built in China after the liberation: following Beijing, Shanghai, and Guangzhou. It has hosted over 700 international and domestic large- and medium-sized exhibitions over the last 40 years and has gained a high reputation internationally and nationally. In 1994, Wuhan signed a joint development contract on the development of Wuhan Exhibition Hall land together with the Taiwan-based Donglian Group, to build a modern, professional international convention and exhibition Hall on the site of the original Wuhan Exhibition Hall. The new center was put into operation in September 2001 and was the largest in central China.
As a landmark of Wuhan, the center's underground area, square, and main building was made a whole. With functions for exhibitions and meetings, a parking lot, an information exchange, indoor and outdoor squares for business and trade negotiations, a shopping center, and a foreign business service center, it can provide services such as commercial affairs, communications, advertising, decoration, dining, recreation, entertainment, travel, parking, transportation, and storage.
The center has a total floor area of 127,000 square meters; and the ten exhibition halls cover an area of 50,000 square meters, enough for 2,800 international standard booths. There are 15,000 square meters of meeting venues for meeting rooms, multifunctional rooms, ballrooms, auditoriums, VIP rooms, and press centers: altogether 40 in total. The outdoor square covers 54,000 square meters and is the largest city center square in Wuhan, together with Zhongshan Gongshu Green square.
Ramada Plaza Tian Lu Hotel, Wuhan
Located in the business, shopping and entertainment center of Wuhan, the hotel is half a kilometer away from Wuhan International Convention and Exhibition Center, three kilometers from Hankou Railway Station, and 25 kilometers from Tianhe International Airport.
Hotel has 308 rooms including 132 deluxe rooms, 88 suites, 47 club rooms, 19 club studios, 18 club suites and one club deluxe suite. The 19th to 23rd floors are Club Ramada Floors, the 15th, 17th, 19th and 21st floors are smoke-free floors. All rooms are equipped with a cordless phone, an in-room safe, satellite TV, independent air conditioning, double glazed windows with fresh air ventilators, coffee and tea making facilities, a hairdryer, and an automated voice mail system. Club Ramada Floor is accessible only with wincard key access.
There are 13 meeting rooms of various sizes in the hotel. The 450-square-meter ballroom is the place for business meetings, corporate gatherings, and private dinners, and can accommodate up to 350 people. High-tech meeting facilities like projectors, built-in screens, and video camera can be found in all meeting venues to meet the varied needs of different meetings.
New World Hotel Wuhan
Situated in the heart of Hankou's business district, the New World Hotel Wuhan enjoys a premier location and is only a short stroll from Wuhan International Convention and Exhibition Center while Wuhan Tianhe Airport is 45 minutes' drive and Hankou Railway Station is only 10 minutes' drive away.
The five-star 27-storey hotel features 327 guestrooms and suites equipped with LCD TVs, individually controlled air conditioning, broadband Internet access, a two-line telephone, and a bath tub and separate shower cubicle. Executive Floors on floors 25 to 27 offer extra benefits and privileges to business travelers. The Executive Lounge on 26th floor is for exclusive use of Executive Floor guests. With a spectacular view of Wuhan, the lounge provides a complimentary breakfast, evening snacks, and cocktails as well as wireless Internet access.
The hotel also features 1,000 square meters of multi-purpose function space including a 440-square-meter pillarless grand ballroom and five conference centers of varied sizes, in addition to a 145-square-meter multi-purpose area with fusion elements specialized for catering and banquet use.
Three Reasons for Choosing a Hotel
Wuhan Hewlett-Packard Company's major client department holds new product launch conferences, technology exchange meetings, and industrial applications conferences in Wuhan: the number of participants ranges from 20 to 100 people. The manager of the department Hao Pengpeng told China Hospitality News that these meetings are usually held in five-star hotels; and the style of decoration, quality and service of hotel staff, and the entire environment of the hotel are among Hao's primary considerations.
Of all the hotels Hao has ever chosen, including Shangri-La Hotel Wuhan, Ramada Plaza Optics Valley Hotel Wuhan, Wuhan Jin Jiang International Hotel, the Ramada Plaza Optics Valley Hotel Wuhan has impressed him the most for its attentive services.
Local Features Inspire Creativity
HighTeam Communications' senior account manager, Gao Ran, says the company has organized the opening events for Alstom Wuhan Boiler Co., Ltd. The nature, time, scale, number of participants, budget, area of the venue, affiliated venues, and power ssupplies are all factors that should be considered before choosing a right venue.
Gao believes there are many local Wuhan features that can be used in activities. For Example, the East Land, Jianghan Road, and Yellow Crane Tower can bring many creative ideas to a company's activities. HighTeam Communications has held events in Marco Polo Wuhan, Logosun Hotel and Ramada Plaza Optics Valley Hotel Wuhan; and the Ramada has really impressed him.