Co-Operation or Competition?

What is your dream wedding? An outdoors garden ceremony? A banquet with whales and tropical fishes swimming nearby? Or penguins as your flower girls and boys? Chimelong Hengqin Bay Hotel held a wedding fair last Saturday, showcasing its special offerings with partner businesses offering everything from wedding cakes and video shooting to wedding dress design and car rental. With brides and grooms-to-be from Zhuhai and neighbouring cities in Guangdong the core customers, the soon-to-be-betrothed from Macau and Hong Kong are major target customers as well. “In fact, last night a couple from Macau held their wedding here,” said Chimelong Hengqin Bay Hotel Marketing Communications Manager, Fay Huang. “Since the opening of the hotel, many clients from Macau and Hong Kong choose to have their weddings here, especially those where one side is from the SARs and the other is from the Mainland.” “Our offerings are unmatchable, in terms of the entertainment we provide within the integrated resort with theme park and circus show, as well as the outdoor facilities and large ballroom that can host thousands of guests,” said Ms. Huang. “The location is also one of the key factors for couples from the SARs as nowadays, many of them want to invite guests from both the SARs and the Mainland. It’s very convenient here for that.” The wedding fair features simulated wedding scene, a wedding dress fashion walk, video production showcasing and other activities, which have attracted around 400 guests, as well as 85 media outlets from Mainland China, Hong Kong and Guangdong. Ms. Huang also saidthat the hotel plans to join the 8th Guangzhou Wedding Expo due to open in July. MICE While wedding events can be more profitable, meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions (MICE) businesses are also one of the major businesses of the hotel. “Since opening last year on January 18, many MICE events have taken place here. Many companies have their annual meeting here, as well, such as pharmaceutical, insurance, IT and various types of companies,” said the General Manager of Chimelong Hengqin Bay Hotel, Ivan Leung. While Macau is positioning itself as a future world tourism and leisure hub and pushing forward in developing its MICE industry, Chimelong Hengqin Bay Hotel believes the space it offers and the scale of events it is able to facilitate is very much to its advantage. “Usually, the number of guests for one meeting is far more than 100 or 200. They are of the scale of around 2,000 people,” said Leung. “You can see our meeting facilities – this grand ballroom has 3,000 square metres, another smaller one is 2,200 square metres, adding more than 20 function rooms – we can facilitate meetings for 2,000 to 3,000 people without doubt.” Macau partner Many have been predicting the future of a more integrated tourism offer for Macau SAR and neighbouring Hengqin Island, especially with the large-scale resort of Chimelong and its theme park, shows and hotels, Mr. Leung told Business Daily that some partnerships are already underway while some are about to materialise. “We’ve signed a partnership with The Venetian that their customers and members can travel to our hotel with designated transportation as a promotional package for them to enjoy both facilities,” said Mr. Leung. “We also have a partnership with some other transportation companies for tourists to travel from Macau to here. And we are also in talks with some other hotels in Macau for co-operation.” While Mr. Leung indicated that the 24-hour border crossing at Lotus/Hengqin Port between Macau SAR and the island facilitates greater convenience for Macau people with vehicles with double licence plate to travel to his hotel anytime, he added that a better public transport system is necessary. “Actually, casino operators have their own target market. What they want is that our guests after visiting our facilities travel to Macau to their properties. Vice versa, the theme park here is also a great offering of entertainment after tourists visit Macau for gaming. What’s necessary is a better cross-border transportation network between the locations to better facilitate tourists,” said Mr. Leung. The future Hengqin Bay Hotel has 1,888 hotel rooms. With two other hotels within the Chimelong International Ocean Resort complex on Hengqin Island – Circus Hotel and Penguin Hotel – opened in February this year, offering some 5,000 hotel rooms in total. Although the general manager of Hengqin Bay Hotel declined to talk about its hotel occupancy rate, saying it was a “trade secret”, the online booking system shows that the hotel has been fully booked during the weekends up to next month. On Saturday, a parking space was hard to find – with the parking lot filled with cars with licence plate revealing they are from Zhuhai as well as many from neighbouring cities in Guangdong Province such as Guangzhou, Shenzhen and Zhongshan. Many cars also sported Macau double licence plates. A stream of tour buses carrying batches of visitors arrived at the hotel entrance, as the Chimelong group has a strong network of tour agencies around the country. Inside the hotel, guests speaking different Chinese dialects, as well as Korean, Japanese and English, could be seen filling the common areas. Hotel staff told us that many are individual customers travelling from Hong Kong. The general manager also believes that with the development of Hengqin Island, especially with the official inauguration of the Free Trade Zone, the prospects of the hotel and resort are promising. “Now, a lot of large trading companies are coming to Hengqin Free Trade Zone and joining this larger picture of the future development of Hengqin New Area,” said Ivan Leung. “In the future, more and more companies will settle here, which I believe will bring more people and make this place more and more popular.” Chimelong Group Co., Ltd Founded in 1989, Chimelong Group Co., Ltd. is a conglomerate that owns and operates theme parks, luxury hotels, convention centres, high-end restaurants and leisure entertainment businesses. It is the leading enterprise in China’s tourism industry. In January 2014, the first phase of Zhuhai Chimelong International Ocean Resort, including Zhuhai Chimelong Ocean Kingdom, Zhuhai Chimelong Hengqin Bay Hotel and Zhuhai Chimelong International Circus City, was completed and opened to the public. The three projects under Zhuhai Chimelong International Ocean Tourist Resort attracted more than 500,000 visitors during the 2014 Spring Festival. Hengqin Bay Hotel Chimelong Hengqin Bay Hotel was built with the co-operation of the world’s leading architects and interior and landscape designers. Occupying a total construction area of 300,000 square metres, the hotel opened on January 18, 2014. Located in Chimelong International Ocean Tourist Resort, part of the Hengqin New District, the hotel is only a 5-minute drive from Hengqin Port, connecting Zhuhai and Macau, and a 45-minute drive from Jiuzhou Port, where guests can board the ferry for Hong Kong. Chimelong Hengqin Bay Hotel features 1,888 spacious guestrooms and suites, while offering a wide range of dining facilities, providing Chinese, Western, Japanese, and Asian cuisine. The luxury event space includes two ballrooms occupying 3,000 square metres and 1,200 square metres, along with 26 fully equipped meeting rooms. A dolphin pool, outdoor swimming pool, artificial beach and water park surround the property, while a1000-metre Grand Canal connects the hotel to Chimelong Ocean Kingdom, along which guests can take water taxis.