How will the new terminal affect the U.S. MICE market?
Flora: I’d say based on our overall market share it’s maybe in the neighborhood of about 10 percent. I think it could vary but it’s the combination of the quality of the new cruise terminal, and especially the connectivity to China, that will probably cause that to grow over the years.
Yung: The new terminal will be easily accessible from anywhere in Hong Kong. Even if we have a group staying in a hotel that’s not near the terminal, it’s still very easy for them to go to the terminal and have an event there. It’s in the heart of the urban area so it’s like six miles from anywhere in urban Hong Kong.
Lau: From the cruise terminal to the nearest hotel is about three minutes. Going to the tourist area is about a 10- to 15-minute drive. Going to the Hong Kong CVB is 15 minutes through the tunnel. So it’s really convenient and quick.
Flora: Going back to the cruise terminal and MICE events, I think there are often large companies that are looking for locations with real cache and this has cache for two reasons. We’ve talked about the incredible view of the harbor and skyline. But I also think architectural relevance is very strong these days and brings cache to events so I think being able to say that you’re bringing your group to a building designed by Sir Norman Foster, and especially one as beautiful as this, makes it kind of a special destination for groups.
Would you call Hong Kong an ‘Affordable Luxury’ destination?
Flora: I’m fairly new to Hong Kong and what stunned me is the variety of ways you can do it. If you want to do it and you’re at a high-ticket item, you can stay at some of the best hotels in the world and go to Michelin star restaurants. But the interesting part that is often overlooked is the wide variety of hotels at different price points.
Yung: Altogether we have about 62,000 hotel rooms at the present moment. And two-thirds of them are in the middle-range. I do think we have sufficient supply of affordable accommodations for our visitors.
Lau: Obviously we have peak seasons with trade shows and all that, like any big city. But if you’re talking about comparing Hong Kong to New York or L.A., I think our 5-star hotels are more affordable in those terms.
Take the Four Seasons Hotel Hong Kong, for example. Our normal rate is like $400 a night. Compared to the one in New York, which is probably like $800 a night, it’s more affordable. I think more importantly, other than the hotel itself, is the service that you get in Asia. Our service is just unbeatable.