The MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conventions and Exhibitions) segment of Hong Kong tourism has been growing steadily in recent years, providing a vital source of high-yield visitors. Kenneth Wong, General Manager, MICE & Cruise at the HKTB, explains how his team goes all out to support MICE event organisers amidst fierce regional competition and recent challenges.
“Because of social and public health issues, some event organisers had expressed the wish to reschedule, cancel or even change the format or location of their events. However, our team is not one that gives up easily on opportunities to host a MICE event,” Wong asserted.
To address concerns and showcase the city’s fundamentals remain solid, Wong’s team devised a two-part strategy: assure confirmed events’ organisers by ensuring their smooth staging, and continue to woo potential organisers by highlighting Hong Kong’s edge, as well as the team’s creative and adaptive mind-set for problem-solving.
During bidding and pre-event planning, the MICE teams at HKTB’s Head Office and Worldwide Offices (WWOs) worked in unison to prepare proposals to reassure the clients: the teams mapped out contingency plans and alternatives, such as rerouting advice for event attendees, backup venues and fast-track immigration clearance, while the WWOs communicated the contingency plans and real-time developments in Hong Kong to the clients.
“Our clients trust us because we work diligently and sincerely to make their events a success. During the difficult times in 2019/20, we formed a special taskforce to provide extra support with round-the-clock assistance to reassure event organisers that we would always have their back. When we planned the MIPIM Asia Summit, our Chairman Dr YK Pang initiated a meeting with MIPIM’s Managing Director in person to discuss all assistance the HKTB could possibly offer, followed by a letter from the HKTB as an official commitment. Our goodwill led to an amicable relationship with MIPIM and laid the foundation for future collaboration.”
Securing an event may require much effort, but it is the ability to deliver results for the event’s organiser and participants that makes Hong Kong a super host. The Millionaire Club Indonesia (MCI) Incentive Trip, attended by 3,000 guests, was a good example.
“The challenge of managing incentive groups is that they explore the city in large batches on a fixed itinerary, giving us less flexibility. Nonetheless, our team is proud to rise above all challenges and always
maintain a high level of professionalism to stay agile and demonstrate effectiveness and efficiency,” Wong said.
“When we found out that social incidents would take place near the MCI incentive group’s hotel on the day of their arrival, we immediately contacted our ground operators,” Wong recalled. “After close collaboration between our team, ground operator and the hotel partner involved, we successfully moved the entire group to a property to another district managed by the same hotel group. The guests were satisfied with the arrangement which caused minimal impact and even gave them greater convenience.”
Despite the challenges in the external environment, Hong Kong hosted a number of successful events during the year in review; feedbacks showed that the city remained an enjoyable and enriching destination for MICE participants.
“Real testimonials are more convincing than any marketing effort, so we have invited some MICE organisers and participants to talk about their trips and experiences in Hong Kong. We shall let their honest opinions tell you why Hong Kong is rightfully the ‘World’s Meeting Place’,” Wong said.
In 2019, Hong Kong won 24 bids for major events and hosted numerous events of high strategic value. The fact that many events chose to return to Hong Kong is proof of the city’s appeal.