Hong Kong hotels target Middle East market

Arab guests feeling at home is crucial to Asian hotel operators

Concierge staff at the InterContinental Grand Stanford Hong Kong are trained to give advice on Islamic prayer times.
Concierge staff at the InterContinental Grand Stanford Hong Kong are trained to give advice on Islamic prayer times.

Hotels in Hong Kong are focusing their efforts on catering to the Middle East guest in an attempt to attract more people from the region.

Training concierge staff to advise on prayer times and the direction of Mecca, and improving food operations to offer Halal and pork-free alternatives are just some of the steps top-end hotels are taking, according to Hong Kong Tourism Board director Simon Mills.

“We've arranged for staff to come over from our Middle East hotels to train all of our Hong Kong staff on how to make the Arab customer feel at home,” said Island Shangri-La Hong Kong director of sales -travel trade Larry Chan.

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“This can be something as simple as offering Arabic coffee, complementary dates and providing Arabic newspapers and television channels," he added.

Similarly, Royal Plaza Hotel, Hong Kong, associate director of sales William Chan and InterContinental Grand Stanford Hong Kong sales manager Roget Chow claimed that tailoring their offerings to ensure the comfort of Arab guests was a new and key sales strategy at each hotel in 2009.

“More than 180,000 visitors come from the Middle East each year and we're hoping to increase this figure by working with hotels and travel operators to make services and products more appealing to this region,” said Mills.

Furthermore, Mills said that Hong Kong hotels were largely targeting leisure guests from the regional top-end market by offering luxury products as demanded by the typical Middle Eastern client. 

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