Delivering flexible service

Interview with Stefan Schmid, General Manager of Hilton Beijing

Being one of the first international hotels to open in Beijing, how important is the MICE concept for Hilton Beijing and how do you maintain competitiveness in holding MICE activities compared to your peers in the local market?

When it comes to the market, for any hotels as well as for us, the right MICE facilities is definitely a key target in terms of the business. To stay competitive, our focus is undoubtedly on service. This year is the 20th anniversary of Hilton Beijing. As the first international hotel chain launched in Beijing, it set a precedent for premier hospitality services and standards, and continues to lead the industry. What can actually make the difference is the service and the quality you offer to any clients, either domestically or internationally. And in order to enhance our service quality, training has become a key issue and is permanently evolving in our hotel, which is not only for the team of operation but also for the team of sales. Guests coming to Beijing to plan their MICE events and they want to have different feelings in different areas. This provides us many opportunities and the sales team becomes a key focus because they need to come up with new ideas, have better understanding on the market, approach to the clients in a new way and make tailor-made offers. Meanwhile, Beijing is the only city in the whole of Asia Pacific that has six Hilton brand hotels, covering from full service segment to luxury one in Beijing strategic locations. Leveraging the brand awareness and joint efforts, Hilton is the best option for meeting planners.


What highlights does Hilton Beijing boast in terms of its MICE facilities and support services?

Our hotel is located in the heart of the business and embassy area in Beijing. We are only 20 minutes away from the airport as well as to the major tourist destinations and key venues for event space. Our total MICE space is 3,200 sqm, which is divided into two ballrooms, ten function rooms, including a total from boardroom to meeting rooms. The biggest function space is our Infinity Ballroom, which depending on the setups can accommodate up to 550 guests. We have a dedicated meeting floor which is on the third floor of the hotel where on one floor. And our Infinity Ballroom has three accesses which can cater to product launches especially car launches.


From your perspective, what are the key elements to ensure a satisfying MICE experience for MICE guests? And what detail services are most valued at Hilton Beijing?

The first key element is definitely the location and the facility itself. And what make the difference are the flexibility and tailor-made packages that we offer for every MICE group. What we value most in Hilton Beijing is to deliver the service our guests expect from us and focus on the details they really need. Couple of months ago, we have a very special dinner for a group of high-end executives who are dedicated to wines. We served 16 different wines and a dedicated four-course menu during the dinner time. There are different requirements to different team, such as culinary, engineering, security, etc. The point for us to differentiate from other hotels is to meet every guest’s specific requirement as long as feasible and to do our job in a flexible way.


Are there any special offers ongoing for MICE guests?

What we have on a regular basis is different promotions based on the seasons. And of course we have our local promotion which is designed for the hotel itself. We also have the countrywide promotion ongoing which is organized by the Hilton Worldwide in Greater China, which is Book More Get More MICE promotion. It is critical to have flexibility when it comes to guest rewards. For this promotion, guest is entitled to enjoy a series of rewards when the event bookings reach a certain amount. Reward should be based on customer preferences, for example, complimentary breakfast or guestroom, HHonors points. Individual hotel can be flexible to cater to guests’ needs. We have special meeting packages which can extend to both domestic and international market. And what we focus in the end of the year as well as the Chinese New Year is the annual meeting package and the annual party package, which is designed not only for local companies, but also for companies inviting their best employees of the year from different destinations to Beijing, with a special package price starting from RMB505 for a minimum of 120 delegates, meeting planners can enjoy the free use of a main function room, a sumptuous buffet selection, and some other benefits.


What potentials do you see in Beijing’s MICE market?

I always feel there are concerns from MICE planners in terms of Beijing’s environment. This city has suffered in the past few years for the heavy pollution, which has negatively affected the local MICE and leisure market in some certain degrees. But from what I have seen this year, it has become much better and I believe the government is putting lots of effort to resolve the problem. Hilton Worldwide is one of the first major multi-brand hospitality companies to make sustainability measurement a brand standard and require performance against sustainability goals. And our hotel is sparing no effort to reduce our carbon footprint at this moment as well. It is not only for the government but also for individuals. Together we can make Beijing a better place for MICE activities.