Monthly Archives

March 2019

Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park, London Now Fully Open

By | 2019

The property will re-open in its entirety on Monday, April 15 having completed the most extensive restoration in its 117-year history.  This includes all new guest rooms and suites and, two newly created expansive penthouse suites. Most accommodation offers exceptional views of leafy Hyde Park and the London skyline.

“Mandarin Oriental is enormously proud of the heritage of this historic hotel. The scope and intricate detail of this momentous renovation is designed to ensure this iconic London establishment is recognised as one of the finest hotels in the world. We look forward to welcoming our guests with kind and intuitive service that is truly British but reflective of our Oriental heritage,” said Amanda Hyndman, general manager and area vice president of operations.

Guestrooms and Suites

Internationally renowned designer, Joyce Wang oversaw the redesign of all guest rooms and suites, along with the creation of the hotel’s new penthouses, taking inspiration from the peaceful park side location, as well as the glamour of the early 20th century’s Golden Age of travel. All 181 guest rooms and suites are now more luxurious and comfortable than ever before, with art deco-inspired features including carefully curated artworks and custom-designed furniture.

 The Spa

New York designer Adam D. Tihany was responsible in redesigning of the next-generation Spa at Mandarin Oriental, London. In keeping with the fresh new look, the extensive spa menu has also been enhanced to include exclusive partnerships with some of the most sought-after health and wellness experts in the world. The new spa features 13 individual treatments rooms, an Oriental Suite with two massage beds and a Rasul water temple, a room designed for traditional ASANTE Chinese Medicine consultations and treatments and a Bastien Gonzalez Pedi:Mani:Cure Studio – the first of its kind in the UK.

The Restaurants and Bar

Adam D. Tihany managed the light refurbishment of Dinner by Heston Blumenthal, Bar Boulud, London and Mandarin Bar. The Rosebery, known as the Bennett Tearoom in the 1920s, will offer a special 1920s Afternoon Tea, while Mandarin Bar has created a series of special cocktails named after celebrated guests and iconic events that took place within the hotel.


Event Spaces

Having hosted royal parties and glamorous events since the 1900s, the hotel’s Ballroom and Loggia have also been lovingly restored to include 24-carat gilding of many original features.  Both venues enjoy access from the park via the private Royal entrance. The renovation also includes a beautiful hand-painted Butterfly Terrace by artist Leah Wood, along with two new versatile meeting spaces, Asquith and Balfour, for private meetings and social soirees.

Public Areas

The first phase of the renovation was unveiled in September 2017.  Joyce Wang was commissioned to transform the Lobby Lounge and Reception area, which now blend seamlessly with The Rosebery’s nature inspired décor. Contemporary materials, including acrylic, are juxtaposed with more traditional finishes such as blond burl wood. Centre piece commissioned glass chandeliers enhance the dramatic entrance. The reception artwork by Fredrikson Stallard, is an abstraction of the textured and layered bark of the Plane Tree – the signature tree of Hyde Park.


The hotel has commissioned VISTO Images to compile an outstanding art portfolio throughout the hotel.  Each of the hotel’s new floor landings showcase a striking photograph by Mary McCartney, who is the official photographer of the Group’s international advertising campaign, while the corridors are home to pieces inspired by the nature of Hyde Park and English technological innovations featured in the 1851 Great Exhibition.  Other eclectic art pieces can be found throughout the hotel’s public areas.

History of the Building

The building was commissioned in the late 1880’s however construction was initially delayed due to fears that its height would cast a shadow over the Serpentine. It finally opened in 1889 as an exclusive block of apartments for affluent bachelors, before opening as a hotel, with its own private Royal Entrance, in 1902.

Since then, many honoured guests have passed through the hotel, and for several years after the Second World War, it was the headquarters of the SAS. Glamorous parties and dance classes by the venerable Madame Vacani who taught HM Queen Elizabeth II and Princess Margaret to dance have been held in the ballroom.

Sir Winston Churchill lived in the hotel for a while and was known to offer room service waiters two cigars in return for the delivery of an early breakfast. Evelyn Waugh was also a regular guest, and characterised some of his fellow guests after his many stays.

Many of these momentous past events can be viewed in more detail in the newly created Historical Journey Exhibition on permanent display in the hotel from Monday, April 15.

It’s Time We Talked WeChat

By | 2019

By Nicole Ci, Project Manager at IBTM China

Chinese social media giant WeChat (known in China as Weixin) has around one billion active monthly users, making it the country’s most used app. In fact, WeChat has become so ubiquitous in China that it is now one of the main ways people communicate here. Even at work and when doing business, WeChat is used more than email, so it’s an important tool to get to grips with if you are looking to do business in the APAC region. Here’s our guide to what it is and how it can help you yield fantastic business results in the region.

China’s answer to Facebook

Competing social media sites like Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and Instagram are blocked under China’s internet censorship policy, and while WeChat is often called China’s answer to Facebook, the ‘super-app’ is streets ahead of its US counterpart, offering users a vast digital platform that integrates instant messaging, social entertainment and digital lifestyle management – all in one app.

WeChat owner Chinese tech giant Tencent’s mission is “to improve the quality of life through internet value-added services”.  An industry leader and pioneer of innovation, Tencent aims to provide platforms and services that connect everything, and WeChat is its primary vehicle. Since its launch in 2011, the app has evolved into the living embodiment of this ambitious goal, and more and more businesses across the world are realising its huge potential to reach millions of customers in China and across the APAC region.

Endless possibilities

During its short life, WeChat has been transformed from a messaging app into a digital eco-system that enables its users to build blogs and make money selling advertising space on them (millions of yuan in some cases), play games, pay for goods, top-up mobile phone credit, hail a taxi, make doctor’s appointments, book flights and hotels…the list is almost endless.

WeChat’s social feature ‘Moments’ enables users to engage in real-time communications via text and multimedia messages, make video calls and share photos. They can play games, create gifs to stick on their personal ‘Sticker Gallery’ and find new friends using innovative friend-adding services such as ‘Shake’ (connect with anyone, anywhere when they shake their phone when you do) and ‘People Nearby’ (connect with people nearby).

WeChat for business

WeChat is accessible worldwide, but most of its users – up to 90 percent – are in China. To promote services and products to WeChat users in mainland China, you must have a business presence registered in the country. If you do, you can go ahead and choose which WeChat subscription you would like and start using the platform. If your business doesn’t have a presence in China, there are still an estimated 100 million international users of WeChat you can target (including Chinese users in Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Macau).

As a marketing tool, WeChat connects people with one another, with smart devices and with business services. For example, Dianping, a restaurant-rating app, DiDi a ride-hailing service and Meituan, a food delivery service, can all promote their services to users from within WeChat and can all be used from within its ecosystem – there’s no need to leave the app.

Many brands are jumping on board and seeing WeChat as the gateway to reaching a potential pool of millions of Chinese customers however, it pays to spend a bit of time making sure your content stands out from the crowd. For example, for the release of one of their running shoes, Nike noted the general mood of WeChat users away from text heavy content and towards interactive visuals to create a simple, yet stunning advert that prompts users to discover the new shoe by sliding a colour burst upwards to reveal short and snappy content and visuals, until the colour burst is brought back together again. This post gained almost 8,000 views on the Nike Women account alone.

Mini Programmes

Mini programmes are an exciting development on WeChat. They are similar to apps but are often faster and typically take up less than 10MB. You can create a mini programme for all sorts of things, from banking, to locating shared bikes and booking medical appointments. However, one way that mini programmes have really taken off is in the realm of gamification. For example, when WeChat launched the game ‘jump, jump’ in December 2017, it gained 400 million users within the first three days. The use of games is a clever tactic used by brands to raise awareness and engage with their audiences.

WeChat mini programmes also offer interesting opportunities for the MICE industry. For example, WeChat’s ‘City Experiences’ brand provides audio guides to different cities around the globe, highlighting points of interest, attractions, hotels, tours and even making itinerary suggestions. These guides are available for cities including London, Dubai and Sydney, and WeChat are hoping to roll these out for all major tourist destinations around the world, with the support of the local tourism boards.

 Emojis and stickers

In China it’s not unusual to use emojis and stickers in messages with business contacts. They are commonly used as an easy and interactive way to quickly communicate a message and you’ll become accustomed to using them in no time.

WeChat pay

When buying items online in China, you can pay with WeChat Pay. You simply need to enter a passcode or use a biometric authentication tool to authorise the transaction. And, as long as you have a Chinese bank account that is linked to WeChat, you can use the app to pay for goods and services almost anywhere in China. In many situations, there is no need for cash or a payment card; you can pay for groceries in major supermarkets, food from the smallest of street vendors and even taxis, just using WeChat from your smart device. You can also make instant money transfers to your contacts in WeChat using the messaging function. This can be used to split bills in restaurants or just move money within China.

In summary, China’s ‘super app’ WeChat is a powerful tool for accessing a vast number of potential customers across the APAC region. Its versatility offers a huge amount of potential for businesses, and exciting new ways for them to engage and interact with customers. Getting to know this app inside and out, and the ways in which people like to use it, is a crucial first step.


Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre Partners with City & Guilds and GO1 to Develop Food and Beverage Specialists in Business Events Industry

By | 2019

Left:  Muhammad Vickneswaran, Director of Human Resources, Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre, Victoria Horrox, Head of Sales East Asia, City & Guilds Group, Alan Pryor, General Manager of the Centre and Aizat Hashim, Head Account Manager, GO1. 

Recently the Centre signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with City & Guilds of United Kingdom and GO1 to begin training sessions at the venue.

Through City & Guilds, the Centre’s internal training modules will be given a global recognition.  It will be introduced in two phases:  In the first phase, the module will cover culinary, beverage, food safety, people management and banqueting skills; and the second phase of training will be more venue-centric focused on modules such as event coordination, audio visual and information technology competencies, meeting design and set-up.

“The investment on our Employee Enrichment Programme is designed to develop the subject matter expertise of our team members and to advance their professional development. This contributes to our vision to set ourselves apart as an employer of choice and is part of our succession plannings,” said the Centre’s director of global business development and marketing, Angeline van den Broecke.

City & Guilds is United Kingdom’s leading awarding organisation for work-based qualifications offering more than 500 qualifications through 8,500 colleges and training providers in 81 countries worldwide.

In collaboration with GO1, the Centre has created its very own learning management system (LMS) that provides employees with opportunities and flexibility to grow and enhance their skills through an on-the-go learning platform of EduClick.

GO1 is an established leader in online learning and education offering the simplest way for businesses to find, book and deliver their corporate training.

Alan Pryor, the Centre’s general manager congratulated the human resources team of the new partnerships which he mentioned, was built on the success of the Centre’s previous training initiatives.



IAAPA Announces Special Events and Program Schedule for IAAPA Expo Asia 2019

By | 2019

Attractions industry professionals from around the world are invited to take part in several professional networking opportunities and education programs during IAAPA Expo Asia in Shanghai, China this June  11 to 14. This year, more than 8,500 participants are expected to attend the international conference and trade show for the multibillion-dollar global attractions industry.

Special events scheduled are:

On the first night (June 12), is an Opening Reception at Shanghai Haichang Ocean Park.  Attendees will celebrate at Shanghai’s newest ocean theme park while networking with industry peers from around the world.

For breakfast on June 13, a leadership talk which will feature a keynote address by Joe Schott who is the president and general manager of Shanghai Disney Resort. The annual leadership breakfast provides senior-level attractions industry professionals the opportunity to learn and network with regional and global colleagues.

An Operators’ Reception on June 13.  Attendees will come together with other operators from the Asia Pacific region to exchange ideas. This event includes discussions about enhancing safety and efficiency operations, motivating employees, and driving profits.

Young Professionals Reception at the Shanghai Dungeon on June 13.  Attendees will explore the newly opened Shanghai Dungeon – a horror house recreating historical urban myths based on real life incidents. A reception will follow the experience.

Admission to the events listed above requires separate tickets and this is in addition to IAAPA Expo Asia registration. To purchase tickets to these events, and to register for IAAPA Expo Asia, visit

Messe Berlin Member of the World Tourism Alliance (WTA)

By | 2019

Members of WTA include national tourism associations, influential tourism enterprises, academic institutes and other institutions from around the world. Messe Berlin, which is among the top ten trade fair and event organisers worldwide, has been officially awarded membership of the WTA World Tourism Alliance.

“We are very much honoured that Messe Berlin has joined WTA and confident that with its expertise we can build a more competitive and responsible tourism industry for the benefit of all,” said WTA’s secretary-general, Liu Shijun.

The World Tourism Alliance is the first global non-governmental, nonprofit tourism organisation established in China on September 12, 2017 that is committed to promoting peace, global development and poverty reduction through responsible tourism.

Guided by its vision of a “Better Tourism, Better Life, Better World” the Alliance, work with travel and tourism industry around the world. Up until March 2019, it has 182 members in 38 countries and regions, covering all five continents.

Above:  World Tourism Alliance Secretary-General, Liu Shijun (left)  and Dr Martin Buck  Senior Vice President, Travel & Logistics Messe Berlin.

Messe Berlin organises the travel trade show of ITB China which will take place from May 15 to 17 in Shanghai for the third time.

More information at