Executive touch for hotel guests
By DENISE O'CALLAGHAN
HOTELS in Hong Kong are luring business travellers through their doors with everything from special executive suites to personal fax machines and free airline miles.
Several are converting, or have converted, entire floors into executive areas, catering for the business traveller's every need.
The Royal Pacific Hotel is transforming two floors of its Towers Wing into a new Royal Executive Club, which will be launched next month.
It includes 55 guest rooms, four suites, a club lounge and a business centre offering secretarial services and boardroom and office facilities.
Also on offer are personalised stationery, complimentary newspapers and free admission to the fitness centre and squash court.
General manager Ivan Lee said the number of business travellers to Hong Kong was on the rise due to the opportunities opening up in China.
The Royal Executive Club had been introduced in response to this trend, he said.
The Peninsula has also been busy adding facilities for the business traveller.
Its new extension, due to open next year, will include fax machines in all rooms.
There will also be meeting, conference and banquet facilities as well as a health club, spa and swimming pool.
The Excelsior has three executive floors, with facilities including a spacious private executive lounge and business centre.
This offers, among other things, translation assistance and a business reference library.
The Mandarin Oriental said all its 542 rooms were designed with the business traveller in mind.
Features include two-line telephones with IDD and dataport facilities and spacious desk areas.
All 58 suites are equipped with private fax machines.
Jenny Poon, manager of the Hong Kong Federation of Business and Professionals, said the increasingly wide range of specialist facilities was welcome.
Ms Poon said the ''status symbol'' executive suites were useful for holding private meetings, but travellers on a tighter budget could still make use of the business centres provided by many hotels.
Hilton International and Shangri-La and Hyatt are among those which have joined forces with airlines to give travellers a chance to earn free air kilometres, by simply checking in. Under the Passages frequent flyer programme, for example, members of the scheme who stay at participating hotels accumulate 1,000 air kilometres per visit.
Three of the Hong Kong Hilton's six executive floors have been redecorated and others are due to be completed by February next year.
There are also four executive floor lounges, and two conferences rooms which can each accommodate eight people.
The hotel's business centre on the ground floor was also renovated at the end of last year.
The ITT Sheraton Corp said it has simplified and improved its programme for frequent guests.
The ITT Sheraton Club International has just introduced two levels of membership, both offering ClubMiles.
These earn airline mileage, cruise awards and accommodation at Sheraton properties in more than 50 countries.
It is claimed the ClubMiles' scheme will give members the potential to reach award levels faster than in other hotel programmes.
The inducements to international business travellers are growing ever more sophisticated and choosing one hotel above another can take some time weighing up.
But one thing is for sure: the customer can only benefit from the rush to beat the opposition.