Incentive Newsline: Beijing: Group-Ready

Olympics Put City in Prime Condition for Hosting Incentives

 St. Regis Beijing

Incentive executives
are hoping the expansions, enhancements and staging on display during the Olympic Games will pay off in the form of increased incentive business in China.

Bob Gilbert, senior vice president at site-selection firm HelmsBriscoe International, based in Scotts­dale, Ariz., reported that "more companies have shown an interest in China based upon what they saw during the Games."

Host city Beijing increased its stock of upscale properties by 3,500 rooms; debuts included the 825-room Grand Hyatt Beijing and 313-room Hilton Beijing Wangfujing. Scheduled to open next year are the 241-room Mandarin-Oriental, Beijing, and 330-room Four Seasons Beijing.

Gunther Homerlein, director of product development and event services for Destination China, with offices in Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong, is optimistic that the government soon will open iconic Olympic venues such as the Bird's Nest and the Water Cube to groups for private functions.

Tommy Lai, director of sales and marketing at the 360-room St. Regis Beijing, fresh from a $27 million renovation, said post-Olympic incentive business, especially for groups that use 80 to 100 guest rooms, is strong. He expects business to grow even more in 2009.