In December 2010, I had the honour of organising a Strategic Decision Making Experiential Programme for 200+ Bristol-Myers Squibb Sales Leaders in Xiamen, China. This was part of their annual meeting where more than 1,000 of their staff are involved.
The hotel which hosted our segment of the activities was Crowne Plaza Paragon Xiamen, and all I can say is that we are absolutely impressed with how they created a “wow” MICE experience, not just for the client, but also for event organisers like us.
To start off, as the activity involves more than 200 participants, it was also quite a logistical challenge for us as we had to ship the equipment and costumes from Shanghai to Xiamen. Since we need to handover the costumes to the participants the day before our event, we needed some space to hold on to those 250 sets of costumes.
Hence, we approached the hotel concierge and asked if they could help us find some space for the costumes. Since the space required was quite substantial, the concierge said he had to consult management, and will get back to us in 5 minutes.
Exactly 5 minutes later, we got a reply. Due to insufficient space, the concierge area could not hold our costumes. However, the hotel could provide their Reception Lounge right next to their meeting rooms and ballrooms. And we can even arrange our participants to pick up their costumes at that Reception Lounge, which was available till 10 p.m. that evening.
That’s not all. Despite handling 200+ of our participants, the hotel still had other MICE bookings that day too, and it has to make sure that all its guests have a wow experience regardless.
When we returned from our experiential training activities, ALL 200+ participants were crowding around the lift lobby, and some of the hotel guests could not get on the lifts to their rooms. Fortunately, the staff at the hotel were present to direct traffic so as to ease the jam, and pacify agitated guests.
That’s not all. Since our participants were on a tight schedule to check out, return their costumes, have lunch and then catch their flights, we needed these processes to be handled smoothly. The hotel provided a temporary check-out counter right beside the ballroom where lunch will be taking place. They also provided another meeting room for us to collect the costumes from the participants.
Hence, our participants could just check out, deposit their luggage, return their costumes, have lunch and then fly out without leaving the hotel’s conference area. Ample hotel staff were around to give directions so that we don’t run into the wrong rooms and disrupt other people’s events. We were simply amazed at the efficiency and service quality of the hotel staff, who could still accommodate our demands with a smile all the time.
Ultimately, I don’t think that the client will return to the same city for their events anytime soon, to event organisers like us, we definitely know whom we can count on to provide more than just accommodation, F&B and meeting rooms for our future events in Xiamen.
In this regard, I thank the General Manager of the Crowne Plaza Paragon Xiamen, Mr. Magandran Suppiah for helping us deliver a “wow” experience for our clients. Mr. Suppiah and his team “wow”ed us by pre-empting the business needs of not just his guests, but also the event organisers like us who are also responsible to deliver the “wow” experience for his guests too. Mr. Suppiah didn’t just made us feel special, in fact he and his team made sure every guest is special and enjoy the experience with them. It is such a “wow” MICE experience that really makes the Crowne Plaza THE Place to Meet.
While some may attribute to the better attitudes of the people in Xiamen when it comes to servicing customers, I believe that it is not just the natural abilities of the people to know what customers want, and then get it done before the customer says it. I believe it had been great leadership abilities on the part of the management of Crowne Plaza Paragon Xiamen that really raised the bar for all business hotels to emulate.