Hongkong Heritage Tourism Brands – see its members, above, meeting at The Murray – uniquely provides a collaborative for Hong Kong’s hospitality names to speak to the world. The collaborative comprises, in alphabetical, Harilela, Langham Hospitality Group, Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group, The Peninsula Hotels, Rosewood Hotel Group, Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts, Swire Group and Wharf Hotels, supported by Cathay Pacific.
It all began when Peter Borer, long-time COO of Hongkong and Shanghai Hotels (The Peninsula Hotels), invited the CEO of Wharf Hotels, Dr Jennifer Cronin, for a cup of tea back in November 2019. ‘We had both been attending tourism forums and we thought there could be a chance to allow the tourism sector to step in. This was an opportunity to show the world that, back in late 2019, despite protests we could say that Hong Kong was the financial and tourism hub of Asia. We saw Barcelona and Paris going through political unrest and they were still thought of as world cities’, she says. ‘We wanted to show the world that we did not want to close Hong Kong completely’.
Peter Borer volunteered Jennifer Cronin as chairman because of her PhD research in crisis management, experience in academia and, of course, her hotel industry power. No hotelier declined the invitation to take part. The group is also working with the Federation of Hong Kong Hotel Owners, the Hong Kong Hotel Association and the Hong Kong Tourism Board HKTB. Jennifer Cronin is regularly sharing with other Hong Kong owners, say Sun Hung Kai Properties SHKP – whose portfolio includes Hong Kong’s Four Seasons, Ritz-Carlton and W hotels – as well as Hyatt’s Asia Pacific leadership. It is essential, however, that Hongkong Heritage Tourism Brands, as such, must stay small and proactive truly to represent those who have traditionally been showcasing Hong Kong around the globe.
The group sees itself as like-minded participants who showcase their passion for Hong Kong and its people. Participating brands are already working together on supporting the homeless, and providing care-packs and meals. They are also putting Hong Kong forward as a destination. They meet intermittently and, separately, a marketing sub-committee is working on digital marketing that will be put out on all members’ networks. This all goes to show, says Cronin, that Hongkong Heritage Tourism Brands is not working as an adversary of HKTB but a supporter of what they are kicking off – she has, herself, now been co-opted as a member of the HKTB Recovery Task Force, as well as a governmental task force, to able to give those officials feedback on business needs.
‘By having a collaborative, we can show the world that the power of one, Hongkong Heritage Tourism Brands has a far more powerful voice than talking singly’, says Dr Jennifer Cronin.