Sands Macao bullish on MICE & leisure

As part of Sands Resorts Cotai Strip Macao, seven hotels including The Venetian Macao and the recently-opened The Parisian offer a total of 13,000 rooms and suites, 150,000 sqm of meeting and exhibition space. Ruth Boston, Senior VP, Marketing and Brand Management, Sands China, speaks to TRAVTALK about the group’s plans for India.


Q Kindly brief us about your brand and properties in Macao. The Venetian Macao, the largest integrated resort of its kind in Asia, has become synonymous with innovative thinking, exceptional service and unparalleled amenities. The 3,000-suite integrated resort is a re-creation of the famous Venetian Resort-HotelCasino in Las Vegas. Twice the size of its sister property, The Venetian Macao features Shoppes at Venetian, international restaurants, the 15,000- seat Cotai Arena, the luxury Venetian Theatre, gaming facilities that offer a unique Asian gaming experience, and one of the largest convention, meeting and exhibition centres in Asia. As part of Sands Resorts Macao, the addition of The Parisian Macao offers leisure and business travellers and MICE delegates an extraordinary retail experience of more than 850 duty free stores, from luxury to high street brands, as well as over 150 dining options. World-class entertainment includes live shows in The Parisian Theatre and The Venetian Theatre, colourful Parisian and Venetian Streetmosphere performances, and live shows in the Cotai Arena, all under one roof. Sands Resorts Macao has a clear vision to establish Macao as Asia’s top entertainment destination, and with the introduction of the 1,200-seat, purpose-built The Parisian Theatre, is another step closer to realising this ambition. The state-ofthe-art venue, which officially opened September 13, 2016, brings the very best in international entertainment from around the world to Macao. From live music concerts to Broadway and West End theatre and Vegas-style shows, there are entertainment events for the whole family to enjoy. The Cotai Expo at The Venetian Macao offers more than 75,000 square metres of exhibition space, and is one of the largest exhibition centres in Asia. It is complemented by 6,500 square metres of pillar-free ballroom space and 108 meeting rooms with more than 18,600 square metres of flexible meeting space.

Q What kind of occupancy do you see from around the world? During the peak season and weekends, we see very high occupancies. Over weekdays we tend to focus on MICE and leisure groups. India is an important market for us in terms of MICE groups. Big holidays and festive seasons are becoming more and more popular for visits, with tourists coming in from China, Hong Kong and Taiwan, while Korea, Japan and India are our three strongest markets outside the Greater China area. The US is becoming a very important market for us as is Australia, Singapore, and the rest of South East Asia. Even though UAE is not a huge market for us at the moment, we do get travellers from the region. We recently hosted a large Israeli group for a MICE event, which was very successful.

Q Do you offer any special incentives to the Indian travel trade? We do offer regular hotel packages to the Indian market. Currently we have spring packages in the market which are selling very well. The Venetian Macao is still our strongest selling hotel for the Indian market but we do see a change in trends as more Indians guests are visiting The Parisian Macao. MICE visitors to The Parisian Macao can enjoy all the facilities available at The Venetian Macao; Four Seasons Hotel Macao, Cotai Strip; and Sands Cotai Central, which is comprised of hotel brands including St. Regis Macao, Cotai Central, Sheraton Grand Macao Hotel, Cotai Central; Conrad Macao, Cotai Central and Holiday Inn Macao, Cotai Central. We’ll have an exciting package coming up this Diwali and we also have ‘Smart Meeting’ package which offers a range of benefits depending on the size of the group. QIs Sands China planning to promote its properties for destination weddings from India, as it’s a $14 billion industry? We do Indian weddings, but don’t actively promote destination weddings. Our focus is on MICE because we obviously have seven hotels as part of Sands Resorts Macao, offering a total of 13,000 rooms and suites, 150,000 square metres of meeting and exhibition space and 334 breakout rooms. For us the meeting space is very important as it drives room nights, food and beverage revenue and retail within our 850 duty-free international brand shops as well. In addition we have 150 restaurants, ranging from food courts to Michelinstarred restaurants.

Q Tell us more about the entertainment activities planned at your properties. The Parisian Theatre has a full calendar till the end of the year. We try to do different activities at this venue and a lot of performances are aimed at the family market. Thriller Live is a stunning theatrical concert created to commemorate the world’s greatest ever entertainer, Michael Jackson. The 90-minute show takes the audience on a magical audio-visual journey through Michael Jackson’s 45-year musical legacy. The show will be held till this September. Guests and visitors alike can enjoy daily entertainment from French themed Streetmosphere characters including an eclectic mix of mimes, Parisian-themed ‘living statues’, ballroom and can-can dancers, ‘Belle Époque’ costumed performers, barrel organ players, accordionists, French song singers, opera singers and caricaturists. There is a new touring Bollywood style show coming up. We also have hosted different concerts at the Cotai Arena of The Venetian Macao every weekend.

Q Which are the new markets you are exploring for business now? We are planning to explore new markets, particularly for leisure; we have China, Korea, India and South East Asia as our major markets in leisure business. We are going to the US for a three-week trade mission because we believe we can get very good business from that country. Many companies are going global now and Asia Pacific is one of biggest growth areas, so we need to be in that market. India forms a very large part of our business plan moving forwards.

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