Asian incentive groups love Marvel – and the Hong Kong resort is cashing in.
Disneyland is commonly known as the place where childhood dreams come true, but the beloved characters of Disney and Marvel are also big business.
Hong Kong Disneyland Resort (HKDL) MICE and event business director, Karen Kwan, says the resort’s event business continues to rise and, says the studio’s Marvel IP is a major drawcard for corporate groups.
“MICE has become an increasingly important business area for HKDL in recent years,” Kwan says. “In 2018, the resort recorded double-digit growth in MICE business and the results for this year are looking encouraging.”
Insurance company AIA Hong Kong and Macau recently drew upon the brand affinity and, together with HKDL, designed a pre-launch Marvel Party. Some 2,000 stakeholders enjoyed exclusive access to Ant-Man and Iron Man attractions, with photo opportunities with Marvel Super Heroes.
Kwan says Marvel-themed attractions, the latest of which includes ‘Ant-Man and The Wasp: Nano Battle!’ which launched in March (pictured above), can also be coupled with exclusive back-of-house tours to create unique event programmes.
Accomodation options are also generous – especially for Hong Kong, where space is limited.
“We now have 1,750 rooms in one location, which for Hong Kong, is a big deal,” says Edward Goh, VP of commercial sales. “It suddenly offers us a lot of flexibility. Our proximity to the airport is a big plus. And our ability to both do storytelling and leverage the magic of the park, the characters, the IP and the unique experiences make us a very different location from a regular ballroom where you have an event.”
In 2018, HKDL saw more than 5,000 room nights taken for business events groups, and this included a complete hotel buyout of Disney Explorers Lodge by Taiwanese retail giant, PX Mart. The company organised a five-day incentive programme to their 1,500 employees in October, which included a private gala evening at Theater in the Wild, access to the theme park for breakfast and mega group photo, as well as character greetings at Tomorrowland.
“We are not just the hotel room provider or food and beverage provider or meeting venue provider,” Constance Kuk, manager of MICE & catering sales, insists. “We also include production, entertainment performance and support, as well as team-building. We have our own recreation team that can provide exclusive team-building activities, whether it’s physical exercise [marathons can be organised around the park] or fun activities like a dim sum cooking class.”
According to Kuk, most of HKDL’s meetings and events business is driven out of the banking, finance and pharmaceutical industries, with the majority of incentive groups coming from Hong Kong, China and South Korea.
Recognising the emergence of the Greater Bay Area, Polly Kong, director of sales strategy and operations, says: “Key markets we are targeting are Singapore, Guangdong, and Seoul to make sure people are aware that we offer these kind of unique experiences.
“One of the big opportunities for us, is that we managed to work with customers that are here for events at Asia World Expo, so that they can stay and enjoy an incentive trip at Hong Kong Disneyland at the same time.”
With a multi-year plan involving a complete Castle transformation in 2020, and new Frozen and Marvel attractions in the years ahead, the park is priming itself for regular rejuvenation in the hopes of becoming the Asian hub for Marvel-themed rides.
“As they come down and discover Hong Kong and Hong Kong Disneyland as a holiday vacation destination, word of mouth and momentum continues to grow and we want to encourage that, especially now that we have Ant-man,” Goh shares.
“It’s exciting because we have something new to offer. This year it’s Ant-man and The Wasp. Next year it’ll be another big-ticket item. We’re confident we’ve got the momentum behind us and these markets will be motivated to keep coming back.”