Right across the Han River from famous Gangnam, an upcoming property in Dongdaemun intends to reach out to luxury and high-end MICE groups.

BY KRISTIE THONG

Psy may have called the attention of the world to Seoul’s Gangnam district through his viral music video, but Dongdaemun, a district north of the Han River is just about to gain some much-deserved attention. Already known among locals and some tourists alike as a late-night shopping and dining haven, Dongdaemun or Great East Gate, is about to see its first luxury hotel property this December.
JW Marriott Dongdaemun Square Seoul, currently in the works, will be situated next to the historical eastern gate, which used to be one of the fortresses surrounding Seoul during the Joseon dynasty and now a national symbol of the area.
General manager Nicholas Tse is no stranger to Seoul, having worked as director of marketing for Renaissance Seoul from 2003 to 2005. A British citizen with 20 years of hospitality experience in Marriott properties in Asia, his love for the Korean culture, people, food and efficiency makes him an ideal leader to turn plans for the upcoming property into reality.

Mr Tse says one of the determining factors to launch the property is the economic viability of Dongdaemun as a developing tourist, commerce and culture centre.
“The government, from city plans is aggressively promoting and developing this district. [We are] working together with government agencies and PR agencies to raise the profile of this district, to encourage and support the tourist and MICE markets,” he tells micenet ASIA.
With the JW Marriott brand established in Korea since 2000, standards and brand perception have been set thanks to the JW Marriott Seoul on the south of the Han River. The upcoming property in Dongdaemun will thus be able to leverage on its success, and will also have much to live up to.
The property will comprise only 170 rooms with a staff strength of 300, making it the smallest JW Marriott in the world by room capacity. However, the promise of the JW Marriott brand will thus be further enhanced by the exclusivity.
Among rooms and facilities expected to boost upbeat and lavish architecture, MICE planners can also expect meeting facilities with latest technology and service just as exclusive and luxurious. Facilities include a 754-square metre ballroom and up to eight function rooms of various sizes.

MICE will be a priority for the JW Marriott Dongdaemun Square Seoul, Mr Tse adds, as it sets its sights on CEOS, managing director board meetings and events, as well as embassy and government business.
“We will be targeting the crème de la crème of the MICE business/groups, with 20-30 delegates/rooms each – clients seeking the best in the business.”
One of the key ways the team is planning to draw in the target group is via referrals, selected and direct sales pitches and cross-selling between global and sister properties.

In early July, the property also arranged a local PCO Night event at the JW Marriott Seoul’s Bar Rouge to give guests a sneak preview of what’s to come.
Some focus will also be on public relations, online marketing and social media to promote the property and create some buzz.
“My priority now is to build up my performance team to create this unique product and deliver impeccable service true to the JW Marriott brand,” Mr Tse says.

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