By El Kwang & Kristie Thong
Integrated resorts open up a world of convenience, with business and leisure along with endless resources to make any event a success. With all the hype around the newer and up-and-coming, how do integrated resorts remain relevant?
The term “integrated resort” has been used rather loosely to describe a variety of leisure and business offerings under one roof. From the older Resorts World Genting and majestic Cotai Strip properties in Macau to the prominent icons Marina Bay Sands and Resorts World Sentosa in Singapore, these properties offer the convenience of housing amenities such as hotels, convention and meeting spaces, theatres, shopping, F&B, and entertainment. For MICE bookers, the appeal of integrated resorts lies in the turn-key-fits-all solution with in-house event management resources, making holding an event in one seems more effective.
“Integrated resorts are blessed with immense infrastructure and resources on hand to deliver a great depth of support,” said Darren Kerr, founder and creative director of FACTOR168 Creative Event Company.
This can be appealing as it promises to reduce the event burden, he said.
Build and refresh
Destinations such as Las Vegas, Macau, Singapore and Thailand have long established a reputation for integrated resort offerings, but new developments are on the way. Vietnam saw its first and biggest-ever integrated resort launch last July on a site located approximately two and a half hours from Ho Chi Minh City.
Developed by Asia Coast Development (Canada) Ltd, The Grand – Ho Tram Strip is an oceanfront resort destination located in Ba Ria-Vung Tau Province. It shares similar features of integrated resorts around the world, with 541 rooms, state-of-the-art meeting spaces, 13 bars and restaurants, three swimming pools, luxury retail shops, and gaming facilities. It boasts a 1250-sqm pillar-less grand ballroom, five meeting rooms, and convenient freight access for large product displays.
Work has started on a second tower, which will add another 559 rooms and new entertainment amenities. The Ho Tram Strip is also expected to be developed further, with plans to build a second integrated resort operated by Pinnacle Entertainment Group, and three other five-star resorts – all set along the same 2.2 km beachfront.
Meanwhile, the South Korean Ministry of Culture, Sport and Tourism has given preliminary approval for the first internationally branded integrated resort with foreigner-only gaming in Incheon. A Caesars consortium comprising Caesars Entertainment Corporation, Lippo Group and OUE Limited has plans for a property with hotel and resort amenities, live entertainment venues, a stand-alone convention centre and more, and intending for it to open in time for the 2018 Olympics in Pyeongchang.
Over in Australia, Crown Limited will be starting construction on a Crown Towers property, which upon completion in 2017, will make Crown Perth the largest hotel complex with a total capacity of 1200 rooms. The new Crown Towers in Perth will boast 500 luxury rooms, a selection of world-class restaurants, event facilities and access to Crown Perth’s 4800-sqm convention centre.
Apart from a 33.6-percent equity interest in Melco Crown Entertainment, Crown Resorts owns and operates Crown Resorts Melbourne comprising luxury hotels, entertainment, F&B, meeting spaces, and retail. The three hotels of more than 1500 rooms – Crown Towers, Crown Promenade, and Crown Metropol – each offers a distinct interior influence and décor, while situated conveniently around the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre and a stone’s throw from Flinders Station.
Several new initiatives were implemented last year to offer the integrated resorts a new edge, among which was the appointment of Neil Perry and Guillaume Brahimi as culinary directors for the next three years to create a new premium banqueting menu, re-develop in-room dining, and provide culinary guidance and training. Meanwhile, a Crown Resort in Sydney is also in the planning stages.
The IR checklist
Darren Kerr of FACTOR168 Creative Event Company recommends some ways you can make the most out of integrated resorts:
• Make sure that an integrated resort is the best fit for what you want to achieve in terms of your budget, your audience, and the business communication objective you hope to realise.
• Develop and cultivate personal relationships of care and commitment with counterparts from within the resort eco-system.
• Tailor programmes to best embrace the pre-existing positive elements that come with specific integrated resorts and attempt to eliminate or diminish those elements that will not fit well within this environment.
• Be obsessive in avoiding a “beige” experience with strong partners, including the venue with better creative programme development, strong compelling event identity, and engaging experiential execution.