MGM Grand Sanya – We’re not selling rooms, we’re selling an experience
Diaoyutai MGM Hospitality is carving a bigger niche in the hotel market. Yang Cheng reports.
Diaoyutai MGM Hospitality, a joint venture of the US-based MGM Hospitality and China’s Diaoyutai State Guesthouse, is expected to boost the presence of both companies in China, a senior executive of MGM Hospitality said.
The joint venture already has the luxury MGM Grand Sanya, which opened on Jan 5 at the Yalong Bay National Resort district, in South China’s Hainan province as the company’s first non-gaming resort and the first on the mainland.
"Our goal is to add a new twist to the China lodging market with the energy- and entertainment-focused MGM Grand brand and follow that up with the introduction of MGM’s ultra-luxury brands, Bellagio and Skylofts.
"The Bellagio On the Bund, Shanghai was just announced recently, and the two story penthouse Skylofts will debut in Tianjin atop the MGM Grand," explained David van Kalsbeek, executive vice president of sales and marketing at MGM Hospitality.
He believes the combination of Diaoyutai and MGM is set to carve out a bigger niche in China amidst the cutthroat competition in the hotel sector.
The JV’s aggressive approach can already be seen in key parts of the country. Many fast-developing cosmopolitan areas such as Beijing, Shanghai, Chongqing, Xiamen, Hangzhou and Chengdu will all witness new hotel openings in the upcoming years.
The MGM Grand Chengdu, and the Skylofts at MGM Grand, are scheduled to break ground later this year which have been described as the company’s largest world-class, mixed-use development project.
Another Chengdu Diaoyutai Hotel will be located in the city’s popular tourist destination Broad and Narrow Alley, which has a classy array of Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) residences.
Adding to the already impressive line-up is a urban resort bearing the Diaoyutai brand, opening next year, near the Lama Temple in Beijing.
In commenting on these bold moves, the senior executive said that he is keenly aware of the challenges they face and added that, to cope with them, the company has a "creativity and innovation" strategy – which could be interpreted as "We’re not selling rooms, we’re selling an experience".
MGM Grand Sanya hotel’s unique features help to show how MGM’s strategy of bringing a "unique" experience to tourists lets everybody feel its pulse of "energy, excitement, and entertainment".
The MGM Grand Sanya will be a pioneering example of this approach. On Oct 27, it will join the Asia Academy of Musical Arts and Sciences to stage an "Asian Grammy" event, which many of Asia’s renowned singers are expected to attend.
To make it even more exciting, the renowned musician Quincy Jones will be the executive producer for the said event.
Naturally, MGM Grand Sanya hotel’s three "Es" and Sanya’s resort environment may leave questions as to how it can effectively combine the Chinese traditions of its partner, the 300-year-old Diaoyutai, which is renowned for providing an exclusively private and serenely harmonious atmosphere for the world’s political leaders in their various functions.
He explained that each hotel will have a unique concept and its own specifications based on the local culture and surrounding topography.
"In contrast with the MGM Grand Sanya, the new Diaoyutai, Lama Temple, will be full of authentic Chinese cultural traditions and art inside."