Opening a hotel these days - you got to do it differently.
By Yeoh Siew Hoon
Tuesday, 5th October 2010
In opening a hotel these days, it is important to get the timing of the pre-publicity right and in today's last-minute world, Matthias Roeke believes you've got to strike it just right too early and you lose interest; too late and well, it's too late.

The trick is to talk about it and have something to show for it almost immediately. Take Apple, says the general manager of the newly-opened China World Summit Wing in Beijing. They don't talk about any product until it's in the stores.

"Today's customers have short attention spans and if you start talking about something six months before it is available, people lose interest," said Roeke. "The way people book these days is so last minute."

The challenge with his hotel opening was that it had nine opening dates and so timing the pre-publicity was even more difficult. But once he knew it was going to be sometime in August the hotel opened on August 16 and received its operating licence on August 9 it started inviting top Chinese bloggers to the hotel and engaged on social networks such as RenRen. Its corporate headquarters in Hong Kong took care of Facebook engagement given that Facebook is not available in China.

The day before it opened, on a Sunday, Roeke sent 2,000 emails to local Beijingers to inform them of the hotel opening and to take advantage of the promotional offer of RMB 1988. "The response was instant."

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