Amid the competitive environment of surging hotel room supply and continuous declining average room rate, what do some of the properties in Singapore do in terms of hotel marketing and public relations to stand tall and alluring to win the hearts and wallets of tourists?
There are 413 licensed properties in Singapore offering more than 63,000 rooms to tourists as of 2016. One of the smallest countries in the world, Singapore has a land area almost half the size of London city. Yet again, the tiny city-state has topped another list, claiming the number one spot as the destination with the highest tourism spending in Asia Pacific.
Total expenditure by international tourists stands at US$15.4 billion in 2016, according to the 2017 Mastercard Asia Pacific Destinations Index. An international tourist spends an average of US$254 in the tiny cosmopolitan state, surpassing all other 170 destinations in the index.
The Index takes an in-depth, focused look at tourism trends, ranking 171 destinations, including island resorts as well as towns and cities across the region, in terms of the total number of international overnight arrivals; cross-border spending; and the total number of nights spent at each destination. These 171 destinations are drawn from 22 countries across Asia Pacific and represent 90 percent of all international overnight arrivals within the region. Public data is used in deriving the international overnight visitor arrivals and their cross-border spending in each of the destinations, using custom-made algorithms.
Further data from Singapore Tourism Board (STB) breaks down the US$254 into the following:
Accommodation constitutes 24% of Singapore’s tourism receipts, taking up the biggest portion of international tourist expenses. Against the competitive hospitality and tourism landscape, we look at how three distinct hotel brands under the same management company embark on hospitality marketing and travel PR to attract and retain these tourists.
Oasia Hotels and Residences
Yes, wellness tourists spend more. In general, they spend around 60 percent more than the average international tourists.
Wellness tourists can be categorised into primary wellness tourists, where wellness activities are the primary motivation for the trip/destination, and the secondary subset that defines those who seek wellness experiences as part of a trip.
From 2013-2015, wellness tourism revenue grew 14%. The rate of growth is more than twice that of overall tourism expenditures (6.9%). The category accounts for 15.6% of total tourism revenues – nearing 1 in 6 of total “tourist dollars” spent.
The Oasia brand understands the importance of well-being and targets the wellness-conscious. Its overarching brand positioning of a restorative respite in the city that inspires and empowers its guests to Journey Well through three wellness pillars – Refresh, Refuel, and Recharge.
Among the four properties, Oasia Hotel Downtown in Singapore, in particular, catches the eye as the verdant tower. Bursting with greenery, the facade detracts from the typical sleek and sealed skyscraper to offer the imagery of ‘living tower’. Other properties like Oasia Suites Kuala Lumpur that is set against the city’s largest virgin forest, Bukit Nanas, also reinforces the hotel’s positioning.
Elements of nature and wellness transfuse within these properties. To create a truly conducive environment for its guests to unwind, 24-hour gym, well-designed open spaces and pools, relaxing lavender pillow mist, and round-the-clock quality nourishment are available across the properties with some variations.
The Quincy Hotel
This luxury boutique hotel in Orchard is worth the mention as it has been recently crowned for providing the best hotel experience during the 2017 Singapore Tourism Awards.
Located along Singapore’s prime shopping district, the vivacity of Quincy calls out to the quirky, stylish and upbeat side of travellers, positioning itself as the stylish place to just be.
Defying the norm by offering every guest with the All-Club Benefits at no extra charge, guests at Quincy can indulge to their hearts’ content. Movie nights by the pool, cookie making classes, complimentary Wi-fi and mini bar, all-day refreshments and evening cocktails are among the many perks of being a guest at the hotel.
More importantly, on top of the perks, the hotel prides itself on the level of attention and care dedicated to co-creating unique, memorable experiences for its guests, customising every single touch-point. Tailored guest experience is a crucial aspect in influencing customer loyalty, especially among the spenders Quincy targets.
Amadeus projected a continuous and apparent increase in spending on experiential goods over material goods through to 2025.
On the same note, Euromonitor International also made a forecast on the rising trend of personalising journeys.
Instead of following the directions of the tour guide’s flag to the mainstream sights, travelling has become a journey to self-actualisation.
With the vision to be the destination of choice for urban explorers, the Village Hotel brand is worth mentioning for its hospitality PR and marketing efforts in creating an immersive and personalised travelling experience for tourists who wish to Eat Like a Local, Play Like a Local, Explore Like a Local or in essence, Live Like a Local.
Village Hotel Katong, for instance, created an image and atmosphere congruent to the area’s Peranakan culture by infusing Peranakan elements into different aspects of the hotel. Across the different Village Hotels are different passports to allow guests to explore different food, culture and heritage aspects in the precincts where the properties reside.
The handy smartphone with unlimited local and international calls and unlimited mobile data is also a feature common to all Village Hotels, provided to guests free-of-charge. With the handy smartphone and a customised guide at each of the hotels at the guests’ disposal, guests are empowered to chart their own adventure, a bold move from the conventional mass tourism format to appeal to the Millennials, who collectively, are expected to spend $1.4 trillion on travelling by 2020.
While the three hotel brands have different focuses and offerings, they share a common quality – the ability to define value from the guests’ perspectives. Competitive prices, state-of-the-art amenities or bundles of perks do not appeal to all segments of tourists. Psychographic marketing becomes pertinent to the survival of hotels in the increasingly fragmented market. Understanding the explicit needs and unspoken travel aspirations of the target market and being able to position the hotel as the answer to those needs and desires set the hotel apart from the masses.
 Global Wellness Institute, 2016, “Wellness Now A $3.72 Trillion Global Industry – With 10.6% Growth From 2013-2015”, 17 Oct. https://www.globalwellnessinstitute.org/wellness-now-a-372-trillion-global-industry/
 Gallup, 2014, From Economy to Luxury, What Matters Most to Hotel Guests, http://www.gallup.com/businessjournal/175568/economy-luxury-matters-hotel-guests.aspx
 Amadeus, 2015, “Shaping the Future of Luxury Travel: Future Traveller Tribes 2030.”
 ILTM, 2015, “Global Luxury Travel Trends Report”.
Forbes, 2017, “Does Social Media Make Millennials Want To Travel More”, 26 Mar. https://www.forbes.com/sites/jimmyrohampton/2017/03/26/does-social-media-make-millennials-want-to-travel-more/#2312b1e75c17
 Huffington Post, 2016, “4 Ways Millennials Are Changing The Face Of Travel”,17 Jun http://www.huffingtonpost.com/sarah-clark/4-ways-millennials-are-ch_b_10503146.html