Gavin Fletcher, the general manager of The Garden Hotel & Residences-St Giles Luxury Hotel in Kuala Lumpur
The Southeast Asian country of Malaysia
has made MICE a prime objective and, on a recent trip to Kuala Lumpur, I got to see that firsthand. With a world-class convention center (Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre), a modern central business district, a growing number of four- and five-star hotel properties, favorable exchange rate, and a unique mix of cultures and experiences, it’s clear why groups should consider meeting in Kuala Lumpur and Malaysia, overall.
IncentiveMag.com recently interviewed the general manager of The Gardens Hotel & Residences-St Giles Luxury Hotel in Kuala Lumpur, Gavin Fletcher, to ask him about the meeting and incentive markets in Malaysia, and some of the unique group activities available there.
INC: What makes Malaysia, and Kuala Lumpur in particular, a great place for meetings and incentives for groups from the U.S.?
Fletcher: Malaysia has a lot to offer and is a potpourri of multi-culture and diversity. Meetings and incentive groups from abroad are able to enjoy a refreshing time after their business dealings by travelling to various tourist attractions that range from “kampong” (village) home-stays to heritage site visits. The more adventurous can dive into the depths of the sea or climb the highest mountain in Malaysia and Borneo-Mt Kinabalu. World-class meeting venues fully equipped with the latest audio-visual equipment, good and friendly support services by meeting planners and the relevant authorities, adequate telecommunications systems and good transport system within the city and country definitely adds up to propel Kuala Lumpur into becoming a preferred venue for MICE. In addition, with 2014 being Visit Malaysia Year 2014, much focus will be on “pampering” visitors to Malaysia and this is being headed by Tourism Malaysia.
INC: What are some trends that you are seeing among incentive and meeting groups headed to Kuala Lumpur?
Fletcher: In 2013, Kuala Lumpur saw a number of international meetings and summits held in the city by governmental agencies, oil and gas key players, property development in the international arena, regional conferences by MNCs, and the list goes on. If anything, the trend is that more meetings, both regional and global, are being planned here in Kuala Lumpur and the international exchange rate to the Malaysian Ringgit is a favorable advantage for most.
INC: What special group activities are offered at your hotel that can be customized for incentive and meeting groups?
Fletcher: Besides the usual meeting and conference facilities of a ballroom and nine other meeting venues, the location of the hotel in Mid Valley City is an advantage for all guests. Not only is the hotel linked to The Gardens Mall but it is also connected to Mid Valley Megamall via a link bridge, which is only a three-minute walk to cross. In both the malls, there are recreational, leisure and entertainment activities designed to meet the needs of everyone, from a two-year old child to a 92-year old couple (hotel’s actual oldest guest from UK). Being in the same vicinity, the hotel and the mall tenants are able to synergise and provide services/facilities as required for the group. Retail therapy is definitely an attraction in Mid Valley City and the hotel’s close rapport with major event management companies provide the convenience of organizing treasure-hunt walks in the mid valley city premises, car treasure hunt in the nearby areas, themed dinners and events, or even a trip to Pangkor Island for teambuilding. The opportunities are many and we have the means of getting you connected to the right people.