Taking sky-high attraction to the world
Updated: 2018-05-10 07:15
By Lin Wenjie(HK Edition)
Turning the ICC's iconic sky100 observation deck into a globally renowned attraction requires vision and broad, integrated marketing approach, firm's vice-chairman Josephine Lam Po-tung tells Lin Wenjie.
Brand-builder Josephine Lam Po-tung, vice-chairman of sky100 Hong Kong Observation Deck, is striving to digitize the attraction and make it a place Hong Kong people take pride in.
Developed by Sun Hung Kai Properties, sky100 is on the 100th floor of International Commerce Centre in West Kowloon, the tallest building in Hong Kong. At 393 meters above sea level, it is the only indoor observation deck with 360-degree views of the city and Victoria Harbour.
Lam has worked in Hong Kong for almost 20 years in promoting brands, business development and marketing and communications. She has leadership experience at the Hong Kong Disneyland Resort and Hong Kong Jockey Club.
When Sun Hung Kai Properties Group tasked Lam to manage sky100 seven years ago, she said the first thing she did was to create a brand vision.
"Building a brand vision is the first step to inspire and deliver business success. I remember that day when I took over this project. I came here and looked out of the panoptic windows, wondering what my vision is for the observation deck. The next day, I came to my boss's office and presented him the vision: With the ultimate goal of becoming a world-renowned observation deck, sky100 aims to become one of the must-visit attractions for local and overseas visitors by offering a panoramic view of Hong Kong," she tells China Daily.
All major cities around the world have their own iconic observation decks, she continues, such as the Empire State Building in New York, the CN Tower in Toronto and Skytree in Tokyo. These buildings have the same characteristics - the tallest architecture in the city center with convenient transport.
"Sky100 has all these features, so it is undoubtedly the one for Hong Kong," she says.
The ICC tower already has an MTR station and Airport Express terminus right at its feet and is expected to receive a major accessibility boost when the West Kowloon terminus of the Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong Express Rail Link opens later this year. By then, visitors from the airport and mainland cities could reach sky100 much more easily. The observation deck also boasts Hong Kong's fastest double-deck high-speed elevators, which reach the 100th floor in just 60 seconds.
Story to tell
However, it takes much more than hospitality and stunning views to impress visitors. Therefore, Lam always seeks new perspectives and ideas to break the ground and enhance sky100's current standing in a bid to attract repeat customers.
"Through our survey, we found that visitors are looking for something deeper. For example, they are interested in knowing the cultures and stories of the city, as well as the past and present of Hong Kong, and they are happy to get involved in activities with innovative ideas," she added.
To meet this demand, sky100 holds different festival-related activities and events every month and introduces the features of Hong Kong's culture and its unique story through fascinating multimedia exhibitions and regular festive campaigns.
"For example, we launched an Easter promotion in April, serving afternoon tea sets at this cafe operated by Ritz-Carlton. We are also kicking off celebrations to mark the seventh anniversary of sky100, offering an array of discounts and offers from April to June, including the 7th Anniversary Double Delights Package and Sky-high Birthday Ice-Cream Giveaway," she said.
Recognizing the increasing importance of technology, sky100 integrates virtual reality equipment to immerse tourists in spectacular day-to-night city views. Visitors can see fireworks and light shows through the VR headsets. Augmented-reality technology on the mobile-phone application lets visitors explore the past of Hong Kong.
"We will introduce a multi-language robotic tour guide later to interact with visitors," Lam adds.
Lam is also trying to improve sky100's reputation and brand-awareness in other markets. She flew to several centers to meet travel agencies and tourism organizations to advertise the brand.
"From the Chinese mainland to Taiwan, from Southeast Asian countries to European countries, me and my team are doing all we can to convince local travel agencies to add our site into their travel packages. Sometimes the managements of big travel agencies only have a few minutes to listen to my presentation, so I have summarized five features of sky100 - the newest, the tallest (building), the most scenic 360-degree views, the fastest (elevator) and the very center of the city."
Her efforts seem to have been rewarded. Both revenue and visitor numbers at sky100 achieved double-digit growth last year, with overseas tourists accounting for about 50 percent of traffic, and mainland visitors making up 30 percent. Tourist arrivals in Hong Kong increased just 3.2 percent last year, the Hong Kong Tourism Board said.
"Every stage in business has its own challenges. After we established the name on the market, we are now trying to improve the reputation. In the near term, we will continue to promote our brand both domestically and abroad; in the long term, leveraging on the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area, and seizing the opportunities brought by the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge and Express Rail Link, we hope sky100 could be one of the tourist sites for multi-destination travelers. We serve as a platform to introduce Hong Kong to the world, and we hope that the Hong Kong citizens will be proud of sky100," she said.
Sky100 has received the Certificate of Excellence for four consecutive years since 2014 from travel website Trip-Advisor. The attraction is also named by CNN as one of the 17 beautiful places to see in Hong Kong, and it's the only Hong Kong member of the World Federation of Great Towers.
(HK Edition 05/10/2018 page15)