Chapter 10 – Booking a Hotel

You know that the hotels will be quite busy during the major Trade Fair seasons of April and October. Before you plan anything else, select and book your hotel first.

Hotel Location and Rate Hikes

There are two rules to be observed:

  1. The closer your hotel is located to the exhibition centre the more expensive your accommodation will be.
  2. During the peak season, (Major Trade Fair season) hotels substantially raise room rates. Especially, if you are not a frequent guest. In China, some hotel room rates may increase as much as 100% but in Hong Kong it is usually about 20-30%.

Be advised to book your hotel as early as possible because without a confirmed hotel booking it would not make any sense to book your flight or make appointments with your suppliers.

Getting Around Hong Kong

You also should consider what is more important to you, staying in a first class hotel or being very near the exhibition center to avoid public transportation. You can save substantial money by staying further away in a comfortable hotel and at a much lower room rate.

The public transportation system in Hong Kong is excellent and inexpensive. You can save quite a lot of money but have the inconvenience of spending some extra time traveling.

For instance, the Airport Express Train shuttles you to the main hotel districts in only about 20-30 minutes. It is much cheaper than taking a taxi if you are traveling alone. They have airline check-in counters at the Hong Kong and Kowloon Stations where you can drop off your luggage and pickup your boarding pass for the trip back home.

If you are with a group of people, it may be cheaper to use a taxi that costs approximately HK$ 400 into downtown. However, the group may have too much luggage and may need two taxis for the transfer.

You still need a taxi getting from the Airport Express at the Kowloon and Hong Kong stations to your hotel. It is only a short distance and will not cost much.

Hong Kong Hotel Considerations

The hotels closest or directly next to the Exhibition Centre are located in Wan Chai. This is a well-known entertainment nightspot if you want to explore Hong Kong’s nightlife on foot.

The other major business hotel area is located in Tsim Sha Tsui in Kowloon. The hotels there are all very expensive but you will be near the main tourist shopping centers and it is a convenient place to stay.

If you want to save on costs and (the subject of another of my eBooks), you could choose a hotel further away from the exhibition centre in Wan Chai. The following link helps you find area street maps with hotel locations. You should easily find one that best suits your financial situation.

The Executive Floor

If you want to splurge, consider the relatively expensive executive floor of your hotel. It offers many conveniences such as:

  • Welcome fruit basket
  • Daily newspaper
  • Free 24/7 internet connection
  • Free local calls and fax
  • Discounts on international calls
  • Free use of their business lounge with free snacks and drinks
  • Free use of a conference room up to a total of 2 hours per booked hotel room
  • Discount on room service and food in their restaurants (10% on average)
  • Separate check-in counter
  • Free breakfast buffet
  • Discount for laundry and dry cleaning services (10-20% on average)
  • Later than usual check-out (depending on the season, as late as 6:00PM)
  • Larger room size

Take it all into consideration when comparing how much you have to pay for a standard room versus a room on the executive floor. Even considering all of the conveniences and discounts, the room rates of executive floor rooms are much higher.

Hong Kong is a major business city. There are a limited number of executive floor rooms and they fill up very quickly. With a high occupancy rate, the rooms are seldom discounted. Why would the hotel be tempted to reduce their room rate if they are confident of renting them at a higher rate?

Lowering Hotel Costs

Also, keep in mind that there is always a coffee shop outside the hotel that offers a complete breakfast at a fraction of the cost that hotel would charge you.

When I stayed in Las Vegas, I also used a diner across from my hotel for breakfast and got a free coffee refill and plenty of food at bargain prices. The same applies to Hong Kong and Guangzhou, although Guangzhou might be a little bit more difficult because not everybody understands English as is the case in Hong Kong.

Make a few cost calculations and then use the provided links to book a hotel room.

I suggest that you do a little bargaining with the hotel for a better room rate. Of course, that is only possible if you book your room directly and not through an agent.

You have to convince the hotel that you intend to become a long-term customer. Give them a forecast of how many room nights you will book with them each year. That and the long-term prospect is the only thing that counts with them.

The negotiations may not be easy but it is an opportunity to sharpen your negotiation skills before negotiating prices with your suppliers.

Getting Around Guangzhou

In Guangzhou, the situation is a little bit different from Hong Kong. The traffic during the morning and evening rush hours is extremely heavy. It can take you an hour or so to reach the new exhibition centre. However, there is the new Shangri-La Hotel that is right next to the exhibition centre. It is a five-star hotel and therefore more expensive.

The White Swan Hotel, another five star hotel, is also an excellent choice because it is located on the historic Shamian Island in the Pearl River. It has an outside grill restaurant where you can wine and dine in the evening. They, like most of the other large hotels, provide a free shuttle bus service to the exhibition centre. Be sure to book it if you want to save the cost of taxies.

If you visit the older exhibition centre, which is right in the city centre, you can try the China Hotel or the Dong Fang Hotel that are right across from it. They are older hotels but provide good service.

For other hotels, use the following link and check their locations, services, and room rates. As mentioned before, the rates will increase considerably during the Trade Fairs but unfortunately, there is not much that you can do about it except choose a hotel with a less convenient location and a lower quality of service.

From Hong Kong to Guangzhou

Since many Trade Fair visitors arrive by train from Hong Kong, it is important that you know that most of the larger hotels provide a shuttle bus service to and from the main railway station for the convenience of guests. I strongly suggest using their service because they help you with your luggage and you can relax during the travel time.

Here is the link with all necessary information about the different Guangzhou hotel areas, the hotels themselves, and their services.

You will also want to consider how far your hotel is located from the railway station and how far it is from the exhibition centre. Guangzhou has an excellent subway system with a station in front of the exhibition centres.

If you need to stay overnight during your factory visits in China, book a hotel that is near the major factory area so that you do not spend most of the time riding around in a car.

If you choose to stay at one of the city center hotels, you will pay more and have to make the commute from the city to the factory and back. It may cost you an opportunity to have dinner with your hosts.

It is wise to ask the factories that are familiar with the local situation to give you a hand with your hotel selection and booking. If you try to arrange this through your travel agent at home, you will end up in a hotel that is far from where you want to be. Only the most specialized western travel agents can properly book hotels near the factories.

You do not need to be concerned if the local factory staff knows which hotels are suitable for Westerners. It is a service they have become accustomed to providing.

In all my years, I have never had a bad experience being booked into a substandard hotel. The factory staff does not want to lose face by placing you into one of the hotels catering to local travelers. You may come upon an exception if you are visiting rural areas with no city nearby. Even in this case you can depend on the help of the factories to make the best choice for you.

Table of Contents