With the opening of Western Australia’s borders to the east coast, CIM caught up with The Ritz-Carlton Perth’s Director of Sales and Marketing Li Ann Loo about how the luxury hotel adapted to the ‘new normal’.
WA remained relatively untouched by the pandemic – how much local activity did you see? We are grateful that WA remained relatively untouched and for the most part of 2020 could operate in a ‘new’ normal. We saw our meetings and events business shift to local and smaller events from WA based corporations, social events and intimate weddings.
How important is the opening of NSW and VIC borders for the WA market? The announcement around interstate borders with NSW and Victoria is welcomed and crucial for the recovery of the meetings and events business.
We look forward to welcoming interstate visitors who have not been able to make their way to WA for a number of months and we expect that this influx of visitors will reflect in our bookings over the coming months.
The opening of the Elizabeth Quay precinct and The Ritz-Carlton were major milestones for the Perth market – but sadly interrupted – how are you restarting that momentum? We are seeing a huge demand for interstate and regional travel particularly now that borders are starting to open within Australia and we will certainly look to use this momentum to drive visitation at The Ritz-Carlton, Perth. Perth locals have been visiting and supporting the Elizabeth Quay precinct, we look forward to attracting interstate and eventually international travellers.
Domestic travel/meetings are the main push for 2021 – how are you positioning the hotel for organisers (both meetings and incentive)? We have unique meeting and event spaces and a talented team of Ladies and Gentlemen that create extraordinary events at the hotel.
We have noticed in our recent bookings and enquiries that there has been a rise in demand for certain elements of meetings and events as a result of the pandemic, and we have adapted our offering accordingly. We have seen a rise in requests for more intimate conferences and functions, valuing flexibility when planning events and shorter lead times. We have hosted some virtual meetings and have state-of-the-art AV capabilities to offer this as an option to our clients.
With the international borders closed for 2021, how are you repositioning for a broader domestic market? We offer a range of luxury experiences that are uniquely Western Australian to appeal to an interstate market. We are the only Ritz-Carlton in Australia and those looking to indulge or celebrate in the coming year will find we are a perfect destination.
Are you seeing more satellite meetings with groups across different states holding concurrent events? We have hosted a number of virtual events at the hotel already and are seeing enquiries come through around satellite events. The landscape of meetings and events has shifted as a result of the year we have had.
What’s your message for organisers in 2021? It has certainly been a tough year and many industries have been affected especially meetings and events, we hope 2021 is a year of recovery for all. At the hotel we will continue to support the industry in all of our efforts and look forward to connecting with our clients and customers in person.