Singapore pips Hong Kong as the most popular business hub

9 Aug 2012

Singapore has overtaken Hong Kong as the top business destination in Asia-Pacific.

The results of Accor’s third annual Business Traveller Research released yesterday indicated that the Lion City’s proximity to the booming economies of Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand, gave it an edge over its perennial rival.

The online survey, conducted by ORC International on behalf of Accor, culled responses from 2,586 participants in nine countries across the region, who made business trips in the first half of 2012.

This was a different picture from last year when Hong Kong and Singapore tied for first place as the most popular business destination.

Hong Kong, however, proved still more appealing than Singapore to travellers from Mainland China (44 per cent), Thailand (26 per cent) and Australia (16 per cent). The same customers were planning a trip to Hong Kong in the second half of the year.

Hong Kong remains an important gateway for both international and Mainland Chinese business travellers, said Evan Lewis, vice president, communications Accor Asia-Pacific, which signals the continued importance of cross-boundary trade.

As for outbound business travel from Hong Kong, Mainland China (72 per cent), Singapore (39 per cent) and Thailand (32 per cent) are the top destinations. The trend is expected to hold during the second half of the year, with 63 per cent planning to trips to Mainland China, 34 per cent to Singapore and 32 per cent to Thailand.

The research showed the growing trend of higher booking autonomy among business travellers, as a 25 per cent year-on-year increase of online direct booking with the hotel has been recorded, for reasons of convenience, access to special offers and easier management, Lewis reported.

Concerning average spend on accommodation, Singapore travellers are willing to pay the most among the Asia-Pacific, with an average of US$468 to spend per trip. This followed by India (US$399) and Hong Kong (US$387).

Regarding amenities, a comfortable bed proved to be of utmost importance for Hong Kong business travellers, with 66 per cent voting it as the highest priority, followed by free internet (57 per cent) and a good quality bathroom or shower (50 per cent).

In the past, location was the most important factor influencing business travellers’ hotel choice, Lewis commented. But this is changing, free internet access fast catching up, given the importance of connectivity.

The survey also showed that Hong Kong executives were most likely to work after midnight during business trips, with two-thirds working between 2100 and midnight and a further 14 per cent who worked between midnight and 0600. These figures were substantially higher than that of all travellers surveyed across the region.

Though Hong Kong executives are known to be hardworking, they manage to maintain physical well-being while travelling, with 13 per cent of the respondents from Hong Kong, saying they always used the hotel fitness centre, which is the highest percentage in the region. Meanwhile, 31 per cent said they usually or always used the hotel pool, a figure well above the Asia-Pacific average.

Hong Kong business travellers are generally unlikely to share their experiences via social media channel, with 49 per cent of respondents, saying they had never done this, preferring other means such as comment cards or emails to express their feedback.

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Michelle Fong

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