The Hong Kong government said on 14 April that several types of premises will reopen including theme parks. Previously, the Hong Kong Tourism Board predicted that Hong Kong will receive bout 9.6 million inbound travellers to the city during the second half of 2022. After a hiatus of more than three months, attractions in Hong Kong will receive visitors again on 21 April. Prior to the resumption of business,
talked to Ngong Ping 360 about their business plan for the upcoming months, marketing strategies, and their collaborations with other companies to create better synergy.
To go with the government's announcement, Ngong Ping 360 said the cable car service will resume at 10 am on 21 April 2022. The indoor attractions at the Ngong Ping Village, including the Cable Car Discovery Centre and Motion 360, will also reopen. However, as Hong Kong is still implementing stringent border control measures, attractions in the city mainly rely on local customers and Ngong Ping 360 is no exception.
Plans after the fifth wave
The Hong Kong government will relax some pandemic control measures on 21 April, while the Hong Kong Tourism Board even predicted that Hong Kong may reopen its border in H2 2022 with a total of 9.6 million visitors coming to the city. As an important tourist attraction located on Lantau Island, Ngong Ping 360 said it will leverage its position in the city's tourism industry in the upcoming months.
"We want to create a visit-worthy reason for Hong Kong locals. We want to instill a sense of wanderlust, positivity and resilience; and produce interactive online content to meet the needs of our visitors," said Andy Lau (pictured right), managing director of Ngong Ping 360. Lau shared that in the upcoming months, the company will continue to promote diverse tourism offerings and add in more appealing offers, as the team predicts high competition in the tourism industry.
"Moreover, we will strengthen the destination positioning of our outdoor destinations, hoping that guests can enjoy the breathtaking natural scenery," he said.
In H2 2022, Ngong Ping 360 will continue to boost ticket sales and drive visits by launching seasonal events, riding on their popularity to drive initial uptake and tap into the trend of short-term entertainment. Moreover, in Q4 2022, Ngong Ping 360 will launch a new cable car project, hoping to stimulate local patronage by positioning Ngong Ping 360 as an outdoor destination for families and friends.
With Hong Kong possibly reopening the border in H2 2022, the Hong Kong Tourism Board predicted that there will be significant growth in the number of arrivals in H2 2022, reaching 9.6 million inbound travellers from China and the rest of the world.
The city also implemented one of the most stringent measures globally to control the pandemic. This included the tightening of border measures and lengthy quarantine measures. In 2021, there were only 91,398 arrivals, representing a 97.4% drop from the 3.57 million inbound travellers in 2020. The number of arrivals from China also dropped significantly in 2021, decreasing 97.6% from 2.76 million to 65,694.
Lau explained, "In the short term, we are expecting to launch a series of promotions in the Greater Bay Area to attract cross-border travellers. We will also relaunch the Tai O Cultural and Heritage Tour and tailored private group tours, staycation programmes with hotels on Lantau Island soon after the reopening of the borders."
In the long run, Ngong Ping 360 will actively facilitate and participate in programmes initiated by the HKTB to promote the city. The attraction will also work with overseas partners and the HKTB in the wake of the relaxation of travel restrictions.
Trends in Hong Kong's tourism industry
Amid the pandemic, Hongkongers can hardly travel but they flock to country parks to enjoy nature. Lau believed that outdoor activities will continue to be a trend. Visitors also prefer to travel in small groups to ensure safety too.
"Furthermore, they will be more focused on the purpose of the activity and may not be willing to ride the cable car simply for the nice view. Thus, it is crucial that we create more fruitful and unique campaigns that meet the needs of post-pandemic visitors," Lau said.
Although the number of local and international visitors is expected to rebound after the relaxation of pandemic control measures, Lau said the business environment will be even more challenging ahead. To keep abreast of the new trend of green and healthy tourism, 360 Holidays, Ngong Ping 360’s subsidiary travel agency, will relaunch the "360 Private Lantau Tour”.
"Nowadays, local tourists prefer more in-depth cultural travel experiences. Our tour will enable small groups of guests to enjoy a private tour of various Lantau attractions, workshops, and routes of their choice, offering them their preferred itinerary for the best price," Lau said. The evolving role of marketing
As customers' preferences are constantly evolving, Ngong Ping 360 aims to create innovative ideas as part of its branding to keep things fresh. "Customers’ impression of a brand is greatly influenced by their experiences. So it is important for us to give our guests a sense of novelty when they visit us. So we need to generate brand new content and boost social buzz for Ngong Ping 360. These activities will help enhance tourists’ pre-arrival awareness about us and increase the number of our visitors," said Lau.
He added that Ngong Ping 360 also applies an integrated marketing strategies to connect and interact with potential visitors, engaging them via marketing communications channels to assist them along their journey from awareness to loyalty and advocacy.
Since expanding its customer base from family groups to a range of demographic including youngsters, Lau shared that Ngong Ping 360 also transformed how it approached competition and collaboration. Given that collaboration can bring about healthy synergies, he said leveraging partners’ resources can help to achieve a win-win situation in difficult times. Meanwhile, Ngong Ping 360 also acquires insights from various data sources and studies market trends. The data enables the company to come up with directions for subsequent campaigns.
Resonating with the target audience
In total, last year, Ngong Ping 360 had about 460,000 guests visiting the attractions, with the number of local visitors increasing by 132% year on year. "Travel restrictions amid the pandemic have impacted the tourism industry. To attract local tourists, new elements and variety are essential to luring them to visit," said Lau.
We segmented our target customers into two groups: families with kids and youngsters. We designed different elements and collaborated with different partners to create events targeting the needs of these distinct groups.
Ngong Ping 360 launched events based on this segmentation. Lau said the “families with kids” group tended to look for fun-filled and educational activities for kids, so it collaborated with Hang Heung Cake Shop to organise the “Hang Heung 100 Exhibition cum Eggs-plore 360” event. He added that the event included decorations recreating scenes from old Hong Kong and egg-hunting games, both of which targeting parents and kids respectively. The number of local visitors increased by 800% year on year during the Easter Holiday in 2021.
Last summer, Ngong Ping 360 rode on the popularity of the Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympics and co-launched the “360 Sweatival Sports Gala” with Pocari Sweat. By working with influencers and actor Kenny Wong, who starred in
(HK version), the event created engagement and excitement among the youngsters. These successful events have demonstrated how cross-sector partnerships can create synergy and benefit the brands involved.
Apart from offline campaigns, Ngong Ping 360 also leveraged online platforms to generate awareness. For example, the company introduced the “360 Sweat Coins” game on Instagram, allowing users to obtain coins by playing a custom-built Instagram camera filter game. Lau said the number of followers on Instagram grew by 48%, and the game attracted a young demographics as over 65% of the followers were aged from 18 to 34 years old.
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