The ribbon-cutting’s over, the teething troubles have been ironed out and visitors are pouring in. More and more incentive organisers are now considering the City of Dreams hotel and casino complex in Manila as a venue with a difference.
So says Jenny Gabon-Santillan (below right), the vivacious Sales and Marketing Director for the sprawling, 6.2-hectare entertainment complex which opened a year ago. Many pundits are expecting the Asian gaming market to rebound in 2016, says Jenny. That’s why operator Melco Crown Resorts believes the property, set close to the city’s international airport and the blue waters of Manila Bay, is well-positioned to play a role in boosting the Philippines as a leisure and tourism destination in the western Pacific.
With the City of Dreams resort now being visited by thousands of local and international visitors each week, its reputation as a glitzy, out-of-the-ordinary urban incentive destination is growing, says Charisse Chuidian (left), Vice President Public Relations for the complex and doyenne of the hospitality industry in the Philippines.
More corporate events organisers are showing interest. Along with two boardrooms, a sumptuous ballroom seats up to 600 for a banquet and up to 900 theatre-style. It can be broken down into three banquet rooms, says Charisse.
Though there are few smaller breakout rooms right now of the kind many conference organisers favour, in 2016 City of Dreams events staff will have the flexibility of using some of the F&B outlets for this purpose, says Jenny.
“We’ll also be able to offer themed events for clients using these. Seventy to eighty percent of our clients are corporate, mostly from regional centres and as far afield as Singapore, Hong Kong and Japan.”
A big drawcard for incentive visitors is the 5,000-square-metre, “DreamPlay” facility, a family entertainment centre with attractions that are perfect for teambuilding activities, says Charisse. It presents a variety of team-building exercise options including climbing “the wall of destiny”. DreamPlay is the first play space in the world inspired by the DreamWorks animation company, Charisse adds.
“We’ve been using DreamPlay regularly for team building,” explains Jenny Gabon-Santillan. “Last year we had a major incentive here for a big soft drink company, who ran an all-day event in the ballroom and afterwards at about 4pm went to DreamPlay for a bit of competitive fun – and loved it. More recently we hosted a pharmaceutical company whose doctor guests really got into the swing of things.”
The ideal size for groups for team building is 50 to 60, and they’re usually hosted on weekdays because the retail businesses in the complex are so busy on weekends.
With six hotel towers incorporating Hyatt, Nobu and Crown properties, the City of Dreams has a vast casino, two nightclubs, 21 restaurants, ritzy branded shops and a quadrangle-like centrepiece of gardens, walkways and three discrete swimming pool areas, each attached to its respective hotel, on site. In combination, the hotels offer 940 classy rooms.
The fact that the City of Dreams is close to the airport is a bonus for visitors familiar with Manila traffic, says Hyatt’s engaging, ever-cheerful Marketing Communications Manager Jose (“Ouie”) Torres Badelles (pictured top). He and colleagues primarily use radio and social media to promote the hotel and the broader facility, which he says gives the best results.
Online rates for rooms at the Hyatt and Nobu hotels start at around USD 160, and at around USD 260 for the Crown Towers.
Events organisers are encouraged to discuss their requirements with City of Dreams staff.
Jose Badelles says a room at the Hyatt plus conference package including meals kicks in at around USD 330 (PHP 15,000) a day.
Actor Robert de Niro and casino identities Lawrence Ho and James Packer (co-chairmen of operator Melco Crown) were at the official ribbon-cutting ceremony of the Nobu Hotel at the complex. View it here.
And see last year’s Siteseer story here.