Aerotel rolls out a premium welcome

Aerotel, the world’s largest chain of in-terminal airport hotels opened its door at Beijing Daxing International Airport as part of a concerted strategic expansion in China. The two-storey hotel is located in the Northeast pier, spanning over 9,000sq m and offering 215 guest rooms. Martin Moodie paid a visit.

Highlights of Aerotel Beijing

The Daxing Aerotel (a neat merging of ‘Aero’ and ‘Hotel’) is part of a fast-expanding expanding network covering several major international airports in key locations, including Abu Dhabi, Beijing, Cebu, Guangzhou, Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur, London, Muscat, Rio de Janeiro and Singapore.

  • The largest In-terminal international airport hotel in China and among the world’s biggest airport hotels.
  • First and only in-terminal hotel at the new Beijing gateway.
  • An integral part of the new airport, designed to offer convenience and value for travellers taking flights or landing early morning or late at night.
  • Five-minute walking distance to the nearest domestic check-in counters and ten minutes to international check-in.
  • Hourly charged packages for global travellers to check in at any time throughout the day.

“We created Aerotel to take care of travellers needing a space to rest right at the terminal with no constraint on check-in time,” says Song Hoi-see, the ebullient, entrepreneurial Founder and CEO of Plaza Premium Group.

“We welcome this precious opportunity to become an integral part of Beijing Daxing International Airport with our 20 years of experience in airport hospitality to make travel better for international travellers visiting the capital.

Guestrooms include Superior Single, Superior Double, Deluxe Double, Family Room and accessible rooms, all crafted to facilitate good sleeps or power naps, underscored by quality bedding, pillow options, soothing lightings and powerful showers.

Domestic and international travellers can enjoy high-speed wifi for connectivity and IPTV for entertainment. A charge by the hour package system allows guests to check in any time day and night.

Aerotel Beijing, operated on a nine-year plus-one contract, aims to create a soothing ambience for travellers to relax and unwind with textual carpets and colour-matching furniture. A fitness corner is available for guests to continue their wellbeing regime while a games room with billiard table lets friends enjoy some downtime.

Aerotel’s signature Library Lounge boasts 192 seats, offering international buffet cuisine and a la carte menu with local flavours throughout the day.

As the flagship property and a first for Aerotel, the hotel houses two meeting rooms – Xijin House and Jibei House, together with one VIP room Guji House, all taking the ancient names of Daxing. Equipped with an audio and visual system, the multi-functional facilities cater for meetings, private dinners and intimate social gatherings with a capacity of up to 36 guests.

In the hands of a professional

As he guides me on a tour of Aerotel Beijing, General Manager Benny Shi speaks with pride about how the hotel managed to defeat the odds on time to open in time for the airport’s inauguration last September. “It was a very big day,” he recalls. “Chairman Xi [Chinese leader Xi Jinping] attended.

“We had not actually finished construction at that point but we had to open for the public and I was very surprised that the business came in strongly right from the first day with occupancy above 30%,” says Shi, a 31-year veteran of the hotel profession.

By the time of The Moodie Davitt Report’s visit in November that rate was already rising above 70%. Once the COVID-19 crisis is over – and Beijing is emerging swiftly from the dark days of January and February – prospects look very good.

The target market while led by domestic passengers, will increasingly be international-influenced as more foreign carriers transfer their operations from Beijing Capital International Airport to the new gateway.

Finishing touches will add a further lustre to a neatly functional hotel. These include a garden with a guest smoking area. And in the airport itself, Plaza Premium Group will eventually operate four lounges across both the international and domestic area, in partnership with powerful Chinese tourism group China International Travel Services.

Having begun his career with Swissotel and stayed for eight years, Shi later opened key Hilton and Intercontinental properties before turning to Beijing, where he held top roles at Shangri-La Hotel, then Carlson Group followed by a variety of other senior posts. Before joining Aerotel he led the opening of the classy boutique property Beijing Fortune Grove Hotel.

Shi admits that the challenge of running an airport hotel is very different to his background in managing international hotels downtown.

One of the key differences is the need to interact constantly with other airport stakeholders and to understand the complexity of how an airport functions, including, of course, flight scheduling.

But it’s clear from his enthusiasm as he shows me around the property that this is a task he relishes, not just for the professional satisfaction but for the pride it gives in being part of such a landmark development in Chinese history.

About Plaza Premium Group

With a mission to Make Travel Better, Plaza Premium Group is a pioneer and industry leader in innovating airport hospitality services and facilities.

Established in 1998 by Malaysian entreprenuer Song Hoi-see with a single airport lounge, Hong Kong-based Plaza Premium Group today operates over 160 locations across 44 international airports globally.

The group comprises five core business segments – airport lounges Plaza Premium First and Plaza Premium Lounge; airport hotel and leisure Aerotel and Refreshhh by Aerotel; airport meet & greet service Allways and a range of Airport Dining concepts.

In addition to its own brands, Plaza Premium Group provides airport hospitality solutions to leading airlines, alliances and corporates around the world, including Cathay Pacific Airways, Singapore Airlines, Lufthansa, China Eastern Airlines, China Southern Airlines, Star Alliance, SkyTeam, American Express and many more.

The group has won more over 60 accolades in the last five years, including ‘World’s Best Independent Airport Lounge’ for four consecutive years from 2016 to 2019 at the Skytrax World Airline Awards. Song Hoi-see was named Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of The Year and Master Entrepreneur of The Year 2018 Malaysia.

Plaza Premium Group currently employs over 5,000 staff and serves more than 15 million global passengers annually.

Spotlight Series

March 2020

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