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W Seoul-Walkerhill taps into Chinese market

Having seen a rapid rise in the number of travelers from the country this year, W Seoul-Walkerhill will enhance marketing to attract more Chinese people, said Greg Findlay, who was appointed general manager of the hotel in early October.

About 45 percent of visitors are Koreans and the largest group among the international guests is Chinese, he said.

“On the weekends, it’s generally Koreans coming out of Seoul to get away from the city. But China is growing and Japan is quite strong for us with the casino (Paradise Casino),” Findlay told The Korea Herald.
Greg Findlay, general manger of W Seoul-Walkerhill (W Seoul-Walkerhill)
Greg Findlay, general manger of W Seoul-Walkerhill (W Seoul-Walkerhill)

One of the examples of enhanced marketing for China is the upcoming “Design Lab” program on Dec. 14. This will see W Seoul gather a Korean DJ and Korean fashion designer to showcase what W Seoul can offer.

W Hotels Worldwide’s global fashion director Jenne Lombardo, whose job is to discover and nurture up and coming designers, will choose one Korean fashion designer among a list of possible candidates to showcase their products at the event.

“It is the first W event in China, organized by W Seoul,” he said.

Recently, Findlay was surprised to see 1,200 people attend the Halloween party at Woo Bar. About 300 more people came this year than last year.

The next big party at the Woo Bar will be W Wow Party on Nov. 25, featuring DCUP, an Australian DJ known for “We No Speak Americano,” and W Hong Kong DJ Angus Wong.

A Kiwi hotelier, who began his career with the Sheraton brand in 1992 in New Zealand, Findlay worked with both the Sheraton and Westin brands under Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide. He launched The Westin Siray Bay Resort & Spa in Phuket in 2010 and The Westin Auckland in 2007.

Seven years have passed since W Seoul opened in August 2004 as the first W Hotel in Asia and the hotel’s “soft renovation” ― repainting and refurbishing rooms ― will be completed next year to keep the hotel fresh and current, Findlay said.

“After that, we’re going to look at more renovation going into 2013,” he said.

By Kim Yoon-mi (