Incentive Travel, Corporate Meetings, Association Meetings, Event Management, Conferences, Product Launches, Special Interest Tours
Destination China is China’s first privately held Destination Management Company and the only one with combined Chinese and Western management and expertise. Our mission is to create and operate imaginative incentive programs, meetings and events within China, for the world’s most demanding corporate end users. We look forward to helping you and your clients discover why China has fascinated world travellers for over 5,000 years. With its vibrant economy and a swiftly developing tourism infrastructure, China is fast becoming one of the travel industry’s most requested destinations, offering a virtually endless mix of exciting historical, cultural and entertainment attractions… all in five-star comfort. We at Destination China have combined our substantial international know-how and experience with a well-established tourism presence in China to offer top quality service and one-stop shopping for all land requirements. At all times we strive to provide unmatched creativity in conception and planning, reliability in execution and flawless performance in every detail.


Destination China
Michelin Rolls Into Town...

February 2010

How much can a single guide book affect the decision making of clients in MICE?

This would be an interesting survey to take, not just in established centers in Europe, but in Michelin’s new and emerging markets such as Tokyo, Hong Kong & Macau.

As DMCs, we target a market that is often more discerning & features higher budgets than one expects from the average, leisure traveler. So how do these travelers with high expectations judge our programs? Often, their knowledge of a destination is not first hand and their experience limited to site inspections, which are planned, directed and controlled by the DMC?  They search for extra information, by researching on the Internet, or cross check the information we have given them through competitive quotes.  Sometimes they read travel related material in print or rely on word-of-mouth recommendations from industry colleagues.  And then they have their “bibles”.

The new Hong Kong & Macau Michelin Guide 2010 has just been published. Only in its second year, it is already having a significant effect on our “requested restaurant list.” While the guide has expanded to include new gourmet and eateries in lower price levels (such as local noodle shops), its focus is simply to offer the best recommendations for dining that their testers can provide. These recommendations”are already having a significant impact on the restaurants our clients are asking about.

The most amazing thing has been the realization when a restaurant that earns one-, two-, or three-stars, or is named a “Gourmand” (highly recommended), this seems to overcome all of the typical barriers we face when recommending restaurants to our clients. Usual restaurant recommendations are questioned with regard price, comfort, suitability, etc. Menus are requested, changed, and changed again.

But the Michelin guide is like a magic broom, sweeping aside all of these concerns. Just by being able to say in your description, “this restaurant was awarded one-star in the 2009 Hong Kong & Macau Michelin Guide” alleviates most client concerns. No more “is it good enough for my group”, “you know this is a very high level group”, “they have to be wowed”, “is the house wine really good enough.” There seems to be a blind faith in the recommendation of this guidebook, first published by a tire company to encourage people to travel by car.

In China (of which Hong Kong is a part), you might even draw comparisons to another “Little Red Book”.

As a DMC does this help us? I suppose the immediate answer would be “yes,” in that it may simplify the making some choices for a group.   But it does create a dilemma if a client requests a restaurant from he Guide that as a DMC you don’t think fits the bill, because of the client make-up, budget, or general ambience you are trying achieve. How do we challenge the “master judges” who travel 30,000km, stay in 120+ hotels and eat in and judge 250+ restaurants every calendar year?  It creates more work and sometimes more headaches. So like all things it is a bit of a two edged sword.

While the exposure is great & the Guide recognizes the excellent culinary heritage in both Hong Kong & Macau, I would argue that local knowledge is just as important. The Michelin Guide is exactly that – a guidebook. They are not “gourmet bibles” and all the recommendations within their covers should be taken with a little grain of salt.  All choices should be tried, tested and recommended by the DMC and organizer alike.  And speaking of a grain of salt, why not try one on the pan-seared Wagyu beef with cèpes and capers, souffléed potato, and baby spinach leaves at the three-star rated Robuchon a Galera in Macau?

In the 2010 Edition of the Hong Kong & Macau Michelin Guide, HKG & Macau restaurants were awarded sixty-six stars: three three-star restaurants, nine two-star restaurants and thirty-nine with one-star.  And the next step, Shanghai or Beijing… or both!

Gunther Homerlein
General Manager, Hong Kong


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Michelin Guide

3 Stars HK Restaurant

3 Stars HK Restaurant

2 Stars HK Restaurant

2 Stars HK Restaurant