The rising popularity of Istanbul, together with a budding MICE, business and leisure travel segment in the area, has encouraged major names in the tourism industry to try their hand at what remains a largely untapped opportunity. Chief among these is the Shangri-La Bosphorus, Istanbul, which became the first Asian brand in the capital to introduce a unique blend of authentic Asian and Turkish hospitality when it opened its doors two years ago.
The increasing popularity of Istanbul is reflected in the rising levels of demand seen among the MICE, business and leisure travel sectors, in which a wide range of flight options, facilitated namely by Turkish Airlines (named Europe’s Best Airline by Skytrax in 2014), has increased opportunities in Istanbul for any number of international meetings. Once a little-known destination for business travel, the city now stands out as a key hub of operations, due largely to its authentic history and culture, unique attractions, high quality of service, technology and – ultimately – good value for money.
MICE organisers looking for customisation and general quality of service are warming to the Shangri-La Bosphorus, Istanbul as a place for the ideal stopover
Based in the Besiktas district and bordering on the western edge of the city, the Shangri-La Bosphorus, Istanbul’s focus on outstanding service is expertly delivered by a team of over 350 employees, along with several project teams whose goal it is to ensure every detail is accounted for over any one client’s stay.
In the short space of time since the hotel opened in May 2013, those working at the hotel have turned the establishment into one of the region’s best-loved stopovers. Shangri-La Bosphorus, Istanbul has since hosted an abundance of upscale corporate and social conferences, and welcomed a range of leading industry names. For example, in only the past 12 months, Ferrari, Apple, McKinsey, Chanel, Christian Dior, BMW and the Borussia Dortmund football team have all enjoyed a stay.
Having long maintained a strong presence on the Asian continent, the Shangri-La brand eventually expanded to Europe. Today it is spread across three key destinations: the Shangri-La Hotel, Paris was the first to open its doors in Europe, followed closely by Shangri-La Bosphorus, Istanbul in 2013. In May 2014, Shangri-La Hotel, London – located on the 34th to 52nd floors of the capital’s iconic Shard building – opened to the public.
Strategically positioned to host businesses from the Middle East, Europe or Asia, Istanbul ranks as one of the most preferred destinations for business and leisure travellers alike – hence why it was named the most popular destination in the world by TripAdvisor in its sixth annual Travellers’ Choice Awards 2014.
Boasting a wide range of direct flight options, beautiful sights, high-class services and a number of unique events venues, Istanbul’s high standing among business travellers is well deserved. As a result, the city has fast become a leading destination for international meetings.
Carrying the key values of the Shangri-La brand and its lifelong philosophy of ‘Shangri-La Hospitality from a caring family’, Shangri-La Bosphorus, Istanbul’s ambition is to bolster its strengths and expand upon the products and services currently on offer. Besides its prime location on the Bosphorus, where it is situated within easy reach of near enough any significant business or leisure spot in the region, the hotel’s facilities and services are each underpinned by high standards of hospitality. Service remains the cornerstone of the hotel’s commitments.
Certain procedures have been put in place to prepare any guest for a perfect welcome, namely by the hotel ensuring that it has gathered as many relevant pieces of information as possible about the visitor prior to their arrival. A hotel representative welcomes those who have opted for a transfer at the airport and, upon arrival at the hotel, the Guest Relations team welcomes the client and leads them directly to their room for an in-room check-in and special welcome tea.
In addition to its superb location within the city and at the crossroads of the emerging corporate world, the hotel’s facilities and services have been created in such a way that they are by far the best choice for business travellers in and around the region. Shangri-La Bosphorus, Istanbul offers more rooms overlooking the Bosphorus than the competition, and is also the closest hotel to its idyllic blue waters. What’s more, Shangri-La Bosphorus, Istanbul is also the only hotel in the city to own a Rolls-Royce that can be rented by hotel guests for transfers to the airport or trips to their business meetings. Add into the mix the option to dine at Shang Palace, the only authentic Chinese-Cantonese restaurant in Turkey, and the reasons for the hotel’s success are clear.
However, the Bosphorus is far from simply a preferred destination for business trips. The region itself plays host to a number of key international names: in a country where internet business is booming, the Bosphorus has attracted all manner of talent within this sector and today plays host to a thriving digital economy. It’s up to those in the travel and tourism industry, therefore, to ensure that this same accommodating environment is open to businesses that are just visiting.
Shangri-La Bosphorus, Istanbul offers state-of-the art, customised services that cater to the very highest levels of international business. The Shangri-La ballroom, for example, is widely recognised as the most beautiful such space in the region, and has fast become the preferred spot in the city for meetings. The hotel’s nine other meeting rooms, which are conveniently located on the same floor, and its spacious pre-function room, which is able to cater for up to 1,000 people, closely follow behind it.
All venues feature state-of-the-art audio-visual equipment, large plasma display units, LCD and direct projectors, satellite and teleconferencing facilities, and simultaneous translation systems available upon request. Complimentary high speed internet in guest rooms as well as meeting rooms and public areas serves to satisfy the needs of business travellers, for whom the priority is to have superb connectivity throughout their stay.
This commitment to bringing distinctive Asian standards of hospitality to guests stands fast as a cornerstone of the business, and – complemented by a flexible approach to meet any client’s needs, no matter how unique – the hotel has succeeded in setting its services far apart from the competition. Shangri-La Bosphorus, Istanbul has all the ingredients needed to make for an accommodating yet business-minded stopover, and can be enjoyed in a most comfortable and unique atmosphere by professionals on the road.
Corporate clients are constantly seeking value-for-money propositions, though without compromising on quality. Shangri-La Bosphorus, Istanbul’s unique experience in the industry has shown that this segment craves value-added benefits and values technology as a crucial point in their selection criteria. Corporate clients and MICE organisers looking for customisation and general quality of service are warming to the Shangri-La Bosphorus, Istanbul as a place for the ideal stopover.