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Peninsula Hotels' VP, Marketing, Simon Yip

Peninsula Hotels started back in 1866 when the Kadoorie brothers decided to open up the luxury market in Shanghai, bringing light to the Peninsula motto, Timeless Luxury.

The Peninsula Hotels group has a unique identity among the world’s leading hotels. Established in 1928, they now operate prestigious luxury properties in ten major cities. Since then, Peninsula Hotels have been forging unique partnerships and collaborations, one of our favorites being the PenCities by LUXE City Guides, which showcases the very best of each Peninsula destination. You can find these guides through the new Peninsula mobile app, or offered as part of an amenity exclusively at Peninsula hotels.

Peninsula’s VP Sales, Simon Yip talks about how a historical brand maintains the brand standard of “Tradition Well Served” with savvy partnerships, curated guest guides all within their iconic destinations.

Peninsula Hotels' VP, Marketing - Simon Yip and his wife, Tammy at the opening of The Peninsula Paris.

While other hotel groups continue to open new properties year after year, how does the Peninsula distinguish itself while maintaining the brand image? …and can we expect to see a new Peninsula popping up anytime soon?

The Kadoorie family’s leadership is a part of our heritage, and helps make The Peninsula brand unique. We remain true to our founding principles of “Tradition well served”, and The Peninsula invests a significant stake in each hotel so we can focus on the finer details. To ensure that we uphold our timeless standards of hospitality at every hotel, we introduced The Peninsula Ambassadors programme. Selected staff members work at an overseas Peninsula hotel to better understand the challenges of delivering the impeccable levels of service our customers expect. Upon their return, they can impart the benefits of these experiences to their colleagues.

We are selective about the location of our hotels. Our 10 hotels in Asia, Europe and the United States are located in the heart of each destination. The Peninsula’s iconic addresses include the Bund in Shanghai, Fifth Avenue in New York, and overlooking the Imperial Palace in Tokyo and the Champs Élysées in Paris. In the centre of the Chinese capital, The Peninsula Beijing is undergoing an exciting transformation, and the restyled 230-room hotel will combine modern design elegance, traditional Chinese artisanship and pioneering in-room technology.

Looking to the future, we are excited to have signed agreements to open The Peninsula Yangon in the grand former headquarters of the Burma Railway Company, The Peninsula London opposite Hyde Park Corner, and The Peninsula Istanbul with fabulous views of the Bosphorous Strait.

The Peninsula Hotel, New York

What kind of experiences will be included on the PenCities guides and how do you see this changing, and if so, bettering the guest relationship with Peninsula?

We know that our guests are discerning and well traveled, and are always seeking new inspirations, so we partnered with LUXE City Guides to create inspiring Peninsula guides for each destination. Written exclusively for The Peninsula Hotels, PenCities is an online luxury lifestyle journal that presents a new way for guests to discover expert insights and make the most of their time in each Peninsula city.

PenCities provides guests with curated recommendations of the latest cultural openings and special events, plus the finest dining, entertainment, shopping, spa and wellness. For guests on a tight schedule, a self-guided one-day tour itinerary includes top sights and offbeat finds embellished by superb colour photography of the signature attractions.

Peninsula almost has an advantage by keeping it’s collection minimal, many of your programs and partnerships seems to really hone in on really getting to know the destination around them in great detail, such as, the Peninsula Academy Program, what can you tell us about it?

As a small group of luxury hotels, our location in vibrant gateway cities around the world is a key advantage. The Peninsula Academy programme was specially created to offer guests privileged access and once-in-a-lifetime experiences that bring alive the history and creative spirit of each destination.

Each Peninsula hotel works closely with selected partners, ranging from leading artists and galleries to star football teams and celebrity chefs, to create memorable experiences that capture the very best of the arts and culture, cuisine, fashion and lifestyle in their city. In addition, iconic Peninsula signatures, such as tuk tuks at The Peninsula Bangkok and jeepneys at The Peninsula Manila, add a fun flavour of the destination that no other hotel can provide.

The Peninsula Hotel, Chicago
The Peninsula Chicago

Hope for the Philippines was/is a beautiful project started to help families recover from the Typhoon, Yolonda, which destroyed many homes of locals. Peninsula hotels in Asia and the United States have been donating to the cause by having proceeds donated in multiple ways. What are the latest updates on this project and what else can you tell us about it?

We launched the Hope for the Philippines fundraising initiative in November 2013, immediately after the devastating Super Typhoon Haiyan, or Yolanda as it was known in The Philippines. The campaign raised US$900,000, and these funds have been used to construct The Peninsula – Gawad Kalinga Village in Maribi, Tanauan, Leyte, which opened in late January. The new village was built in conjunction with the Gawad Kalinga charitable foundation, and houses 75 families from the coastal town of San Roque, who were displaced when Typhoon Yolanda decimated the coastal provinces of the Eastern Visayas region of the Philippines on 8 November 2013.

With The Peninsula Manila celebrating its 40th anniversary in 2016, we want to continue giving back to a country that has welcomed us with open arms. We plan to build another 25 houses, to bring the total to 100 houses in the village, and are assessing ways to raise the necessary additional funds.

Peninsula is infamously known for its fleet of Peninsula-green Rolls Royce’s, and this past year Peninsula has partnered with Beats by Dr. Dre for the mere sake of giving guests a state-of-the-art listening experience during their stay. How did this partnership happen and will there be any other outside luxe additions to the Peninsula brand?

The ability to surprise and delight our guests with ground-breaking new programmes is a hallmark of The Peninsula Hotels, and collaborations with elite brands form part of this approach. The Peninsula Hotels has created long-term partnerships with leading international marques, such as Rolls-Royce, as you mentioned, and Chanel, whose China flagship store is located at The Peninsula Shanghai.

We chose to partner with Beats by Dr. Dre because it is the leader in premium sound entertainment, and is acclaimed worldwide for its sleek designs. Having a similar market position in our respective industries, we agreed an unprecedented partnership for both companies to offer incredible audio quality to our guests. In 2015, The Peninsula New York introduced the brand’s signature Studio Wireless™ headphones, Powerbeats2 Wireless™ earphones and Beats Pill™ speakers, and other Peninsula hotels will join the programme this year.

The Peninsula also partners with global charitable organisations to enhance the guest experience and support our local communities. For example, Elephant Parade, the world’s largest art exhibition of decorated elephant statues, opened its Thai flagship store at The Peninsula Bangkok. Our annual Festive campaign raises funds for local chapters of Make-A-Wish Foundation, and each October the Peninsula in Pink campaign enables our guests to support breast cancer research with pink-inspired afternoon teas, dining and spa promotions and special events.

The Peninsula Hotel, Hong Kong

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