With airport lounges, hotels and spas, Plaza Premium Group wants to work with travel agents to create a 360-degree offering of services, “so that we can take care of travellers from departure to transit and until they arrive at their destinations,” says Chief Operating Officer, Johnson Wong.
1. Plaza Premium Group has been the name behind high-end airport lounges and other experiences & services for more than 20 years, however some Canadian travel agents may still be unfamiliar with the brand and what it offers. Can you give us a quick recap of what Plaza Premium Group is all about?
“Plaza Premium Group is the pioneer and industry leader in offering global airport hospitality services in over 160 locations of 44 international airports across the world, with a collective goal of making travel better for all travelers regardless of airlines and travel classes.
“The Group comprises five core businesses, four of which are our own branded products.
“Independent, pay-per-use airport lounge concept Plaza Premium Lounge is our first brand, developed back in 1998, also the world’s first of its kind concept launched. Last year, in 2018, we observed there are travellers seeking elevated and personalized service – a la carte dining, selection of premium whiskeys, specialty tea and coffee, option of Beyond Meat – and we developed Plaza Premium First, a first class lounge for all travellers without flying first class.
“Apart from airport lounges, we created Aerotel in 2016 to answer travellers’ pain points of needing a space to sleep, rather than resting on the floor or a bench at the airport during transit. It’s the world’s first in-terminal airport hotel concept, which features an unconventional rental scheme – based on blocks of hours instead of daily rate. Aerotel offers a space for passengers to sleep and nap during transit, and for travellers landing early morning or late at night to rest, and stay for a few hours prior to departure during odd hours.
“A third business we operate is airport meet & greet service Allways – to offer a range of services from fast track, buggy and porter service to personal escort through arrival, transit or departure. Fourth business, and as a natural extension, we created a portfolio of airport dining concepts including Chinese fine dining, healthy options, and Korean and Japanese fusion food.
“As a Group, we strive to make the travel experience at airport exceptional for arrival, transit and departure travellers to enjoy comfort, convenience, value, and with our love and care.”
“In Canada, Plaza Premium Lounge is located at airports in Toronto, Winnipeg, Edmonton and Vancouver. Allways Meet & Greet service and Wellbeing Spa at Toronto Pearson International Airport along with Root98 Airport Dining at Winnipeg Richardson International Airport.”
2. What should travel agents be telling their clients about Plaza Premium Lounge – what’s the experience like?
“Plaza Premium Lounge is our flagship brand and the world’s largest independent airport lounge network. We welcome all travellers regardless of class of travel, airline or membership. All our lounges are equipped with excellent services and facilities, including relaxation area with comfortable seating, all-you-can-eat buffet with a range of food options, shower facilities, complimentary alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks, complimentary WiFi service, workstations for business travellers, and more.
“Seeing that family travel is on the rise, we launched family-friendly initiative this year. Playroom, a dedicated kids zone, offers educational toys made of sustainable materials and it’s introduced in our lounges in Helsinki, Cebu (International) and upcoming Dubai. Other locations also introduced a kids’ corner with colouring sets, high chairs, kids menus and cutlery and children’s books.
“Plaza Premium Lounge is an ideal place at the airport for travellers flying out for different purposes – business, leisure or bleisure, to unwind, relax and get refreshed before your flight.”
3. What other products in the Plaza Premium Group portfolio, in addition to the Plaza Premium Lounges, should agents have on their radar?
“At Toronto Pearson International Airport, we offer Allways meet & greet service, which takes away all the airport hassle by a seamless end-to-end airport experience. From baggage handling, lounge stays, immigration-designated channel, limousine transfer to buggy service, we guarantee smooth coordination at every point in the airport. Whether you’re travelling alone or with your family, on a business trip or a holiday, we make sure you and your loved ones are well-looked after.
“I must also add that it has already become a big celebrity favourite in Toronto and it’s one of their most preferred services during TIFF (the Toronto International Film Festival).
“There is Wellbeing Spa to look forward to when travelling to the U.S. from Terminal 3 at Toronto. It is a quick stop spa for a relaxing massage, refreshing shower, nail treatments and more to boost your energy levels throughout the travel time. Our herbs-and-seeds-inspired dining concept Root98 at Winnipeg airport is the ideal place for travellers looking for healthy options, it’s winning fans every day with its variety and the exceptional service.
“We are also happy to discuss with travel agents to see how we can assist their clients at destinations – our airport lounge footprint reaches more than 70 locations in over 35 airports.”
4. What are Plaza Premium Group’s plans for Canadian airports and the Canadian market?
“Our vision is to get Plaza Premium Group services and brands to become household names for every Canadian traveller, who will plan arriving at the airport early to enjoy our airport hospitality services, be it a lounge experience, spa relaxation at Wellbeing or our dining offers. We always look at opportunities to continuously expanding our services to serve local and international travellers at more airports in Canada.
“We also hope to introduce Aerotel experience to Canadian airports at the right time!
“Currently we are at our last phase of completing the biggest independent airport lounge in Canada. The facility will inhabit close to 12,000 square feet with a wide range of benefits – state of art facilities and different seating styles with massage rooms, a themed bar, wide-spread hot and cold food buffet, kids’ play area, shower facilities and more.”
5. How does Plaza Premium Group work with travel agents and why are they important to the success of your company?
“We work closely with travel agents by listening to their needs and understanding how we can benefit their clients. In addition to Canadians travelling out of country who may look for lounge access during departure, we hope to work with them to create a 360-degree of services, so that we can take care of travellers from departure to transit and until they arrive at their destinations.
“We have an online portal built for travel agents to book online. Some travel agents prefer the conventional way of booking lounge access for groups via telephone and/ or emails and a dedicated sales representative in Canada helps with this.
“We organize yearly webinars for travel agents, participate in trade shows and travel seminars as well as travel events to let travel agents know about Plaza Premium Lounge and other services.
“We also host semi-annual Airport Authority Travel Agency tours and events to update travel agents about our services and new locations.”