The Peninsula, founded in Hong Kong in 1928, now numbers 10 properties across Asia, the US and Paris, with three more under construction in London, Istanbul and Yangon. It is perceived as one of the world’s most luxurious accommodation brands.
The hotel company’s parent, Hongkong and Shanghai Hotels Limited, created a subsidiary called Peninsula Merchandising which distributes Peninsula merchandise and licenses Peninsula Boutiques in key Asian gateways.
Beyond stores in most of its hotels, Peninsula Marketing sells merchandise at Peninsula Boutiques throughout Asia as well as in leading local department stores and shopping malls in Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore and Taiwan.
Another retail channel still is online with Peninsula food and merchandise sold at Peninsulaboutique.com, for delivery in Hong Kong, Japan, Korea and Taiwan.
As a company spokesperson explains, Peninsula Merchandising exists to “take the brand beyond the hotel walls”.
Core products include artisanal chocolates made in-house at the hotels, its exclusive own-brand range of Chinese and Western teas and traditional Hong Kong treats, including Chinese sauces, lifestyle gifts and souvenirs.
The Peninsula also develops limited-edition, seasonal ranges and products – recognising the power of the brand in selling to a market beyond people already staying in their hotels or dining in its boutiques.
For example, in June the company created a new edition of its annual Mid-Autumn Festival delicacies, conjured up by the chefs at the Michelin-starred, Cantonese fine-dining restaurant Spring Moon in Hong Kong in partnership with Chef Tang Chi Keung, Chinese culinary advisor for The Peninsula Hotel. Available for just a few weeks each year, the limited-edition mini egg-custard mooncakes went on sale online from July 22.
Spring Moon’s mooncakes were first launched in 1986 and like other culinary specials around the world – such as the new Beaujolais wines from France or the first Bluff Oysters from New Zealand – have become widely anticipated and highly sought after. A box of eight mooncakes sells for HK$580 (US$74) and even at that price, purchases have to be restricted to just 30 per customer.
This year, The Peninsula also designed a Deluxe Gourmet Hamper, a luxurious collection of gourmet treats including a box of limited-edition mini egg-custard mooncakes, 30-head Middle East dried abalone, 18-head fish maw and conpoy. The hamper retailed at HK$3888, slightly under US$500.
Licensed amenities for guests
Another additional business channel The Peninsula pursues is partnership with external brands, which potentially lure customers to the chain from rival properties. A case in point: a collaboration with Pokémon in August this year to expand its children’s program, thus appealing to families as well as traditional business customers.
Perhaps surprisingly – cartoon characters and virtual-reality gaming might on the surface seem an odd partner for a five-star hotel brand – The Pokémon Company is a long-time partner of The Peninsula. This year, guests who booked directly with the hotel and stayed during a defined period received exclusive Pokémon in-room amenities for children aged two to 11.
The items were designed with the Pikachu character kitted out in the Peninsula Page uniform and include a plush bathrobe, hooded blanket, a Pikachu stuffed doll, luggage tag, toothbrush set, cutlery, and a sticker.
“Our products are perfect for sharing The Peninsula experience with family, friends and colleagues,” a spokesperson for The Peninsula Tokyo, said. “They also make wonderful souvenirs to take a piece of The Peninsula home. We believe in the power of bridging The Peninsula’s Asian heritage and international presence, delivering a truly elegant and authentic experience.”
Chocolates and chilli
Perhaps a more conventional partnership is an enduring one with French chocolaterie Valrhona with a special range in July in Bangkok. A hand-crafted collection of Valrhona flourless chocolate cakes, Madeleines, canelés and truffles served daily at The Lobby were also made available to purchase boxed at The Peninsula Boutique. The collection was the latest step in an alliance between the two companies forged three years ago.
“Both brands share a heritage of quality, refinement, and a dedication to excellence,” said a spokesperson.
Since 2016, Valrhona has produced an exclusive 66-per-cent pure chocolate blend using sustainable cultivation methods for The Peninsula Hotels’ chefs to use as a base ingredient for its pastries, cakes and desserts.
In Bangkok, chocolate lovers could satisfy their cravings with Thai twists, as the hotel’s executive pastry chef Nicolas Pelloie and his team created chocolate bonbons and truffles with localised fillings such as tropical mango, coconut and chilli.
Showing the love
Another partnership, in Hong Kong, saw Golden Horse Best Actress Karena Lam and her two daughters launch a limited-edition “Dip in Love” hand-dipped chocolate cookies gift set launched in May.
The cookies stemmed from Karena’s passion for art which inspired her two daughters to work on a collage of faces of mums and dads.
“Through their youthful eyes, the children were able to depict the unique personas of the male and female pillars of the family,” said The Peninsula Hong Kong spokesperson. “The creative expression of children through art is pure and direct, while the colours are often lively and unrestrained.
Dip in Love gift sets, which featured two new flavours, Jasmine and Earl Grey, were packaged with a souvenir magnet and presented in a tote bag depicting the icons created by Karena and her daughters. The hotel offered the range online for pre-sale from April 15 at HK$450 (US$57) a set of 12 pieces and a share of the proceeds was donated to Food Angel, the Hong Kong food rescue and assistance charity.
All these examples, and more through recent years at The Peninsula channels around the world – highlight the broad opportunities a little creativity can add to a brand’s awareness, helping establish a point of difference – and all the while benefiting the bottom line.
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