Asian Aviation Magazine Editor Matt Driskill is In Conversation with Song Hoi-see, the founder and CEO of airport lounge and service company Plaza Premium Group. Song transformed the airport hospitality services industry by establishing the first pay-in airport lounge in the world for all travellers regardless of their airline or class of travel. Under Song’s leadership over the past 23 years, Plaza Premium Group has grown exponentially from one airport lounge to four core businesses comprising airport lounge brands Plaza Premium First and Plaza Premium Lounge, in-terminal airport hotel Aerotel and Refreshhh by Aerotel, airport meet & greet service ALLWAYS, and a portfolio of Airport Dining concepts, as well as third party lounge management. Through observing the evolving needs of corporates and customers, Song has also introduced the group’s first global membership loyalty programme Smart Traveller, an integrated digital solution to connect all Plaza Premium Group hospitality offerings with the air travel market, by consolidating businesses and services in the industry. This innovation has revolutionised the travel ecosystem and further elevated the airport to be an enjoyable destination of its own.
Plaza Premium Group has become the benchmark for airport value-added services. The group currently operates more than 180 locations in over 50 airports globally, and employs more than 5,000 employees, serving over 20 million passengers around the world annually. The success of the business model has prompted worldwide airport authorities to open their doors to independent lounge providers and value-added airport services as part of a bid to enhance the overall traveller experience as well as airport service quality. Song was awarded Ernst & Young’s Entrepreneur of the Year and Master Entrepreneur of the Year 2018 Malaysia. He was also named Business Excellence Person of the year at the Sin Chew Business Excellence Awards 2017, and won the DHL/SCMP Hong Kong Business Awards in addition to the Grand Winner of the Male Entrepreneur of the Year Award at the Star Outstanding Business Awards. He is the chairman of the board of Vinculum Solutions Private Limited; has been serving the World Economics Committee of Airport Councils International (2010-14); was formerly the President of Rotary Club of Shatin, Hong Kong (2015-16); the Chairman of Hong Kong Airport Manager Association; and is a founding member and the Vice Chairman of the Malaysian Chamber of Commerce (Hong Kong & Macau).