The HK Love Hub Speed Dating Event is to take place from 14 to 16 February at the aquatic theme park. Una Lau, public affairs director of Ocean Park, told Campaign Asia-Pacific that the lunar year ahead will be an auspicious one for marriage because it contains two days marking the start of spring, known as ‘Double coming of Spring and leap month’ (雙春兼閏月), which only happens once every four years.
The event’s organisers include the Hong Kong Tourism Board (HKTB), Airport Authority Hong Kong (AAHK) and speed-dating company SD Fever. One of the aims is to promote Hong Kong as a ‘romantic’ holiday destination.
HKTB has promoted this event through its overseas offices in Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, Europe and North America to help recruit participants. HKAA also set up a dedicated promotion for the event at the airport’s arrival hall, while SD Fever has helped with the screening of the 1,000 who applied.
When Campaign asked how Ocean Park’s speed-dating event would differ from others, Lau explained that restaurants typically host this kind of gathering over a two-hour dinner. Sometimes there may be specific requirements, like daters have to be professionals (doctors and lawyers, but probably not marketers) and there could be a fee. Some events in Hong Kong have charged as much as US$2,600 (HK$20,000) to partake. And often there is a gender imbalance among the participants, so many leave dissatisfied.
Lau added that Ocean Park's event will go beyond the usual chit-chat in a restaurant. “Our potential daters would be organiased into 48 groups to attend various team activities with different challenges from 10am to 6pm on the three days,” Lau said. The couples will be partaking of the park's many attractions, "so it is more fun, and it is free for the daters, and they could get to know each other more." The event was open to singles regardless of sexual orientation, she added.
The speed-dating event deliberately did not involve too many brands, as organizers wanted to minimize commercialism. Lau said that the real brand-building effort is for Hong Kong and Ocean Park, “as Hong Kong is not just a place for shopping and eating, it is also a beautiful and romantic city with a cosmopolitan culture.”