Friday, February 26, 2010

NATAS Fair 2010 (Singapore) Review

I was at the NATAS (National association of Travel Agents Singapore) Fair 2010 today, and is happening now 26 Feb 2010 - 28 Feb 2010 at the Changni Expo.

This is the review of my experience.

1) Getting there. Singapore Expo, at Changni is not exactly the easiest places to get to, being really far from civilization, I decided to drive there. Going there at 7 pm on the first day isn't that bad traffic wise, but when I arrive at Singapore Expo, there was surprisingly no queue getting in. HOWEVER, THERE WAS NOT PARKING. There are lots of cars circling the carpark, cars parked on double yellow lines, curbs, etc. Any place available. It was CHAOS!

My suggestion: DON'T DRIVE -- even when Singapore EXPO is so freakin' far away.

2) Getting in. There was a loooooooonnnnnnnnnnnng queue. It took me slightly less than an hour, just to get in. I listened to the radio, and thought it was a good idea to go on a vacation with my mom, and never did I expect to pay to get into a travel fair where you PAY TO BOOK FOR A HOLIDAY??!!

3) At the entrance. There was a cash queue, it was S$4 to get in. Well there is no queue there. The Mastercard entrance is S$3 per person, and guess what, there is indeed a loooooonnnnnnnggggggg queue. For savings of S$1 per person, I wanted to chance it, and it too me another 20 minutes to get through the queue, I guess it was not worth it.

My suggestion:  Pay the extra $1 to get to the shorter queue.


4) Booths, booths and more booths. There are lots of tour agents there, trying to sell you tours to exotic places. Well, my mom was interested in the Resorts world booth as you pay very little membership points to get the rooms at this fair, so we browsed around and found the booth. There seemed to be a queue number, and we asked around, and everyone waiting for their queue number seemed to be frustrated and not very helpful. My mom approached a staff to ask where can she get the number, and she was shouted at with a very harsh tone, "Can't you see I am serving someone?"

The staff at Resorts World seemed pretty rude, especially to the people there. I reckoned that since a lot of the members are all "Silver card" members, and do spend quite a bit of money in the casinos every year, they ought to be more polite.


We arrived at the booth slightly before 8:30 pm (My phone is 15 minutes faster) and when we found queued up to get the queue numbers, a manager told us to come back tomorrow. I do not understand why the booking process is so long, and at 8:30 pm we are not allowed to book and get queue numbers.

Firstly, we were bombarded by Resorts World ads to call us to take action and book rooms at NATAS fair to enjoy this promotion. The ads include the ones we see in Genting Highlands, ads in the mail and SMSes. And finally when we acted and decided to go to NATAS fair 2010 to book, we were told to go home.

I find this extremely disturbing. How can a company that can build Resorts World in Sentosa, one of the 2 integrated Resorts in Singapore with Universal Studio and a casino have such poor form at a Travel Fair?

Firstly, many people, including 30 or more others behind us are at NATAS simply for this specific purpose. To book a room at Resorts World in Genting with their membership points. And when they leave work and arrive at NATAS on the first day, they were ALL told to go home.

Secondly, there seemed to be lack of communications to inform people especially members who have not been to a paid travel fair before that this NATAS Travel Fair 2010 cost money to get in. I would definitely be crossed if I brought my whole family along to book this ticket, travel all the way from Jurong to Changni, and was turned back and told I can't book when I left after work at 7pm and the NATAS Travel fair closes at 10pm!

If I need to pay to get in, Resorts World should inform people in their ads that people need to pay to get into this travel fair to enjoy the discounts. (I mean if it cost $50 to get in, and you save $50, why do I even need to go and book there? There is travel time, cost, etc.)

Thirdly, how can the booking process take so long? Isn't it using some efficient booking system, swiping the membership card, and simply book? Booking takes 5 - 10 minutes online, and I do not understand why they cannot allow people to book when they arrive at the booth before 8:30 pm, an hour and a half before closing time.

I expect some form of compensation for loyal customers who come and pay to get in the NATAS travel fair just to book and get turned back because of inefficient process, slow workers, slow system or other bad business practice. Face it, many people who go to Genting are not the high end crowd, but treating members in such an unprofessional manner does not buy loyalty.

I walked around and compared some prices amongst the different booths, and NONE caught my eye. Some felt slightly expensive, and others felt like false advertisements as the price of fr $138 became $578 when you include airfare and other random taxes. (For Macau)

I don't understand why there was such a crowd for everything, when there isn't much a deal. I would say when you book a $5000 vacation for your family, and they throw in a new 24" luggage bag because you use your CitiBank Masterscard looks pretty ok, but then again, its a $5000 vacation!

I was really disappointed with the fair and even more disappointed with Resorts World.

-- Robin Low

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Universals Studios Singapore: Sentosa - Review

I was at Universal Studios at Sentosa, Singapore on Feb 14, 2010, and the following is my review.

Please note that this is a preview trip, I was not allowed to ride the different rides and not the whole park is open.


The Universal Studios Singapore is located at Sentosa. A southern island off Singapore. Quite accessible by Bus and Trains (Harbor Front MRT Stop)


I've heard the prices for a weekday ticket is S$66 and Weekends/Holiday S$72 (+$30 for express pass)


The Carpark:

The carpark is HUGE! I would say it can fit 1000+ cars per level and it does have more than 1 level of sheltered carpark in the basement. Finding your car and walking around WILL definitely be a problem but there seems to be a vehicle you can sit which takes you to your car.

The entrance area at the basement is also HUGE, and able to accommodate large crowds. The air is rather stake and I'd not stay in the basement for long.

The escalator going out seemed pretty nice and for day 1.

Universal Studios

The entrance area seemed grand and nice, definitely very interesting and inviting. I'm not sure about the tons of people greeting you, but I liked it overall.


There are lots of people waving you in everywhere, some have lack of enthusiasm, but other were filled with it. Generally, the service seemed pretty ok, and staff can relatively give directions even when this is day 1.

The whole park does indeed look very interesting as there are no walls, but the walls actually look like parts from a movie set. Many things are of very large scale, and it definitely looks awesome!

Though this is a preview, there are actual performances, and the above is from "Madagascar" the cartoon. Performance is good, and I'm not sure it was because there were actors in those thick suits in the Hot and Humid Singapore weather!

There were kids and kids and more kids!! Even when there were no rides, many of them seemed to have a good time!

There were many interesting sights to see, and it looked definitely fun!

Many of the structures looks HUGE, and definitely photo worthy.


The Lost World
Far Far Away Land
Sci-Fi City (BattleStar Galactica)
New York
Ancient Egypt

Overall, I would say Sci-Fi City, Ancient Egypt and New York does look really nice. There are rides in the attractions too, and I'd love to go on those rides.


I've had some food at Loui’s NY Pizza Parlor and Mel’s Drive-in. I would say the decor is relatively ok, but the food is kinda bad.

Loui’s NY Pizza Parlor : The food does not look so appealing and the cheese is not that good. I've tried the chicken wings too, and they don't do it for me. The decor is not noteworthy.

Mel’s Drive-in : Wow, initially, the place looks awesome. It is like a 50's diner and the setup is great for handling crowds. However, the food is simply bad and the cheese burger has a HUGE bun but a tiny patty! The BBQ sauce they use tastes foul too. I can say I enjoyed the soda, and that's about it. I got ice cream on my brownie, but the ice cream did not melt even after 30 minutes and something felt wrong as everything melts in Singapore. The brownie and ice cream was however edible.

The other food places :
Oasis Spice Cafe, a middle eastern food place looks and smells awesome.
Fossil Fuels, a small little hot dog stand.
Friar's, an ice cream place with S$2 soft serve!!
Fairy God Mother's Juice Bar, looks pretty interesting.

I did not look and try out the other food places, will do it next time I go.

I would say, the rides looks really good, and I'd definitely come back for the rides. (Not open to public at time of visit)

The rides I'd try:

BattleStar Galactica: Human
BattleStar Galactica: Cylon
Revenge of the Mummy Ride
Jurassic Park Rapids Adventure
Dino Saurin'

For More Information visit:
Resorts World Singapore

I would definitely return to try out the rides and review it at a later date.

-- Robin Low