Hotels gear up for Chinese boom

Hotels in Asia Pacific are expecting a major rise in Chinese visitors in the coming years, according to a new survey by Hotels.com.

Launched today (Friday 13 July 2012), the company’s inaugural Chinese International Travel Monitor (CITM) found that the majority of hoteliers envisage the boom in outbound Chinese travel continuing, with almost a quarter (22%) expecting to see an increase of as much as 40%.

An increasing number of hotels are catering to Chinese guests
An increasing number of hotels are catering to Chinese guests

Johan Svanstrom, Managing Director of Hotels.com Asia Pacific commented; “The Chinese made a staggering 70 million international trips in 2011 and, while many of these were to Hong Kong and Macau, the number going further afield is growing significantly. Implementing strategies to cater specifically to this burgeoning source market is moving from a ‘nice-to-have’ to a competitive necessity.”

The study, which gathered the views of 5,000 of Hotels.com’s hotel partners, found that the profile of Chinese guests is also changing as they become increasingly more independent, confident, younger and more familiar with foreign cultures and customs.

Among hoteliers polled, those in the Asia Pacific region already recognise the need to offer Mandarin-speaking staff, translated materials, Chinese menus, entertainment options and China UnionPay card services for payments. Fifty-nine percent of Asia Pacific hotel respondents already offer Chinese newspapers and magazines, while 70% offer Chinese food menus.

The majority of the world’s major hotel chains have rolled out services dedicated to Chinese travellers recently. Just this month Marriott unveiled its ‘Li Yu’ initiative, offering Chinese F&B items, translated hotel menus and directories and Chinese-speaking staff. This follows the roll-out of the ‘Hilton Huanying’ scheme, offering a similar range of services, while Starwood’s ‘Personalized Travel’ programme also focuses on the Chinese outbound market. IHG has taken it one step further with the launch of its HUALUXE Hotels & Resorts brand in China, and Accor has tailored its Grand Mercure brand for the Chinese market with a new Mandarin name, ‘Mei Jue’.

“Hoteliers should form concrete plans in two areas. Firstly, develop marketing strategies to reach the Chinese source market; concentrating on online as the Chinese internet population has now crossed the 500 million mark. Secondly, adapt hotel property services to cater to the expectation and needs of this growing audience.” concluded Svanstrom.

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