More and more luxury hotels are launching initiatives that provide very focused customer services and amenities to wow Chinese clientele.
The Los Angeles Times recently reported that 650 independent hotels that form the Preferred Hotel Group have launched a “China ready” program. It’s purpose is to help member hotels prepare quality service to the burgeoning number of Chinese tourists visiting America.
The hotels must meet more than 25 criteria before they are designated “China-ready.” New amenities to be offered include slippers, teakettles, Chinese-language newspapers, shaving cream, razors and toothbrushes added in those rooms reserved for Chinese travelers. Pillows monogrammed with the Mandarin word for “Welcome” are also a requirement, as are traditional Chinese menus. Hotels that have adopted the new standards include Montage Beverly Hills (where a standard room is about $600 per night), the Broadmoor in Colorado Springs, the Charles Hotel in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and the Sparkling Hill Resort in Vernon, Canada.
The amenities aren’t intended to capture the entire Chinese market, just those travelers who are fed up with lackluster experiences and are looking beyond costs.
Traditionally, leisure travelers are more inclined to choose a cheaper hotel or tour package to be able to spend more money on souvenirs and luxury purchases. “Tour operators have to put them in two- or one-star hotels because they are on a budget,” said Haybina Hao, director of international development for the National Tour Association. Generally, “leisure travelers don’t want to spend that much, but the business traveler may want to check into a high-end hotel,” said Hao.
But, managers of luxury hotels are targeting those Chinese travelers who are returning for a second or third time, who want enjoyable amenities.
Chinese travelers are the fastest growing segment in the world. The U.S. Department of Commerce reported that the number of Chinese travelers visiting the U.S. in 2012 was 1.5 million, 35 percent more than 2011. The U.S. Travel Association found that Chinese tourists, on average, spent $5,948 per visit in the U.S. last year, compared with an average of about $4,370 per visit for all overseas visitors.