As China’s middle class grows, so does its number of international travelers, and hotels must act accordingly to accommodate a new clientele — by developing global branding strategies that appeal to the inner needs of these Chinese travelers.
A new study suggests some ways in which US-based hotel chains might draw in more Chinese travelers. The survey was conducted by Joy Huang, a professor of recreation, sport, and tourism at the University of Illinois, and Liping Cai, a faculty member in Purdue University’s School of Hospitality and Tourism Management. Their research team spoke with more 600 middle-class Chinese consumers at shopping malls in Shanghai, aged between 20 and 60 years old. Participants were asked about their perceptions of three international hotel brands — Hilton, Holiday Inn, and Super 8 — and about their motivations for traveling to the United States, reports Phys.org.
The study found that “face,” a Confucian value deeply embedded in Chinese culture that esteems the display of pride, wealth, and eminence, is one of the most significant forces motivating middle-class Chinese to travel. Showing face also influences which hotels travelers choose to stay at, according to Huang.
“Chinese consumers tend to establish attachments to multinational hotel brands that are able to satisfy their needs for belonging and esteem from society,” Huang said. “They love the hotel brand, would choose it even if it costs more, and spread favorable impressions of the brand to others because it provides them with a sense of being special and prestigious, which conveys social status and face.”
The survey showed a greater loyalty to Hilton and Holiday Inn hotels than those of Super 8 among Chinese travelers, as the latter is advertised as a budget brand in China.
The researchers say that multinational hotel brands should recognize that Chinese travelers are often motivated by affluence, and that they should also strive for “consistent service and quality at all locations” if they would like to capitalize on what is becoming a considerable portion of the world’s tourism sector.
image credit: hilton