Ten trends the hotel industry should watch for during Chinese tourism boom
A tea set awaits guests at Shangri-La's Villingili Resort & Spa in the Maldives. / Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts
These trends are generalizations at best and stereotypes at worst, but attempt to give hotels an inside look at what drives the decisions of their most coveted travelers.
The entire travel and tourism industry is paying close attention to the more than 100 million Chinese travelers expected to cross borders by 2020; however, many global hotel brands with Western roots are struggling to cater to the distinct cultural tastes of their new guests.
The Center for Hospitality Research interviewed 51 outbound Chinese tour operators to understand what Chinese package bookers seek in their travels and published its findings in its most recent report, Preferences and Attitudes of Chinese Outbound Travelers.
The Swiss Hotel Association came out with a similar report outlining detailed norms and guidelines for working with Chinese travelers earlier this year. The Swiss list resorts to general cliches about Chinese culture — some useful and others borderline offensive.
The preferences and attitudes of Chinese travelers described by the Center for Hospitality Research are as follows:
- Bali, Korea, Macau, and Malaysia will be the most popular Asian destinations, but Chinese travelers will be much more interested in international trips.
- Europe is expected to receive the greatest boost in Chinese tourism, followed by North America. Travel to the United States is weakened due to its arduous visa procedures.
- Budget is, and will be, the most influential factor when planning a vacation, while Internet is the most influential when choosing a destination.
- Chinese travelers will allocate most of their budget to lodging and transportation and less on meals and entertainment.
- The fastest growing segment of Chinese travelers is expected to be families with young children, retired couples, and children.
- Chinese travelers would rather be in the center of a bustling city than in a rural setting and they prefer full-service hotels over resorts.
- Tea kettles and coffee pots are more important to Chinese travelers than Wi-Fi and storage.
- Chinese travelers would rather see a buffet-style dining room than sit down for dinner from a celebrity chef.
- Shopping and beach activities are expected to grow the most while theme parks and gambling increase the least.
- Chinese travelers prefer hotels designed with local touches and don’t seek out hotels with a traditional Chinese design.