China and India have the largest populations of any countries, with the number of potential consumers growing daily. Hotels and travel groups around the globe now cater to a new audience: Asian tourists. For our 10 days of trends series, Lulu Raghavan, Landor’s managing director of Mumbai, discusses why major hotel chains will have to work harder to accommodate Chinese guests in 2016.
China’s rising middle class is strongly influencing the hospitality industry worldwide as more Chinese tourists travel outside their own country. Western hotels often do not provide the amenities and food options these tourists prefer, so new programs are being created specifically for them.
Hilton Worldwide established its “Huanying” (meaning “welcome”) service a few years ago, providing everything from welcome notes written in simplified Chinese to Mandarin TV channels and supplies of jasmine tea. This year, Hilton rolled the program out to 110 more properties in 30 countries. The dramatic expansion is notable, pointing to the expected uptick in Chinese tourism in 2016.
IHG recently launched a Chinese travel enhancement program called “Zhou Dao” (meaning the “IHG way”) in which over 10,000 staff were trained on Chinese etiquette, culture, and hospitality. By the end of 2015, IHG expects Zhou Dao to be implemented in 250 of its hotels around the world. IHG has also announced the launch of Hualuxe, its new luxury hotel collection specifically for Chinese travelers, which will have locations both in and out of China.
As hospitality begins focusing on Chinese, and eventually Indian, travelers, branding will have to change as well. Hotels will need a new tone and style of branding that is culturally attuned to Chinese and Indian society. In 2016 expect more focus on Chinese tourists and on messaging specifically tailored to this group.
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