For Wyndham Hotel Group leaders in the Europe, Asia/Pacific, Middle East/Africa regions who spoke at the recent 2018 Global Brand Conference, attracting the 138 million outbound Chinese tourists was top of mind.
LAS VEGAS—Chinese tourists are embarking in droves to see the world, and hoteliers looking to bring those guests to their hotels will need to focus on five things, according to Wyndham Hotel Group’s brand leader in China.
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“Let’s work together to bring the 138 million outbound travelers from China to your hotel,” Leo Liu, president and managing director of the Greater China region, told his Wyndham partners in the Europe, Asia/Pacific, Middle East/Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean, and North America regions, as well as an audience of hotel franchisees and owners during the opening general session at the recent 2018 Wyndham Global Brand Conference.
Later, during a panel and press briefing at the conference, Liu expanded on the “teamwork” required between hotel, brand and regional leaders.
That cooperation, he said, should extend to five key areas: language, food and beverage, slippers, retail-focused tech and electronic pay.
Barry Robinson, president and managing director for Southeast Asia and the Pacific Rim at Wyndham, said that his hotels in Thailand have seen a great increase in Chinese guests, and to accommodate them, the hotels have hired Chinese-speaking staff at reception.
“Our expectation when we travel to China as an English-speaking person is we want someone at the front desk who can speak English,” and the reverse of that should also be true, Robinson said.
Liu agreed but said “language is only one element” or barrier.
2. Food and beverage
Hotels that offer Chinese options on food counters, for example with complimentary breakfasts, are more likely to draw in Chinese guests, Liu said.
“I’m not talking about Chinese restaurants here and there; I’m just talking about a small Chinese food counter for the breakfast,” he said.
Another amenity appreciated by Chinese guests, but often overlooked by hotels outside of China, is tea service in the rooms, including a kettle with hot water to steep the tea, he said.
A “must” for Chinese and “any Asian people,” Liu said, is slippers, because Asian guests do not want to have to go into their rooms with shoes on.
Liu said hoteliers have to consider: “Do we offer that very simple, small stuff?”
4. Retail-focused tech
The “first thing Chinese (travelers) are looking for” on a trip is shopping.
“It’s not a good restaurant or Michelin stars or whatever; it is outlets,” Liu said. And hotels can help with that experience by offering map apps in Chinese that indicate nearby shops and outlets, he said.
5. Electronic pay
Seventy percent of Chinese travelers are paying electronically through services such as Alipay and WeChat, which means hotels have to offer that option, Liu said.
“Chinese (guests) cannot go without their phone. They can go out without their wallets, but the phone is a must,” he added. “When those Chinese travelers come … with the currency changes, with their languages … if we can install that electronic payment, that is definitely another so-critical element to drive Chinese travelers. Japanese or Asian countries, they are doing that so well.”
If hoteliers offer these things, Liu said, they can capture their share of Chinese guests.
“You can say, ‘Hey, where are my 138 million (Chinese) travelers?’ If you offer that, I guarantee that I’m going to bring them to your hotel. Those are the five or six elements to make it happen,” Liu said.
Editor’s note: Wyndham paid for meals and accommodations at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino, where the conference was held. Hotel News Now retained complete editorial control, and Wyndham had no influence on the coverage provided.