Hoteliers and property managers should always be looking for segments of the travel market that are trending upwards. Chinese travelers fit that bill which is why many U.S. hotels are beefing up on their knowledge of China’s culture so that they can improve the experience for these big-spending international travelers.
According to a recent NBC News article, the staff at the New York Marriott Marquis hotel recently got a crash course in how to welcome some of Amway China’s 1,500 guests who won incentive sales trips to New York City in April.
Subtle Changes to Help Promote a Positive Experience
In the case of the Marriott Marquis, in-room carafes were replaced so that guests could make tea each morning. From the days when its only Chinese visitors were high government officials, the Marquis had already assigned names (Royal, Pinnacle, etc.) to presidential suites on the 44th and 45th floors, because the number four is considered unlucky in Chinese culture.
The number eight is considered lucky in Chinese culture, so standing out to a Chinese guest “can be as simple as what the Chicago Marriott Oak Brook did, which was to put eight chocolate coins and candy in a small mesh back with an attached welcome note,” said Seema Jain, director of Multicultural Markets and Alliances for Marriott International.
The Target Market is Big – and Getting Bigger
In 2013, an estimated 1.8 million Chinese tourists visited the United States. For 2014, the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Office of Travel and Tourism Industries expects that number to rise by 21%, to more than 2.1 million, with increases of about 20% per year through 2018.
Los Angeles and New York City received the most Chinese tourists in 2012, according to the Department of Commerce. In the New York region alone, Marriott has seen a 17% growth in 2013 over 2012 for the Chinese market, according to Robert Ambrozny, Marriott international sales director for the New York City region.
To read the full NBC News article, click here.