Brand matters to Chinese luxury travellers

CHINESE luxury travellers have become more discerning of hotel brands in recent years, and their growing appetite for fresh experiences has proven a challenge for travel agents.

Sun Bo, president of Beijing-based luxury travel agency Sun Pala, said: “Chinese luxury travellers did not care much about hotel brands in the past, and tended to leave it to their travel agents to choose their accommodation.”

“In the past three years, however, these travellers have become more aware. They now want their travel agents to tell them which are the recommended big brands, and will then make the choice themselves.”

Sun added that high-end Chinese travellers were not just drawn to the large branded hotel chains, but also to small, luxurious standalone properties.

Kitch Yang, CEO of Beijing-based Hua Yang International Business Travel, said: “The rich don’t want to do the same thing twice. Even if they absolutely love the hotel, destination, attraction or restaurant, they will not return—at least not in the near future.”

Federico Asaro, group CEO of Samadhi Retreats, which has resorts in Malaysia and is developing one in Singapore, agreed with Yang, candidly saying that Chinese luxury travellers would “use us and trash us”.

Yang added: “The good thing is, China has a huge population of rich people, and satisfied travellers will spread the word among their friends. Therefore, the challenge for us is to be up-to-date with travel products, and to provide new programmes all the time.”

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