DESPITE widespread agreement that China is likely to be a positive market over the next three years, hotel investment in Chinese-friendly services and facilities have not kept up with expectations of travellers.
Hotels.com’s Chinese International Travel Monitor that was released today, reported that one in 10 hotels expect to see an increase of more than 50 per cent in the number of Chinese guests, while almost 47 per cent of hotels surveyed anticipate between 11 to 50 per cent growth within the next three years.
Yet, the survey has indicated a “disconnect between the desires of Chinese travellers and provisions made by hoteliers”.
Some 75 per cent of Chinese travellers felt hotels needed to improve the provision of translated items such as websites, newspapers and welcome literature; 42 per cent wanted more Mandarin-speaking hotel staff; and 26 per cent said a key area for improvement was the ability to accept Chinese payment methods.
While 25 per cent of hotels said they offered cultural awareness training for staff, only 10 per cent of hotels have welcome materials in Mandarin, and 56 per cent said they spent less than US$10,000 on developing Chinese-friendly products and programmes.
Said Johan Svanstrom, managing director of Hotels.com Asia-Pacific: “While the (survey) shows hoteliers are making positive steps towards catering to an increasingly mobile and savvy Chinese travel market, it also shows the need for the global hotel industry to adapt facilities and services to more extensively cater to the world’s largest market of travellers.”
“In addition, programmes being implemented by many governments and tourism authorities to attract and facilitate for Chinese travellers are a positive step in the right direction, but the pace of growth in the volume of Chinese travellers appears to be outstripping the pace of change in the hotel industry,” he commented.
The second annual Chinese International Travel Monitor surveyed more than 3,000 Chinese international travellers and more than 1,500 hoteliers around the world.
Chinese expenditure on travel abroad reached US$102 billion in 2012, recording a 40 per cent jump from 2011’s US$73 billion and outstripping Germany and the US to become the world’s largest tourism source market in terms of spending (TTG Asia e-Daily, April 8, 2013), according to United Nations World Tourism Organization data.