Marriott International is anticipating leisure domestic travel to remain popular over the next six to 12 months as domestic travellers continue seeking new experiences.
The company’s president for Greater China, Yibing Mao, told TTG Asia that its RevPAR in Greater China has recovered 95 per cent of pre‐pandemic levels, with mainland China fully recovered in 1Q2023.
She said: “China’s travel trends have shifted from being destination-focused to being more experience-oriented and interest-driven. Guests are seeking out more personalised experiences and wanting to connect with the community while travelling.”
She noted that there is growing interest in purposeful travel among the new generation of travellers that “appreciate brands that support cultural understanding and sustainability”, as well as a strong growth in demand for outdoor activities, such as camping, hiking, and water sports.
To meet these demands, the Good Travel with Marriott Bonvoy programme (available at 38 hotels in Greater China) helps keep these purpose-driven travellers engaged with curated experiences.
She added: “We are also seeing a boom in cultural tourism, where travellers look for experiences beyond typical sightseeing and landmark tours. Our 24 brands in Greater China provide personalised experiences that bring together local tourism resources, food and culture.”
These include learning the art of making ancient Chinese incense at Wutai Mountain Marriott Hotel, immersing in the history of Chinese art at The Westin Xi’an’s onsite Xi’an Qujiang Museum of Fine Arts, among others.
Mao shared that their Brand + Destination development strategy taps into evolving travel trends across different brand segments. Building off this strategy, Marriott works with owners and franchisees to drive demand and provide more diversity in its travel offerings and experiences.
With rising demand for cultural tourism in historic cities, Marriott expects to strengthen its presence in leisure destinations with first-time entries and brand debuts in new markets across its labels in the next few years.
The company has planned openings of luxury properties in the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Jiuzhaigou, Macau, and the Xi’an Economic and Technological Development Zone.
Its multi-branded complex strategy also meets demand for more flexible accommodation such as the recent openings of Guangzhou Marriott Hotel Baiyun, Four Points by Sheraton Guangzhou, Baiyun, and Element Guangzhou Baiyun.
Marriott is also tapping into unique hotel stay experiences for millennial and Gen Z travellers like the new Moxy and AC Hotels in Ningbo, Qiandao Lake, Hangzhou and Wuhan.
In 2023, Westin Hotels and Resorts is expected to debut in Yantai, the core city of the Bohai Economic Rim. Also opening this year are Foshan Marriott Hotel, Guangzhou Marriott Hotel Baiyun and Zhuhai Marriott Hotel Jinwan – complementing the company’s existing presence in The Greater Bay Area.
Other key openings include W Macau – Studio City, which will offer its signature onsite recording studio, and the debut of Ritz-Carlton Reserve in China with Rissai Valley, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve in Jiuzhaigou.