While there is often a great deal of talk in the media (including this website and Lodging magazine) about hotel development in China, there hasn’t been quite the same amount of coverage about outbound travelers from the country. That’s now changing, as evidenced by two announcements today from hotel giants Starwood Hotels & Resorts and Hilton Hotel & Resorts.
China is certainly a market full of new travelers within its own borders. And, as the country continues to rise in economic status it continues to increase as a destination for corporate and leisure travelers. But with the largest population in the world, Chinese travelers around the world are also increasingly rapidly. By some accounts, it is expected that there will be 100 million outbound Chinese travelers by 2015. With that kind of potential looming, hotels are rapidly preparing for that influx of business in several markets around the world, including the United States.
Starwood announced this morning that is “putting out the welcome mat” for Chinese travelers, debuting a program to serve the unique preferences of these travelers. The program will debut in 19 gateway cities around the world.
Hilton Hotels & Resorts announced this morning a global launch of Hilton Huanying, a tailored experience for Chinese travelers. The program extends authentic experiences with amenities, service standards, and dedicated team member training. Thirty-six hotels are already enrolled in the program, which debuts August 16 in San Francisco. The properties encompass many destinations popular among Chinese visitors including San Francisco, New York City, Hawaii and Vancouver in North America along with London, Tokyo, and Sydney.
There is no better time than now for hotels to ramp up their multicultural marketing. China is just one of a handful of emerging countries that promises to put a great number of new travelers on the world stage. That’s why the industry has been actively supportive of the Corporation for Travel Promotion and the expanding of the Visa Waiver Program. International travelers to the United States, and around the world, represent a major growth market for hotels.
And, today’s announcements by Starwood and Hilton show just how important multicultural marketing is in this day and age.
Hoteliers: Are you instituting any new programs to better reach international travelers?