News for the Hospitality Executive
Chinese Tourism: A Potential Bounty for U.S. Hotels
tourism is blossoming in the U.S., growing by more than 50% in just the
What can hoteliers and hospitality professionals do to reap the rewards from this demand?
By Li Chen
Many in the tourism industry recall the inrush of Japanese tourists to the U.S. in the 1990s, a trend that prompted travel, tourism, and lodging entities to market their services in new ways. For example, airlines began to post signs in Japanese, tourism venues printed Japanese-language brochures, and hotels and restaurants introduced elements of Japanese cuisine to cater to the culture and tastes of these new guests. Now the U.S. hospitality industry is seeing a similar tourism trend out of China, and hotels in major destination markets need to take note. The following article features some highlights of the booming trend in Chinese tourism and how hoteliers can position their properties to capitalize.
Chinese Tourism to the U.S. and the Dominant Growth Trend in California
According to the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Office of
Travel and Tourism Industries, 802,000 mainland Chinese residents
visited the U.S. in 2010, a 53% increase over levels in 2009. These
visitors collectively spent more than $5 billion (an average of $6,241
per person), a 39% increase over the previous year1.
top ten U.S. travel destinations, three are in the state of California.
Top Ten U.S. Destinations for Chinese Tourists2
According to the California Travel and Tourism Commission, the number of Chinese visitors to California grew by 49% to 399,000 in 2010, spending a total of $648 million during their travels through the Golden State. After the United Kingdom, Australia, and Japan, China has become the fourth-largest source of foreign tourism in California, with many signs pointing to continued growth in the future.
How Hotels Can Position Themselves to Benefit
The huge increase of Chinese tourists has already caught the attention of some innovative hoteliers and hotel brands. U.S. hotel chains such as Starwood Hotels & Resorts, Hilton, and Marriott have announced programs designed for Chinese tourists. These include adding popular Chinese dishes to full-service restaurant menus (including a traditional Chinese breakfast), featuring one or more Chinese television stations in the guestrooms, and introducing guestroom amenities such as slippers, tea kettles, and a selection of Chinese teas. Some hotels have also brought on a front desk concierge who speaks fluent Mandarin.
These efforts are a good start and show how seriously some of
the top hotel brands are taking the promise of growing demand from
China. Here are some more ways in which hotels can make a powerful
impression and attract Chinese tourists:
Chinese tourism to the U.S. in 2012 and 2013 is forecast to
rise by 21% and 19%, respectively3.
Those are big numbers, and hotels in
major markets across the nation stand to benefit. The ability to market
a hotel as a source of comfort and convenience to Chinese guests puts
the property at a competitive advantage. If you operate or have an
investment in a hotel near any of the top ten destinations listed
above—or, indeed, beyond, as Chinese familiarity with the U.S. is
expanding and with it the desire to see more of the country—this
guidance can pay dividends.
About Li Chen
Li Chen is a Vice President with the HVS Dallas office. Li earned her Master's degree from Michigan State University's Eli Broad College of Business and has extensive hotel experience, including front office and accounting department experience at the Renaissance LAX. Li travels and works extensively in the southwestern U.S. for the D/FW team. Contact Li at (310) 755-8293 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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