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Cornell CHR Study Details Preferences of Outbound Travelers from Mainland China

Depicts Focused Travelers Who Seek to Experience other Cultures
and Prefer Full-Service Hotels in Urban Settings

Ithaca, NY, March 20, 2013 - A new study from the Cornell Center for Hospitality Research (CHR) at the School of Hotel Administration examines the preferences of outbound travelers from Mainland China. As China's prosperity has increased, its citizens have become more interested in experiencing other cultures around the globe. As with travelers from any other nation, Chinese travelers seek high quality facilities and good service. Service excellence and customer satisfaction are the focus of the newest proceedings from the Cornell Hospitality Research Summit, which brought together service experts from industry and the universities. The new reports are available at no charge from the CHR.

Cornell Study Details Preferences of International Chinese Travelers

The international hotel industry has taken note of a large and rapidly growing market—Chinese travelers, who now number more than 70 million. In a study of Chinese tour operators, a new report from the Cornell Center for Hospitality Research (CHR) explores the wants and needs of this important market. Available at no charge from the Cornell CHR, the study depicts a focused group of travelers who seek to experience all aspects of the world's cultures on trips that make the best possible use of the time available.

The report, "Preferences and Attitudes of Chinese Outbound Travelers: The Hotel Industry Welcomes a Growing Market Segment," was written by Peng (Peter) Liu, Qingqing Lin, Lingqiang Zhou, and Raj Chandnani. Liu is an assistant professor at the Cornell School of Hotel Administration, Lin was a student at Zhejiang University, where Zhou is a professor, and Chandnani is a vice president for the design firm WATG.

"Chinese travelers want to experience the full culture of many locations," said Liu. "They are particularly interested in trips to Europe and North America. For the near future, China's travelers will continue to purchase package tours, but we will soon see independent Chinese travelers. In our report, we describe their travel preferences, and we note that hotels are beginning to provide the amenities that they seek."

As detailed in the study, China's travelers prefer full-service hotels with such time-saving amenities as a pot to make hot water for tea and a buffet breakfast. They prefer to stay in urban properties that allow them access to shopping, because purchasing gifts is an important aspect of their trip. Although they appreciate hotels' efforts to make them feel at home, Chinese travelers are firmly in favor of experiencing as much as possible of their destination, including sampling the cuisine and participating in local activities.

Cornell Hospitality Research Summit Presenters Outline the Path to Guest Satisfaction

A series of presentations at the Cornell Hospitality Research Summit drilled into the best methods of ensuring customer satisfaction and developing service excellence, with the goal of improving revenues and promoting customer loyalty. The new proceedings, "Cornell Hospitality Research Summit 2012: Building Service Excellence for Customer Satisfaction," by Glenn Withiam, is available at no charge from the Cornell Center for Hospitality Research, which produced the Summit.

While most hoteliers inherently understand the connection between service excellence and customer satisfaction, a study by PKF Hospitality Research demonstrated how tightly the two are related. Beyond that, guest satisfaction depends on a well-kept property. Inadequate capital expenditures (capex) in recent years have caused satisfaction issues for some hotels, while others have benefited by maintaining capex. Employees' attitudes are essential to guest satisfaction, and the pacing, continuity, and order of service procedures are also important. Service is far more important in determining the guest-purchase decision than even price and location. Well-designed marketing research provides the keys to providing guest value and earning their loyalty.

A series of presentations on revenue management revealed that hotels have not gone as far as they might with integrating revenue management systems to make pricing decisions. Advanced revenue management information is available through internet analytics, in addition to traditional methods. Two chains that have developed new revenue management decision systems are Hilton Worldwide and InterContinental Hotels Group. Both are using a data driven approach to achieve price optimization. Data for pricing decisions includes calculating the difference between revenue forecasts and actual revenue, and one analysis is to determine the reasons for any discrepancies. Hotels should not ignore the strategic use of distribution channels, including GDS-based approaches.

About The Center for Hospitality Research

A unit of the Cornell School of Hotel Administration, The Center for Hospitality Research (CHR) sponsors research designed to improve practices in the hospitality industry. Under the lead of the center's 73 corporate affiliates, experienced scholars work closely with business executives to discover new insights into strategic, managerial and operating practices. The center also publishes the award-winning hospitality journal, the Cornell Hospitality Quarterly. To learn more about the center and its projects, visit


Jane Henion

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