Exclusive Feature: From Chinese websites to traditional Chinese welcome amenities like hot tea, slippers and special in-room dining menus, hotels around the world are catering to the affluent Chinese travelers.
Now boutique and independent hotels are turning their attention to the lucrative market.
The Charles Hotel, located in Cambridge, Mass., announced the launch of their customized Chinese website (
www.charleshotel.cn ), which was designed specifically to target the growing Chinese tourism market. This is the first independent hotel in the United States to have a localized Chinese website hosted in Hong Kong.
"We know that the Chinese traveler is a discerning guest, one that does a vast majority of their travel planning and booking online," said Alex Attia, General Manager of The Charles Hotel. "We created the site to make the process of International travel as seamless as possible for the Chinese traveler. Additionally, we are offering specialized packages and tours designed specifically to their interests."
The hotel will also launch Chinese-specific packages, as well as customized amenities, to help Chinese travelers feel more at home during their stay. Earlier this year, Hilton and Starwood hotels launched individual hotel programs aimed at Chinese travelers, which included everything from Chinese service tea upon arrival to Chinese TV stations in guest rooms.
Hilton Hotels & Resorts' Hilton Huanying (taken from the Chinese word for "welcome") features a dedicated front desk member who is fluent in Chinese. The program also offers a selection of Chinese teas, slippers, a welcome letter written in Chinese, and a variety of traditional Asian foods and dim sum. The Starwood program, called Starwood Personalized Travel, gives Chinese guests a packet of local area information upon arrival with all the shopping, sightseeing, tourist attractions and restaurants translated into Chinese.
The launch of The Charles Hotel's new website is just another way to capture the growing Chinese tourism market, which saw nearly 60 million tourists travel abroad in 2011. And the numbers will continue to climb in 2013. Earlier this year, residents working or studying in Beijing, Tianjin, Shanghai, Chongqing, Guangzhou and Shenzhen will no longer need to be registered to a household to be eligible for a passport/travel pass, making it easier for them to enter the U.S.
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Melanie Nayer is a hotel reviewer and expert on luxury travel around the world. She has covered all aspects of hotels including corporate restructures, re-branding initiatives, historical aspects and the best of the best in luxury hotels around the world.
Melanie writes a weekly exclusive column for 4Hoteliers.com