China’s millennials are emerging as an attractive new market for the hospitality industry; they may be better off than their western counterparts, but they are more similar to other millennials than their parents.
“A lot of Chinese millennials have more or less the same expectations as their western counterparts,” Françoise Houdebine, vice president marketing & sales of Louvre Hotels Group said at Berlin’s ITB Convention. “As far as the hotel industry is concerned, we have to reinvent our industry. It is not a place to go to sleep or eat it is a place where our clients are coming to live something special.”
When Houdebine’s company launched two of their western brands geared towards millennials in China she saw that the clients are responded to them in exactly the same way.
“Millennials are blurring the lines between pleasure and business. We need to offer a playful outlook on pleasure and tourism,” she said.
Still, Jenna Qian, CEO of destination marketing at Ctrip.com International Ltd., says that China’s millennials have their peculiarities.
“They demand instant satisfaction and immediate consumption,” Qian said. “Generation post-90s is the goldfish generation, they only have seven-second attention spans. It is important to know where to reach them on the traditional and new channels.”
One of the most tempting parts of this new market is that they are more financially secure than their parent’s generation and less price conscious than western millennials.
“If you can offer them higher quality products they are not price sensitive,” Qian said. “Younger consumers are sophisticated in the way they are aware of social and environmental issues. They demand smooth and satisfying travel experiences.”
While business class flight from China to the United States or Europe was once filled with older people, now roughly half of the seats are filled by millennials looking to find a unique experience.
“They are not homogenous. They are individual and special and driven by interests,” Qian added.
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