Free Wi-fi, Chinese breakfasts, and kettles in their rooms: the simple pleasures of the Chinese traveller

Throw in mandarin-speaking staff and translated travel guides and everyone’s happy, new study shows

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 19 July, 2017, 8:02am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 19 July, 2017, 8:09am

Free-spending Chinese travellers are becoming increasingly sophisticated, demanding more sightseeing and dining experiences, rather than just visits to fancy shopping malls, a survey by booking website Hotels.com has found.

But what they want the most from hotels are still traditional facilities, such as kettles and free access to the internet.

Hotels.com’s Chinese International Travel Monitor (CITM) was conducted in May, and polled 3,000 Chinese tourists aged 18 to 54, along with 3,800 hotels worldwide, to gauge tourists’ travel behaviour, booking methods, accommodation choices, and other aspects

The top three requests were being offered Chinese breakfast, having kettles in their rooms, and quick, free internet access. In-house mandarin speaking staff and translated travel guides were also high on their request lists.

“We found a big discrepancy between travellers’ expectations and what hoteliers thought they should be investing in,” said Nelson Allen, senior director of marketing at Hotels.com for APAC region.

The poll also showed venues should provide more Chinese payment methods, whereas hotels seemed to be putting major resources into developing their own Chinese social media accounts.

In 2015, only four per cent of hotels polled said they were willing to invest more than 68,848 yuan (US$10,000) on providing customised services for Chinese guests, compared with 12 per cent of hotels willing to do so last year.

Now considered the world’s biggest-spending travellers by the United Nations World Tourism Organisation, Chinese were found to spend more on dining and sightseeing rather than shopping, the survey found.

The study also concluded the country’s own economic slowdown, and its tightening reins on capital outflows, have had little effect on spending by Chinese travellers – in fact, many said they planned to increase their spending by an average 10 per cent over the next year.

Millennials – typically born in the early 1980s to mid-1990s to early 2000s – polled said they wanted to spend as much as 63 per cent or more on outbound travel, the survey showed.

Mainland tourists could make 200 million outbound trips by 2020, according to investment firm CLSA, while JP Morgan expects growth of between 10 and 12 per cent in the coming two years.

Outbound trips increased 4.3 per cent to 122 million in 2016, data from the China National Tourism Administration shows.

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