Expanding wealth in China has resulted in a booming number of tourists venturing out around the world. Australia pulls in more than 1 million visitors annually, a number that will continue to grow, based on projections of China’s increasing prosperity.
At 50 hotels in Australia and New Zealand, AccorHotels has embedded so called Chinese Optimum Services Standards (also known as Hao Ke Ya) to cater for the growing inbound market from China. Staff routinely receive cultural training to better understand Chinese travellers’ service expectations, preferences and sensitivities.
“This program gives our hotels an added advantage in catering for the market,” says Accor group’s chief operating officer (Pacific), Simon McGrath. “We are dedicated to proving the best possible service, which includes Chinese menu and mini bar items, translated welcome kits, Chinese TV channels and newspapers, Mandarin-speaking staff and [Chinese credit card] UnionPay.”
For hotel groups such as Accor, a strategic alliance with Huazhu Hotels Group has accelerated the development of the Grand Mercure, Novotel, Mercure, ibis and ibis Styles brands in China, Taiwan and Mongolia, which translates to more Chinese visitors using their hotels.
With Tourism Australia forecasting that Chinese annual spend on domestic travel, hotels and retail will hit $13 billion by 2020, Beardsell anticipates that the real impact on Australia’s hotels market is yet to be felt.
While he acknowledges the critical importance of having culturally-aware staff and offering the obvious things – menus, in-room guides, signage, etc – that are digestible and inviting to Chinese visitors, he highlights the need to balance making tourists feel at ease with providing a genuine Australian experience.
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