Chinese travellers are set to become the single largest consumer of hotel accommodation across the world. This possibly unsurprising fact comes to light as the Intercontinental Hotel Group announces its intention to develop a ‘Chinese’ hotel brand, with hotels in China and around the globe.
The Chinese place great importance on the value of brands – according to research some 49% of Chinese think that brand names equate to superior quality product or service, compared with 9% in the UK and 16% in the States. So it’s no surprise, therefore, that ‘the worlds most global hotel company’ is set to capitalise on this emerging situation.
So expect to see a ‘Chinese’ brand, with contemporary Asian inspired interiors and Chinese inspired food on the menu. I suppose it’s the equivalent of the Brits abroad, seeking out Holiday Inns and fried breakfasts. Something tells me the Chinese equivalent will be altogether more sophisticated.
In much the same way that the Shangri-La Hotels provide Asian inspired interiors and service, the Intercontinental approach should provide an experience that is distinctly Chinese. However this pans out, I think the rest of the industry should see this as a wake up call to an important new market segment.