How to adapt to Chinese guests?
Very often, sun & beach tourism and a glass of sangría on a large and sunny terrace by the sea are what people think of when they hear Spain. This is an old myth but most of you know that tourism in Spain includes much more than that. Our country has beautiful cities, mountains, beaches, wine regions and villages where any traveler can relax and unwind… Spain is not exclusively a "sun & beach" destination, and the great diversity our country offers has made tourism businesses to adapt to each type of traveler. Obviously, the tourist who books a wine route in La Rioja is often not the same as the one who books an all-inclusive week of sun and sand. In recent years, the number of Chinese tourists in our country has increased significantly. They come from a country with a radically different culture, habits, language and beliefs. This is why there many studies about the profile of the Chinese traveler that may help the tourism industry to be aware of these differences.
What are Chinese tourists like?
- They seek for sun and beach.
- They spend about € 2,040 per person and stay, on average, according to the research group TUDISTAR UAB.
- It’s easier for them to get travel visas to the United States and Europe.
- They think of Spain as an exotic destination, which is pretty appealing to them.
- They usually travel abroad once a year.
- They use to travel with their family and friends.
- They turn to travel agencies that offer organized programs when travelling abroad.
- They tend to travel in January and February (Chinese New Year) but also in April and May, and during their national holidays in October.
- Most travelers are between 25 and 45 years old. Most of those who travel on their own are younger than 35.
- They don’t like to take connected flights and scales; they prefer direct flights.
- When they come to Spain, they take the opportunity to visit other European destinations. They use to stay in each destination for 2 or 3 days.
- They are very organized and have a tight schedule which allows them to visit as many attractions and landmarks as possible in each place.
- Many Chinese tourists are not fluent in English.
- They seek for the most authentic experiences and something special in each place.
- They love shopping and dining activities.
- To them, travelling is related to a higher social status.
Are Spanish hotels ready to welcome Chinese tourists?We have listed the characteristics of Chinese tourists in the section above but… What can hotels can do so that they enjoy their stay? To answer this question, we are going to focus on the recent alliance between the Silken group and the OTA CTRIP, which belongs to AsialinkSpain. As explained in this article by Tecnohotel (in Spanish), the agreement aims to commercialize, through this OTA, four Silken hotels that already have the Chinese standard of hospitality recognized by CTRIP. The four hotels that adapt their offer to the needs and demands of these guests are:
- Silken Puerta América (Madrid)
- Silken Al-Andalus Palace (Seville)
- Silken Gran Havana (Barcelona)
- Silken Ramblas (Barcelona)
- Slippers. Chinese people take off their shoes when entering the room. Therefore, the hotel can provide them with a pair of slippers so that they can be comfortable inside the room.
- Brush and toothpaste. Chinese tourists never travel with their toothbrush and toothpaste. They expect the hotel to provide these for free.
- Free Wi-Fi. This is not exclusively demanded by Chinese guests. Still, they consider it a basic service, since most of them have grown up having wireless Internet connection widely available, especially when they visit destinations such as Hong Kong or Seoul.
- Tea. Asian people have tea more often than we do. They will appreciate it if they find a kettle, some cups and a small selection of Chinese teas in their room.
- For Chinese society, the most important meal is breakfast. Therefore, the hotel should offer traditional Chinese breakfast options: dim sum, noodles, soy milk, rice porridge, etc.
- It’s a good idea to offer them payment options such as UnionPay and Alipay. Many guests will be grateful to be able to make payments using these methods. UnionPay is the only bankcard in China approved by the State Council and the National Bank of China, so it is used by most Chinese people. On the other hand, Alipay is the Chinese equivalent to our PayPal.
- Internet. If the hotel really aims at being marketed in China and attract Chinese tourists, it is important to have a Chinese version of the hotel’s website. The booking engine must also be available in this language.
- Entertainment. The hotel should hire Chinese TV channels. The hotel can also offer their guests newspapers, city maps, safety instructions or directories in Chinese.
- Staff. It would be great that some members of the hotel’s staff spoke Mandarin Chinese, since not all Chinese are fluent in English.