Hotels, restaurants and other business tap into wave of Chinese travelers

1 Los Angeles

Los Angeles News & Search

1 News - 1 eMovies - 1 eMusic - 1 eBooks - 1 Search

With Chinese travelers converging on California in droves, the influx could offer revenue-generating opportunities for hotels, restaurants and other businesses that pay heed to their visitors’ language and cultural differences.

That message was conveyed Tuesday at a “Global Ready China” seminar that was held at the InterContinental Los Angeles Century City hotel. Hosted by Visit California and Discover Los Angeles, the event drew business leaders, hotel representatives and others from throughout Southern California.

Chinese tourism means big bucks

Los Angeles welcomed a record 1 million Chinese visitors in 2016, a first for any U.S. city, and that number is expected to grow by double-digit percentages over the next several years. More than 2 million Chinese visitors are expected in 2020.

“Chinese visitors spend $2.9 billion in California every year, supporting jobs and generating tax revenue for communities across the Los Angeles region,” Visit California President and CEO Caroline Beteta said. “Our state is becoming global ready to ensure we are delivering an unmatched experience.”

Chinese travelers are the Golden State’s highest-spending international market. Since 2008, Visit California has doubled its marketing investments in China from half a million dollars to nearly $10 million this year. The organization has four offices in mainland China — in Shanghai, Beijing, Guangzhou and Chengdu.

Tips for luring and retaining Chinese travelers

Jason Pacheco, president of the BRIC Marketing Group, has worked to set up Visit California’s offices around the world. Pacheco said there are lots of things hotels and other businesses can do to create a more welcoming experience for Chinese travelers.

“How do we make them stay longer? We give them service,” he said. “Having slippers in the room is one thing. But if you want a luxury client, put the slippers on the floor so when they get to the room they are there ready and waiting for them. We also talk having about tea kettles in the room — not coffee makers. You just want a water boiler. And have the tea available because Chinese travelers definitely like their tea. It’s those simple things that mean a lot.”

Hotels can make their accommodations “hotel ready” by having a welcoming letter for Chinese travelers that explains the services that are available to them. Experts at the seminar also advised hotel operators to provide at least one Mandarin-speaking employee and provide a listing of nearby Chinese restaurants with directions to each one.


“If you have a restaurant take your signature dishes and just explain those in Chinese so travelers will say, ‘Wow, they’ve gone the extra mile for me,’” Pacheco said. “Let me put it this way: When you go into a place that’s foreign and you can’t read the language but you walk by a store and see a little sign that says Visa or MasterCard accepted, most likely you’re going to walk into that shop. Display those so people will walk into your shop — simple details.”

Dream Hollywood hotel to open soon

Yasmin Liang, front office director for Dream Hotels, attended Tuesday’s “Global Ready China” seminar. The company operates boutique hotels in such locations as New York, Miami and Bankok and it’s gearing up to open a 178-room Dream Hollywood hotel soon.

“I’ve done quite a bit of China-ready stuff already,” Liang said. “For the most part we’re a lifestyle/boutique hotel so we cater to lifestyle travelers who are looking for the full experience. We have seven food and beverage menus.”

Liang said Dream Hollywood is anticipating a robust wave of Chinese visitors.

“A lot of our investors are from China, so that’s kind of a big focus for us to make sure that we’re catering to those clients,” she said. “We have things like tea kettles and slippers and we try to serve things on our menu that will cater to them like the hot breakfast items, so we’re getting there.”

Poppy reserve a big draw for Chinese visitors

Bobbi Keay, a marketing consultant for Destination Lancaster, said Tuesday’s presentation was valuable.

“It really opened my eyes,” she said. “It’s especially interesting to learn about their culture and how to make sure we market to them specifically. The suggestions were really helpful about what not to do, what to do and how to package trips and things like that which appeal to them.”

Keay said the Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve is especially popular among Chinese tourists.

“They come because they like the nature,” she said. “It’s just fields and fields of poppies.”

1 Los Angeles

Los Angeles News & Search

1 News - 1 eMovies - 1 eMusic - 1 eBooks - 1 Search

Leave a Reply