Marriott International's taking advantage of the growing number of Chinese travelers. The hotel giant has announced plans for a new welcome program for its Chinese guests. Li Yu (which means "Serve with Courtesy" in Mandarin) features a suite of customized amenities and services tailor-made for Chinese outbound travelers. The program will begin in Asia, and grow to key gateway cities around the world.
Mainland Chinese tourists made 70 million trips to overseas destinations in 2011, and they are expected to make 78 million outbound trips in 2012 and spend US$80 billion overseas, according to the Annual Report of China Outbound Tourism Development released by the National Tourism Administration and ChinaTourismAcademy. Last year saw almost 1 million Chinese visitors travel to the U.S. alone and with wait times for visas reduced from 48 to just eight days, those numbers look set to increase dramatically.
The Li Yu hospitality experience includes the following perks.
- Guests will receive their hotel reservation confirmation letter or email in Chinese.
- They will be greeted at the front desk by a Mandarin-speaking hotel associate.
- They will find Chinese cuisine and delicacies as standard items in restaurants as well as on in-room dining menus.
- They will find a variety of Chinese programs on in-room TVs.
- They will have a choice of Chinese-language newspapers.
- Chinese tea will be provided as one of the complimentary beverage selections, and kettles will be available in guest rooms.
Some of the touches are nuances that are subtle but thoughtful, such as assigning rooms and floor numbers with 6 or 8 (as these are considered as auspicious), ensuring adaptors are suitable for Chinese electrical gadgets, providing Asian-size bathrobes and slippers in guest rooms and including popular Asian sauces in condiment offerings at three-meal restaurants and in-room dining.