Trends reshaping China’s hospitality industry
Source: Asian Hotel & Catering Times / Simon Chivers / 12 June 2017

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-Opinion-

How the Growing Chinese Middle Class Boosts International and Domestic Hospitality Industry

It’s no secret that the middle class holds a good portion of economic power in any major developed country, and the middle class of China is no different. In fact, recent trends in Chinese tourism are reshaping the very nature of the Chinese hospitality industry as more and more people flock to China’s tourist sites.

In an article from ACHT, Simon Chivers wrote that “China’s domestic growth has seen considerable growth over the past decade.” He goes on to say that “China registered 4.44 billion domestic travels in 2016, generating RMB3.9 trillion in domestic tourism revenue…” These numbers speak for themselves, as the majority of travelers in and around China belong to either the middle class or upper middle class socioeconomic spheres.

Weekend getaways and brief “staycations” have become more popular than ever as more and more middle class workers gain a disposable income. To facilitate the new demand for travel, the road and railway systems all across China have seen a huge increase in development, and the money keeps flowing. The tourism industry in China has never been healthier, in fact.

This is made especially apparent as China’s tourists seek new and more varied traveling experiences over flashy resorts and luxury big brand hotel stays. The fact that the middle class may not necessarily be able to afford the priciest of China’s resorts plays a big factor into this. They seek the more affordable lodgings in new and exciting locales, not the same old tourist cities.

With such a move away from big name hotel brands, China has seen a huge increase in experiential travelling and hotels. Hotels like these focus more on the individual experience of their guests than big name brands do, offering an experience that is designed to be memorable. Pulling this off isn’t easy, as hotel owners need a great location, stylish design, and gourmet cuisine to bring in the middle class tourists.

Similarly, there has also been a huge rise in themed hotels, offering more of a specialized experience for their guests than normal hotels can offer.

As each of these changes have been driven by the rise of the Chinese middle class, we can expect the domestic and international hospitality industry to continue to adapt and grow along with it. With the continued growth of middle class tourism and their increased spending power, more and more of these experiential hotels will be seen cropping up in less obvious locations.

The middle class in China want affordability along with their weekend getaways, so it may be out with the old and in with the new. With less and less tourists spending their money on luxury brand hotels, changes will have to be made in the hospitality industry to adapt.

And with the rapid growth of roads and rail systems to remote places all across China, this trend will only continue to increase over the next few years. Tourism is surely changing fast in China and will continue to do so for now.