Monday, 2 June 2014
#Asianguestguide 2 - How to deal with Chinese guests - China's booming tourism industry
Chinese tourism industry
We all can't deny the fast growing industries in China and some even call it the country of prosperity and welfare. Welfare equals money, and if there is money, the hard-working Chinese can go on a holiday. The domestic tourism of China has continuously increased with 10% each year over the last decade and increases every year.
If those facts of China's domestic tourism already leaves your mouth open, you will be surprised by hearing nearly one in ten international tourists worldwide is Chinese, which around half are leisure guests. And on top of that they spend the most in total (129 $ billion, followed by the Americans 86$ billion in 2013)!!
As I live in Europe myself, I can say that the Chinese love Europe! And here in the Netherlands they are trying to profit from the boom of Chinese tourists with new measures. From Amsterdam Schiphol Airport there are direct flights to seven Chinese cities, they hand out presents during Chinese New Year and even all luxury shops accept Chinese currency. By 2020 it is estimated that 200 million (!) Chinese will go overseas, double the number that did so last year. So the Chinese tourists DO matter.
So after reading this you will understand that if you work in the hospitality industry, you are very likely to get in contact with Chinese travelers. Whether they are on a business or leisure trip, you are the one that can make their stay in your country memorable.
But how can you satisfy a Chinese guest? The golden rule is actually very simple; if you can, give them what they want. it sounds really cheesy but it's true. Even the major companies do it! If you think I'm kidding I will share a true situation which recognized the guest's need and then used this golden rule;
Emirates Airlines, the fourth-largest airline in the world, has won over the retail-crazy Chinese by simply boosting their baggage allowance.They recognized when Chinese travelers go abroad, they come home with more then when they left. So just by making a small change they won tremendous market share of the Chinese consumer.
So how can we apply this in our situation? Imagine this; you work at the front-desk and just checked in a Chinese guest (without talking too much, because he does not speak your language), the guest comes back and is obviously upset. So what now? The first rule of trying to solve an issue, is acknowledging the issue itself. When you help a guest and cannot speak their language, it's obvious that the guest has many questions because of the lack of information. To prevent this you can have a translator make simple information sheets in the language of the guest. So if you work in a hotel and have many Chinese guests while nobody speaks Chinese, a simple sheet with breakfast times, opening hours, rules and other crucial information can make the guest feel at ease. And not to mention yourself too, I know it can be quite frustrating to send a guest off without really helping them out. At least now you have some information ready and you can point things out more easily.
After the golden rule
So after you tried to help them by using the golden rule, also make note of these pointers given by the China Outbound Tourism Research Institute.
Family name comes first, normally only one syllable (Xi Jinping)
Status comes before gender. No 'ladies first' in China.
66% of Chinese search the web before making a travel decision.
It is appreciated a lot when a non-Chinese person tries to speak Chinese.
Numbers 4 and 44 are pronounced the same way as the word for 'death' and are therefore unlucky. They should be avoided. The number 8 has a positive connotation.
In the end it is all about trying to help your customers and respecting their culture and heritage. If you encounter many Chinese in your job, try to learn more about their culture and learn some easy phrases to connect better with them and make them feel at ease. It will cost you some time after work, but can make a huge difference in the next encounter!
I hope you enjoyed this post full of facts and pointers, next part is coming up soon. Please let me know if you would like me to cover a certain subject!