The Chinese are coming
The UAE’s luxury hotel market has enjoyed strong growth over the past few years and the demand for luxury tourism is steadily increasing. And what is one of the biggest drivers of this growth? Well it’s really a question of what, it’s a question of who; the Chinese.
Every year, the UAE attracts more than 15 million tourists spending almost $20billion (almost AED 75bn). This year, around 154 million of those travelers are expected to be Chinese tourists and in 2022 that number is predicted to rise to 244 million. GCC countries combined are currently believed to attract almost two per cent of China's total outbound tourism market, and are expected to host a total of 2.5 million visitors per year by 2021.
With the surge in inbound tourism from China, luxury hotel brands in particular, have had to evolve and adapt to consumer shifts and competitive pressures. The affluent Chinese consumer segment is becoming increasingly diverse and their expectations set the bar for luxury hotels ever higher.
While some guests continue to place value on tradition, old world sophistication and long-established conventions when selecting a luxury hotel, other well-heeled visitors demand innovation, personalisation and flexibility.
And with information being so readily available, especially through social media sites such as WeChat and Weibo, luxury travellers are more knowledgeable than ever before. China has a population of 1.3 billion people and more than half of them are active on social media. Social media in China, perhaps even more so than in the west, is increasingly driving traffic and influencing purchasing decisions.
From hotel facilities, to room design, to staffing decisions, to personalized services, for a hotel to attract affluent Chinese travellers, it must constantly evolve. That means treading a narrow path between tradition and innovation, while still honouring brand values.