Sunday, 16 July 2017

Southeast Asia Shockingly Surpassed The Americas As The Chinese Luxury Traveller’s Choice

The Ritz-Carlton was the most popular hotel group in 2016, followed by the Banyan Tree, the Four Seasons, Mandarin Oriental, Fairmont and the Peninsula.

The popularity of membership schemes are a good indicator of luxury travelers’ overall levels of satisfaction with luxury hotels. Compared with 2015, the Ritz-Carlton membership scheme's popularity rose by 19%, taking the crown from the Hilton as the scheme of choice. Marriott fell to sixth. Younger travelers' preferences remain largely unchanged.

The popularity of the Ritz-Carlton's membership scheme is no surprise given its outstanding reputation among luxury travelers for high-quality service and luxurious standards.

The data according to the results of the 2017 Chinese Luxury Traveller report, issued jointly by Hurun Report and ILTM, focusing on the behavior and demands of China's high-end tourists, to understand and interpret the direction in which the industry is heading.

Holiday hotels are by far the most popular kind of hotel among respondents, gaining 81% of the vote.

Business hotels (18%), B&Bs (9%) and apartments (6%) received significantly lower preference rates.

The relaxing atmosphere, luxurious decor and the variety of high-end services provided by holiday hotels all work in their favor among respondents.

Hotel Service Most Important Consideration, Followed by Room with A View

Along with their growing enthusiasm for personalized travel services, China's high-end tourists are also attaching increasing value to quality of travel services.

Provision of personalized service is the most important factor when choosing a hotel for 49%. The following factors all prioritize hotel facilities and location; good views (48%), room cleanliness (44%), comfortable bedding (34%), good location (44%) and hotel style (36%) all constitute significant deciding factors.

Recomendations from previous guests through word of mouth (17%), value for money (15%) and membership benefits (10%) are of secondary importance to most luxury travelers.

Luxury travelers favor hotels with good locations that can provide them with personalized services, in combination with high-quality, comfortable rooms with good views.

Respondents no longer swarm hotels with leading reputations or simply convinced by discounts, as their tastes become more discerning.

Good service and spectacular views trump reputation and interior design.

Luxury Travelers In terms of accommodation budgets, the average nightly spend is nearly 3,800 yuan, with 28% spending 3,001-5,000 yuan, followed by 1,001-2,000 yuan with 26%.

Hurun Report and International Luxury Travel Market Asia (ILTM Asia) released The Chinese Luxury Traveller 2017: 60% of outbound luxury travellers willing to spend more than 3,000 yuan for a room night and travel business class or first class, adventure travel is the theme of choice for the three years, beach holidays on the rise, becoming a travel theme last year and luxury travel agencies flourish.

Customized travel services have begun to spread, with more than half of high-end travellers said they have experienced it.

A. Travellers prefer adventure tourism, it will be the luxury travel trend in the next three years.

Around World Travel, polar exploration, and outdoor adventures are themes for the Chinese luxury traveller in the next three years. Compared to the dominance of travelling for leisure in the past few years, this year, there is a marked increase in the Chinese luxury travelling for adventure. It should be noted that the Post-80s generation has displayed an increased interest in Africa and the Polar Regions, with numbers rising from 23% and 17% last year to 36% and 32% respectively this year.

B. Seasons significantly influence traveller’s choice of destination.

The time of year has a large bearing on the choice of location. In summer and autumn, the Post-80s luxury travellers possess a marked preference for island-hopping, with Phuket (27%), Maldives (18%) and Fiji (16%) and China's Sanya (16%) are the most popular choices. In winter and spring, Australia (16%) and Phuket (18%) are popular among sun-worshippers, while ski enthusiasts flock to Japan (32%), Canada (8%) and Switzerland (7%) also are traveller’s most likely destination.

C. Island with a Beach

Although Leisure at 41% was still the most popular vacation theme, polar exploration and outdoor adventures have continued their momentum from the past two years and rank second (31%) and fourth (20%) respectively. As a new option in this year’s study, island holidays were the dark horse of vacation themes and surpass both cruises (13%) and self-drive holidays (14%) and other traditional modes of travel to rank third. Island holidays are especially popular among the Post-80s generation and rank first with almost fifty percent (46%).

D.Southeast Asia and Europe are the outbound destination

Last year, Europe and Southeast Asia have grown in popularity as a destination accounting for 45% and 44% of respondents respectively. In just two years, Southeast Asia has successfully surpassed the Americas become the Chinese luxury traveller’s new choice, displaying a shocking 34% increase in millennial favour and jumping from last year’s fourth place to take the crown this year. Rupert Hoogewerf, Hurun Report Chairman and Chief Researcher said: “In the past years, Chinese luxury travellers have gone abroad an average of 3.3 times and stayed for an average of 27 days, with tourism increasing 5% to reach 69%”.

E. Hotels.

Luxury hotels are still the first choice for China's luxury travellers. The Ritz-Carlton and Four Seasons hotels are the most popular choices, ranking first and third. Boutique hotels are increasingly favoured, with Banyan Tree jumping from sixth place last year to fourth place this year, while Aman entered the top ten in seventh place.

Hilton is the “Most Popular Luxury Business Hotel” title, with Shangri-La, Sheraton, and top ten newcomer Marriott following closely after. The hotel of the most luxury traveller members is also The Ritz-Carlton, with the popularity of the brand experiencing a 19% increase over the last two years, taking the crown from Hilton.

In two years however, Marriott drop from second to sixth. Rupert Hoogewerf said, “Compared to airline memberships, hotel memberships do not hold as much value”.At 81%, resorts are overwhelmingly popular among luxury travellers and are their favourite type of luxury accommodation. Business hotels (18%), bed and breakfasts (9%), and apartment hotels (6%) are also preferred, but by a much smaller margin of travellers.

60% outbound luxury travellers spend more than 3,000 yuan per night. 32% of luxury travellers have accommodation budgets of over 5,000RMB per night. Humanized Service is the most important consideration, followed by a good view of the room.

At 56%, local cuisine is the most popular hotel restaurant cuisine option for Chinese luxury travellers. Japanese and Cantonese cuisine follow after by 32% and 31% respectively. French cuisine, Italian cuisine and Sichuan cuisine are all topped the list ten, while the Korean cuisine and hot pot did not in top ten.

Private dining room is receiving more attention as venues for private banquets and business dinners.
Accommodation sharing is still in its early stages in the luxury market. Private home-stay options like Airbnb are selected by only 25% of respondents, trailing behind the boutique hotel (48%) and the cruise (45%). 69% of respondents remain neutral or will not explore home-stay in the next three years.

F.China's luxury travellers love comfort when they travel.

61% of respondents, on their most memorable trips, travelled in business or first class. Air China has the most popular membership scheme among domestic airlines (54%), with China Southern Airlines (22.4%) and Cathay Pacific (21.9%) coming in after.

Among foreign airlines, Emirates and Singapore Airlines both run ahead of the pack at 23% and 22% respectively, benefiting from their reputations for offering both cost-effective and high level services. The fact that Singapore and Dubai airports are such important hubs for flight transfers also contribute to their popularity.

G.Quality Of Travel Itineraries

Customized travel services start to spread, with agencies placing a strong emphasis on the quality of travel itineraries to retain customers.More than half of luxury travellers (58%) said that they have experienced customized travel services. They are partial to travel agencies that provide well-designed itineraries, personalized services, and are actively problem-solving, placing 59%, 55%, and 49% of emphasis on each aspect respectively.

The emphasis placed on problem-solving ability of travel agencies has experienced an 11% increase in two years. Agencies in “Hurun Mainland China Outbound Luxury Travel Agencies 2017 Top 12” ranking include 8 Continents, Diadema, D-Lux Travel*, CITS Amex, HHtravel, My Tour, Magic Travel, Ctrip, Zanadu, CITS, CTS, and CYTS.

Agencies in the “Hurun Hong Kong Outbound Luxury Travel Agencies 2017 Top 6” include Wincastle Travel Limited, Cathay Pacific Holidays, Charlotte Travel*, American Express, Swire Travel, and Westminster. Agencies in the “Hurun Taiwan Outbound Luxury Travel Agencies 2017 Top 6” include One Style Tour*, Seascape Escape, Let’s Travel*, American Express, International Travel Information Services, and Lion Travel. (In alphabetical order, *new to list).

H. Travel retail.

While on holiday, Chinese luxury travellers like to purchase cosmetics (45%), local produce (43%), bags and suitcases (39%), clothes and accessories (37%), and jewellery (34%). Other than local produce, the four other most popular purchase categories are all dominated by female consumers. Compared to numbers two years ago, there is a noticeable increase in the percentage of travellers who bought cosmetics. With regard to the purpose of the purchase, 76% of purchases are personal, while 47% of purchases are gifts, and 4% are purchased on the behalf of others.

Tourism Observer
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