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Meliá Hotels International aims to become the No.1 European choice for Chinese travellers

As outbound travel from China continues to grow at an expediential rate, the leading Resorts Group, Meliá Hotels International, steps up its efforts to attract Chinese travellers to its hotels, with a worldwide programme, entitled Peng You, which includes a comprehensive staff training programme; and a global strategy for 80 hotels to achieve the QSC – the China Outbound Tourism Quality Service Certification.

Established in Palma, Mallorca, 60 years ago, Meliá Hotels International is a family grown and globally established hotel group with 370 hotels in 40 countries. The Spanish company holds a strong focus on Asia-Pacific, doubling its hotel portfolio in the region in the past two years, with a pipeline of 15 new hotels set to open in China by 2017. Meliá’s commitment to the region is based on its huge growth potential and likeminded values in service and hospitality.  

In 2014, over 100 million Chinese tourists travelled overseas and this is expected to double by 2020. Their spend whilst travelling was the highest when compared to other travellers, vastly outperforming US tourists who were in second place. It is for these reasons that Meliá is focussing on its footprint and brand awareness in-region, as well as international appeal to outbound Chinese travellers.  

The Group is rolling out a Chinese welcome programme, ‘Pengyou’, which includes Mandarin-speaking hotel staff, China Union Pay card acceptance, Chinese language TV channels, Chinese breakfast, translated materials, a tea station, slippers, free Wi-Fi and cup noodles in the minibar. Hotel staff will receive training through a specifically created programme, which translated, means ‘Friend’, that will educate staff on expectations of Chinese travellers and how best to meet their needs.

In addition, Meliá aims to achieve the China Outbound Tourism Quality Service Certification (QSC) for its China-friendly hotels – the only accreditation recognised by the Chinese government and recommended by the Spanish Tourism Office. The programme will be rolled out in two phases:
  1. As well as being implemented across its hotels in Asia Pacific, the ‘pilot’ phase of the programme has already been successfully activated in three hotels; Meliá Madrid Princesa, Meliá Barcelona Sarria and Meliá Nassau Beach.  
2. Phase will see the programme implemented across 80 international hotels in key markets, with a focus on Europe; specifically Spain, Italy, France, Germany and the UK, by 2016. The scope of the programme will be extended according to the International expansion of the company.  

As a complement to this program, Meliá will display initiatives designed to attract more Chinese travellers to Europe. Currently, countries such as New Zealand, Australia and other parts of Asia Pacific are seeing the highest number of Chinese tourists. Meliá aims to shift this trend by widening its China-friendly programme in Europe and implementing a marketing strategy to communicate the best of what Europe has to offer.  

Mr Gabriel Escarrer, Vice Chairman and CEO of Meliá Hotels International, comments: “Chinese tourists in Europe have steadily increased in numbers in the last few years and Europe is particularly appreciated for its landscape, culture and rich history. The Schengen Agreement, which allows access to 26 European counties, makes Europe an attractive choice for Chinese visitors due to ease and visiting multiple countries in one trip also provides status amongst their family and friends at home.   

“With our Mediterranean roots we have a strong foothold in key locations such as Paris, London, Berlin, Barcelona and Athens – all of which are already attracting a significant number of Chinese travellers.  

“As a leading hotel group in Europe we recognise that there needs to be a strategy in place in order to further attract Chinese travellers to our hotels, providing them with expert knowledge of their chosen destination and a service and experience that meets their expectations when travelling away from home.”  

Recognition is already forthcoming from the group’s efforts, with two recent awards from Ctrip and Qunar, a leading online travel search platform in China. In the future, it is hoped that these efforts will enable Meliá to receive further acknowledgment from the highly credible China National Tourism Administration, which aims to inform Chinese travellers which hotels are best prepared to receive them. The group will also be seeking recommendation from Ctrip’s own ‘Hua Tag’ certification to ensure its capabilities are communicated directly to the Chinese consumer when they are beginning their decision making process of where to stay.

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