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Meliá Hotels International Chairman and CEO unveils new Chinese friendly programme

Chairman and CEO unveils new project to make company hotels more Chinese-friendly
Meliá Hotels International aims to become the first choice for Chinese tourists travelling to Europe. The company Chairman, Gabriel Escarrer Juliá, the Vice Chairman and CEO, and other members of the senior executive team will begin the second of their annual tours in Asia today. The trip will also take them to Vietnam, Indonesia, Myanmar and Thailand.

The Asia-Pacific region is strategically important for the company, and it has quadrupled its portfolio in the region over the past few years. The focus is mainly on the strong growth potential of the market and the traditional oriental values of service and hospitality, which are very much in line with the Spanish company’s service culture.  

Meliá already has two hotels in China, with a pipeline of six hotels set to open in China by 2017. 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.  

Meliá recently announced a partnership with leading Chinese online tour operator, CTrip, and is also taking further steps to attract and earn the loyalty of Chinese travellers. Chinese tourists generally hope to find a range of features and amenities in the hotels they visit. Meliá has developed worldwide programme, “PengYou by Meliá”, which will be gradually introduced in 80 hotels throughout the portfolio to adapt to the needs and expectations of Chinese guests. With an extensive training programme, staff will be fluent in Mandarin and all hotels will accept Chinese credit cards from Union Pay, have Chinese TV channels, menus and minibar products adapted to guests’ tastes and translations of all materials.  

Meliá has also launched its official Wechat and Wibo pages and the company is engaging with Asian customers through key social channels in China, as well as Facebook in Indonesia.  

Attract and retain Chinese guests
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 introduced in two stages. The first has already been implemented in company hotels in Asia-Pacific, as well as in the major Spanish cities for Chinese tourists, Madrid and Barcelona, in the Meliá Madrid Princesa and Meliá Barcelona Sarriá, respectively. It has also been executed in our most important English-speaking destination in the Caribbean, at Meliá Nassau Beach in the Bahamas.  

In the second stage, the programme will be extended to 80 hotels outside Asia, with a special focus on Europe, especially in Spain, Italy, France, Germany and the UK, and in cities with a greater number of Chinese visitors, continuing to grow in line with the company’s expansion.  

The initiative has been introduced at Gran Meliá Xian in China by MHI Vice Chairman and CEO, who revealed his enormous satisfaction when he saw hotel managers and staff following Chinese protocol, providing indications to guests in Mandarin, and offering oriental menus in their buffets and restaurants.  

Mr Gabriel Escarrer, CEO and Vice Chairman at Meliá Hotels International said: “Hospitality is universal, and today it has to cater to the Chinese tourist industry, both as a source of tourists as well as a destination. Ultimately, the aim of PengYou is to adapt our hospitality to another culture and language, making us even more universal.”  

Escarrer also recalled the global vocation of Meliá, which “has always been a pioneer in opening up new destinations and transporting our service vocation and excellence to different cultures and locations.”  

As well as preparing the hotels, MHI wants to become a driving force behind outbound Chinese travel to Europe. Currently the main recipients of Chinese visitors are New Zealand, Australia and other destinations in Asia and the Pacific, and to change this trend Meliá will complement the expansion of its Chinese-friendly programme in Europe with a marketing strategy to communicate more effectively with the Chinese market.

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