UK Luxury Hotels Lag Behind Europe

In the wake of Brexit, the UK’s luxury hotel market will need to outperform its equivalent markets in Europe. In particular, the UK is lagging behind in attracting high-spend Chinese visitors – proved to be a vital market for long-term growth in the luxury sector. 

On average, Chinese tourists spend £2,688 per visitor, placing them among the highest spend segment in the UK. However, the UK only receives 328,000 Chinese visitor applications, compared to the one million Chinese visitors to France each year.

Growth Opportunity

However, inbound tourism is growing in the UK. VisitBritain data demonstrates that July 2016 was the highest month ever for overall inbound tourism to the UK, with 3.8 million visits, up 2% on July last year.

The overall spend of these visitors is also increased by 4%, reaching £2.5 billion in July.

So what can UK Hoteliers do to unlock the Chinese market?

Time for Action

These market conditions have led the The British Hospitality Association (BHA) to urge that the UK luxury market must act now to capitalise on growth and ensure that the UK does not lag behind the EU.

“London is the greatest city in the world but it’s lagging behind its European neighbours in terms of attracting Chinese tourists and it’s time to take action,” explained MD of The Goring, David Morgan-Hewitt. “Hoteliers want to capitalise on what is likely to be a much more mature market in five or ten years’ time, but we need to be proactive today.”

How to Cater for Chinese Guests

A BHA Think Tank agreed that Chinese interest in UK 5-star hotels is set to grow, but not until the market matures in five years time (at the earliest)

In the meantime, it was suggested that hoteliers should focus on:

  • Dedicated Chinese and Mandarin speaking Front of House staff
  • Chinese TV stations
  • Chinese language welcoming letters
  • Chinese minibar options (Chinese beer / noodles)
  • Accepting Chinese card payment methods

 

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