InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) has launched “Zhou Dao”, its global China Ready Programme for hotels around the world.
Booming China outbound travel is changing the global tourism landscape. In 2014, China surpassed the US to become the world’s largest outbound tourism market. Chinese travellers have also emerged as the largest travel spenders worldwide. Given the growing importance and great potential of the China outbound travel market, IHG is capitalising on its over three decades of operating experience in China to launch “Zhou Dao”, a tailor-made programme designed to prepare its hotels to welcome Chinese travellers with a home-away-from-home experience.
“Zhou Dao” integrates IHG’s Chinese name “Zhou”, with the Chinese philosophical concept, “Dao”. The term delicately, yet explicitly conveys the attentive, thorough and considerate courtesy that will be offered to Chinese travellers when they stay with IHG’s China Ready hotels abroad. Chinese-speaking staff at the front desk or via 24/7 phone support, acceptance of China UnionPay cards, a Chinese welcome pack, Chinese channels on in-room TVs, free Wi-Fi for IHG Rewards Club members, Chinese tea, a variety of Chinese food and beverage options and other amenities that meet the needs of Chinese guests will be available at hotels participating in the programme. IHG has also invested heavily in equipping its worldwide hotel staff with Chinese etiquette, culture and hospitality training. By the end of 2014, over 10,000 employees around the world had undertaken “Zhou Dao” service training.
Kenneth Macpherson, Chief Executive Officer, IHG Greater China, remarked, “In order to offer Chinese travellers a more confident, satisfactory and intimate travel experience, we are launching ‘Zhou Dao’, our meticulously developed China Ready programme globally. Entering the China market over 30 years ago, IHG has become the largest international hotel company in China and has amassed a deep understanding of Chinese consumers. With our unparalleled scale and distribution, as well as the IHG Rewards Club, the world’s first and largest hotel loyalty programme, we are ready to welcome more Chinese travellers to enjoy the ‘best ever’ lodging experience that they are familiar with at home.” Nearly 100 hotels across the globe are already participating in the “Zhou Dao” programme, and by the end of this year, the number will more than double, to 250 hotels.
With the launch of the “Zhou Dao” Programme, IHG also announced its strategic partnership with “Welcome Chinese,” a new hospitality standard specifically dedicated for Chinese travellers and the only industry standard recognised by the China Tourism Academy, a subdivision of the China National Tourism Administration. With this partnership, all IHG hotels that participate in the “Zhou Dao” programme will be issued a gold standard certificate by “Welcome Chinese”. “Welcome Chinese’s” mission is to improve the outbound tourism experience for Chinese travellers and guarantee the quality of experience by popularising Chinese-style services to accredited organisations.
IHG has been an industry pioneer in terms of innovation, and proactively explores new trends in the global tourism industry. In partnership with Oxford Economics, IHG published “The Future of Chinese Travel” report in March 2015, revealing that favourable economic and demographic trends are shaping the Chinese travel market and are set to fuel huge increases in demand for international travel over the next decade. It also reveals the opportunities this growth will present as Chinese traveller preferences evolve towards long-haul, leisure-driven travel.