Chinese Head for London’s Luxury Hotels

The luxury Sheraton Park Tower hotel in Knightsbridge is leading the way for London’s five star hotels to promote themselves to the increasing numbers of Chinese leisure and business travellers visiting London.ÊÊÊ The hotel is the first luxury property in London to install Chinese television in all 280 rooms.ÊÊ The China Central Television (CCTV) channel offers Chinese guests a mixture of news, entertainment and music 24 hours a day.ÊÊ
The hotel, part of Starwood Hotels & Resorts Luxury Collection portfolio, has been targeting Chinese clients for the last 18 months and studying the growing Chinese market with great interest.ÊÊÊ Earlier this year sales directors from Starwood carried out a sales mission to key cities in China, to meet with clients and build relationships with key bookers and agents.

Ê

Anne Scott, Hotel Manager, the Sheraton Park Tower, said, “This is a really exciting development for us. There is perhaps no more dynamic a market in the world today than China.Ê ÊWe are seeing increasing numbers of Chinese guests in our hotel, who want to keep updated on news back at home, while on business in London, hence introducing CCTV in all rooms.Ê China is the next important market hoteliers in this city need to be looking at, much as Russia was two years ago.Ê We are firm believers in the importance of China in the world travel market for both inbound and outbound travel for decades to come.Ê As a luxury hotel in Knightsbridge that now offers Chinese language services, we are perfectly placed to build our reputation in this region of the world.ÊÊ We look forward to welcoming many Chinese guests to the Park Tower over the next few years.”

Ê

Visit London figures show that since 2000 the number of Chinese visitors to the city have nearly doubled, with 43,000 coming to London last year, spending £29 million.Ê The key feeder markets into the UK are Shanghai, Beijing and Hong Kong.ÊÊ

ADVERTISEMENT

Ê

In addition, it is hoped that the growing inbound Chinese tourism market could be given a major boost this Autumn if the UK and China sign anÊagreement awarding Approved Destination Status to the UK.ÊÊ This will enable all Chinese citizens to travel to the UK as tourists. Under current rules the Chinese are only allowed to travel to the UK for specific purposes - such as business or educational reasons. This agreement is to be accompanied by a streamlined visa application system, allowing Britain to compete for a share of the predicted five-fold increase in Chinese outbound travel by 2010.

Ê

Jamie Talmage, Business Analyst, Visit London, said, “China is fast becoming one of the world’s largest markets for outbound tourism. Although London has been fairly successful in tapping this potential, it has been clear for a while that we have been losing out to other European cities because of not having ADS. The hoped for granting of this ADS status will help ensure London benefits from a boom in travel from China into Europe. ”

Ê

Starwood Hotels & Resorts, the company that manages the Sheraton Park Tower, has not only been building relationships but also heavily investing in China by developing hotels there - to benefit from growing domestic and international business travel to and within the country.ÊÊ Starwood Hotels & Resorts are currently the largest international operator of upscale hotels in China, with 25 hotels open or under construction. 

Ê

In July Starwood announced it is to manage the 500-room Westin Beijing Financial Street hotel in the city’s emerging financial district.ÊÊ Scheduled to open in 2006, this is the fourth development in China signed by Starwood in just the first six months of 2004.ÊÊ New developments signed earlier in the year include Sheraton hotels in Shenzhen, Ningbo and Xiamen.ÊÊ In addition, at the end of July Starwood also announced that W Hotels will debut in the People’s Republic of China with a 383-room waterfront hotel in Hong Kong, scheduled to open in early 2008.Ê The company has also signed a letter of agreement to develop a W hotel in Shanghai.
——-