Marriott International, Inc. unveiled its “Li Yu” welcome programme that features a suite of customised amenities and services tailor-made for Chinese outbound travellers. “Li Yu” means “Serve with Courtesy” in Mandarin. The programme aims at providing a full array of amenities and services that are designed specifically with Chinese guests in mind. Chinese guests visiting Marriott’s portfolio of brands will be able to experience this personalised hospitality prior to their arrival and throughout their stay at the company’s hotels, first in Asia and eventually in key gateway cities around the world.
“Chinese travellers are visiting international markets in record numbers, and China will be the largest source of outbound travellers worldwide in the coming years,” said Simon Cooper, president and managing director Marriott International, Asia. “We have established Marriott International and our brands as a first choice for domestic Chinese travellers and have seen membership in our loyalty programme, Marriott Rewards, jump to more than a million members in China this year. We want our Chinese guests to know that they will be well taken care of and welcomed at our hotels in key gateway cities globally.”
According to the Annual Report of China Outbound Tourism Development 2012 released by National Tourism Administration and ChinaTourismAcademy, mainland tourists made 70 million trips to overseas destinations in 2011. They are expected to make 78 million outbound trips in 2012, up 12 percent from last year, and spend US$80 billion overseas. Last year saw almost 1 million Chinese visitors travel to the US alone and with wait times for visas reduced from 48 days to just 8 days, those numbers look set to increase dramatically.
Marriott International’s Li Yu hospitality experience starts even before a guest’s arrival at the hotel. Guests will receive their hotel reservation confirmation letter or email in Chinese. Upon arrival, they will be greeted at the front desk by a Mandarin-speaking hotel associate. To make Chinese guests feel more at home, Chinese cuisine and delicacies will be featured as standard items in restaurants as well as on in-room dining menus.
To keep guests in touch with news and events from home, a variety of Chinese programmes will be featured on in-room TVs and guests will have a choice of Chinese-language newspapers. Chinese tea will be provided as one of the complimentary beverage selections and kettles will be available in the guestrooms.
Some of the touches are nuances that are subtle but thoughtful, such as assigning room and floor number with “6” or “8” to Chinese guests as these are considered as auspicious; ensuring adaptors are suitable for Chinese electrical gadgets; providing Asian-size bathrobes and slippers in guestrooms; and including popular Asian sauces in condiment offerings of all 3-meal restaurants and in-room dining.
Marriott International’s Li Yu Program will be operational at all JW Marriott, Renaissance, Marriott and Courtyard hotels in Asia by early next year, as well as select international hotels in key gateway cities.
“We have been growing our hotel portfolio in Asian markets and serving Chinese travelers for more than two decades. Some of our hotels have taken a pioneering role to fine-tune their services to cater to the needs of Chinese travelers over the years,” said Simon Cooper. “Today’s news is that we are taking a well-orchestrated and holistic approach across the board.”