Mandarin translators, easy access to Chinese payment methods, and specialized perks are just a few of the new services provided to Chinese visitors arriving at upscale Los Angeles mall Beverly Center, which is hoping to stay ahead of the curve when it comes to cashing in on the city’s most important bloc of visitors.
The high-end shopping center recently announced the addition of a host of new Chinese-friendly amenities intended to alleviate common frustrations faced by Chinese visitors as well as provide special services to cater to growing Chinese demand for a “VIP” luxury travel experience.
The location’s Mandarin-speaking staff provides assistance and translation services, allowing retailers and Chinese clients to overcome language barrier inconveniences. In addition, the mall addresses difficulties that Chinese travelers often face in finding non-cash payment methods by providing ATMs which accept China UnionPay, as well as the option to purchase gift cards with UnionPay at the mall’s Guest Services desk. Close to 100 of the mall’s major retailers accept UnionPay as well, including Apple, Burberry, Coach, Gucci, Hugo Boss, Louis Vutton, and more. In order to cater to Chinese consumers’ rising demand for “VIP” service, the mall offers them a “By Invitation Only” card featuring discounts and promotions, as well as a “signature appreciation gift”.
The introduction of the new services is in direct response to the massive Chinese tourist boom into Los Angeles. According to Susan Vance, Beverly Center’s marketing and sponsorship director, “We are very excited to expand our current international tourist offering to provide innovative amenities and services for Chinese visitors to Los Angeles. Chinese tourists now represent the number one overseas arrival to LAX, and this number is expected to continue to increase in the future.”
The city of Los Angeles has been amping up its efforts to market the city to high-spending Chinese visitors. The city opened its second tourism office in China this May after seeing a massive 35.5 percent jump in Chinese visitors in 2012 compared to the previous year, making China the single largest source of tourists for the city. These travelers are a huge source of tourism revenue, ranking as the second highest spending group with an average of $1,326 per visit. The city hosted 460,000 Chinese travelers last year, and plans that number will increase by 70,000 people for 2013.
Beverly Center is also implementing a Chinese-language digital strategy in order to improve awareness of the mall among travelers before they make their overseas visit. Its website features Chinese-language information, including a section which allows users to book large group tours. The mall has also created a Sina Weibo account, which will tailor marketing initiatives to Chinese holidays such as the Mid-Autumn Moon Festival and Lunar New Year.