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The era of the Chinese luxury traveler skimping on hotels and splurging on shopping is coming to an end as China’s jetsetters place greater emphasis on comfort and reputation, according to the results of a new Hotels.com survey.
The company’s 2015 Chinese International Travel Monitor finds that the top 10 percent spending bracket of Chinese travelers “view the reputation of their destination as more important than value for money” and prefer to book international hotel chains and five-star brands. Spending an average of US$2,225 per day, they’re budgeting a significant amount for hotels with a daily average of US$439. For the highest 5 percent of spenders, that average climbs to US$3,368 with US$575 spent on accommodations.
This emphasis on quality accommodation is part of a growing focus on travel experience among China’s wealthy, who have branched out to unique destinations and activities in recent years. Half of those surveyed said they plan to spend more on entertainment while traveling in the coming year, while 47 percent intend to increase their spending on dining.
Shopping is still the favored travel pastime of this globetrotting elite, however, a fact that’s likely to make high-end brands relieved. (Previous studies have indicated that experiential spending is becoming a direct competitor to luxury goods.) A total of 62 percent of respondents in the top 10 percent of spenders listed shopping as a favorite activity.
This doesn’t mean brands should rest on their laurels when courting high-spending Chinese travelers, who expect their shopping trips to be a rewarding part of their trips and still care about experience more than price. (Tourists in this spending bracket aren’t shopping abroad just to avoid tariffs—they want the cachet of buying their Hermès in Paris and Prada in Italy). Sightseeing isn’t far behind shopping as a favored activity of 56 percent of respondents, while dining came next at 48 percent. Wealthy Chinese travelers are also showing a significant interest in beach trips, cruises, and “eco-tours” as they seek out novel experiences.