Anything hotels can learn about Chinese tourists, whether it’s their thoughts on the service or their affinity toward tea kettles and slippers, is critical at a time when the number of outbound travelers from China is surging upwards. Guest intelligence solutions company ReviewPro recently released survey results showing that more Chinese travelers are leaving online reviews for luxury hotels around the globe. The 2016 “Top Luxury and Brand Report” reveals not only valuable information for hoteliers looking to check in with their Chinese guests, but also the rising impact of luxury hotels in China.
ReviewPro looked at 2.7 million online guest reviews in the luxury hospitality industry in 2015, covering nearly 2,700 properties and 159 luxury hotel brands around the globe. While TripAdvisor and Booking.com are currently the top two platforms for leaving hotel feedback, Ctrip has now moved to number three after the number of people using Facebook declined. Chinese travel site eLong took fourth place, while group deals site Dianping moved from ranking 18 to 10, nearly doubling the number of hotel reviews in about a year. ReviewPro said these rankings shows it’s “critical for luxury brands to manage their reputation on multiple channels in order to maximize revenue.”
Unsurprisingly, the second most-used language for writing online reviews is Chinese. Chinese language volume on review sites doubled since 2014 to make up about 30 percent of the total. The phenomenon is no doubt a reflection of the increase of Chinese tourists booking luxury accommodation, but it reiterates the importance of hoteliers ensuring they have resources to not only find ways to get Chinese guests into their hotels, but to analyze their feedback. According to the report, “luxury hotel brands worldwide will increasingly need to be able to correctly interpret the views and feelings expressed in reviews written in different languages, especially Chinese.”
The locations guests are writing reviews about is shifting, too. ReviewPro’s data showed that luxury hotels in China received more than 700,000 reviews, a 46 percent year-on-year increase. This puts China in first place in terms of review volume, overtaking the United States, whose hotel review numbers dropped 13 percent last year. China also had the most of the top 100 rated luxury properties, at 23, up from 14, making the increase the largest compared to other countries surveyed. These properties were rated based on overall guest satisfaction, in addition to cleanliness, service, value, and quality of the rooms. Mandarin Oriental Guangzhou was the leading rated hotel in the mainland for overall guest satisfaction, ranking number 14, just ahead of Four Seasons Hotel Hong Kong. The Ritz-Carlton Tianjin came in at number 22. For independent luxury brands, The Peninsula Hotel group ranked among the top 25 on several separate lists, including those for service, cleanliness, and location.
ReviewPro simply explains away the China shift in that for the most part, more Chinese tourists are writing reviews, but there has also been a significant spike in luxury hotels in China over the past few years to meet increasing demand from both international and Chinese tourists. In the past year alone, China has welcomed Chinese-owned independent luxury hotels as well, but these didn’t make it onto the list.