The Lunar New Year is a time for spending time with the family, which is why some 3 billion trips are expected in China during the new year period as people travel to be with their families. However, a growing number of Chinese travelers are electing to spend the holiday period abroad—often together with their families—with 6 million Chinese people projected to go abroad during the Lunar New Year Golden Week period. Tapping into Lunar New Year travel means tapping into the growing trend of multi-generational travel, but what does it require?
For hotels, providing Chinese guests with the opportunity to select adjacent rooms—or providing suites with several bedrooms—is one way to help families stick together when they visit. Separate rooms that can be joined by opening a door connecting both rooms without having to step into the hallway is another feature that is increasingly common, especially in hotels throughout China. It’s not uncommon to see Chinese hotel guests, particularly in China, to keep front doors to rooms open to freely walk between family members’ or friends’ rooms, usually treating one of the rooms as a common meeting space for planning, karaoke, or mahjong—a new year tradition. Providing better solutions for the need of a common, yet more private than the hotel lobby, meeting space for family members helps avoid nuisance for other guests while satisfying multi-generational Chinese travelers.
While more experienced Chinese travelers tend to show an interest in local cuisine and new food experiences, both children and elderly Chinese travelers are often more conservative with their food choices. Providing a whole menu full of different regional Chinese cuisine can be a daunting task, but providing a few simple Chinese food choices in the hotel or resort restaurant goes a long way in keeping family members of all ages happy. Reserving a small part of the breakfast buffet for Chinese breakfast and offering simple variations of fried rice and noodles doesn’t require a complete overhaul of the menu and shows that you’re a family-friendly choice. Keeping a tab of good Chinese restaurants in the neighborhood and recommending them to Chinese guests inquiring about nearby food choices is always a good idea.
However, providing an excellent Lunar New Year dinner can be a difficult task as culinary New Year traditions vary greatly between different parts of China. Dumplings, a New Year tradition for many Chinese people from northern provinces, is associated with poverty for others—the exact opposite of how you’d like to welcome a prosperous New Year. Understanding where in China your guests come from can help inform decisions for a special Lunar New Year dinner—but pointing guests in the direction of a restaurant with the cuisine they’re interested in can be more than enough.
Activities and entertainment
A one size fits all approach might be a bit difficult, but providing family-friendly activities and entertainment that suits all ages is certainly preferred—especially for a holiday meant to be spent together as a family. This doesn’t necessarily have to be as difficult as it sounds—spending time together doesn’t have to mean doing the exact same activities. For instance, providing all kinds of activities at a beach—from watersports for the parents, a playground for the kids, to massage or other spa activities for the elderly—helps keep all family members entertained without splitting up entirely. Another example could be a ski resort: while skiing may be an attractive activity for parents and children alike, providing a substitute activity for elderly family members is key. Scenic sleigh rides, saunas, and other spa facilities go a long way in providing attractive substitute activities for family members less keen to hit the slopes.
Of course, rough generalizations only go so far, and families can be widely different in their preferences and expectations, which is why it’s always a good idea to provide many entertainment options. In New Zealand, for instance, there have been several reports of Chinese families—including retirees—going skydiving together. Even so, having the option to do something more relaxing wouldn’t have left anyone any less satisfied with their vacation.
Another growing trend in Chinese tourism, self-drive travel, is also a popular choice for multi-generational travelers and certainly provides ample flexibility in terms of both activities and culinary experiences.
Happy Lunar New Year from Jing Travel!