Chinese Tourists Currently Account For 20% Of All Visitors To Dubai
In an effort to lure more outbound Chinese travelers to its properties in Dubai, the Maldives and elsewhere, this week Jumeirah Hotels & Resorts signed a global direct connectivity partnership agreement with leading Chinese online travel company Ctrip.com in Shanghai. Designed to let Chinese travelers directly book accommodations at Jumeirah resorts around the world, the agreement marks the first time a Middle East-based luxury hotelier has worked with Ctrip.
According to a company release, the new direct connectivity plan will allow Ctrip users to have their reservations confirmed and delivered within seconds to Jumeirah hotels. Ctrip and Jumeirah also plan to launch a set of special offers and contests once the direct connect technology is in place.
Owing to greater marketing efforts in general and new digital initiatives in particular, Jumeirah expects to see a 14 percent in Chinese guests at its properties worldwide next year, especially at its one-year-old Jumeirah Himalayas Hotel in Shanghai. Currently, China is the sixth most important source market for Jumeirah Hotels & Resorts globally, with the most popular destinations for Chinese travelers being Dubai and the Maldives. In response to rising business and domestic travel within China, Jumeirah has five Chinese hotel projects in development, among them Jumeirah Guangzhou (opening in late 2014); Jumeirah Macau; Jumeirah Clearwater Bay Resort in Sanya, Hainan island; Jumeirah Hangzhou; and Jumeirah Thousand Island Lake Resort, Qiandaohu.
Amid a large, albeit extremely crowded and contentious, hotel market in China — which still struggles with low occupancy rates and the growing pains of a still-young luxury segment — Jumeirah’s latest deal with Ctrip is the group’s latest attempt to develop a stronger local foothold and understand what makes Chinese travelers tick. Angling to broaden its appeal to the market, Jumeirah was one of the first hoteliers to launch a website in simplified Chinese characters, and has been quite active on Chinese social media platforms. Earlier this year, the group appointed experienced Asia hand Graham Kiy to the position of GM of Jumeirah Guangzhou, later expanding its sales presence in the region by partnering with Heavens Portfolio as Sales and Marketing representative in Hong Kong and Taiwan, and appointing a new Business Development Manager in Beijing.