Global hotel chains are going beyond kettles and congee to warm the hearts of Chinese domestic travelers. A key question remains: whether it is better to launch a dedicated brand in China, or adapt a chain’s existing brands to the local market?
Hyatt Hotels and Hilton are examples of two global chains with differing approaches to the same end point of snaring a bigger share of Chinese domestic travelers, whose preferences are continually evolving.
Despite having 19 brands globally, and a track record of 50 years in China with 74 operating hotels and more than 100 hotels in the pipeline, Hyatt is seeding a new homegrown Chinese brand, UrCove (pronounced as “your cove”), in partnership with BTG Homeinns Hotels Group.
Hilton, on the other hand, prefers to stick to its existing 17 brands, of which eight have already been deployed in China, and “localizing” them to suit market needs and preferences. It is upping the localization technique, as seen in utilizing neuroscience research to look into the minds of Chinese travelers when launching its Canopy by Hilton brand in China.
However, that global chains aren’t exactly rushing in to launch new China brands. UrCove is the first new China brand by an international chain in recent years. IHG’s Hualuxe has had good traction since launching seven years ago, with eight hotels opened — but that’s still far away from its stated goal in 2013 of bringing the brand to 100 cities in China eventually.
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