As Chinese tourists choosing to visit the United States has increased, the number of potential issues has also increased. It is imperative that businesses catering to these travelers understand the problems they may face when they come to the United States.
Employee education is the most important factor in providing a positive experience for both the Chinese tourists traveling in the United States and the staff members of the establishments that serve them. Chinese tourists bring with them their own culture and expectations. Understanding how they differ from those of Western society is vital. Today’s independent Chinese tourist has little in common with the visitors who travel in organized group tours. Because these groups had developed a reputation for poor behavior, some Chinese tourists face an increased risk of unfair treatment.
Language is also a major concern. While many Americans may feel that everyone in the world should speak English, most Chinese tourists are unlikely to be fluent in English. Providing signage in Chinese can help orient travelers to the specific rules and procedures of your establishment. If you want visitors to line up before entering or speak in hushed tones, you need to let them know. In addition to signage, Chinese-language brochures, Mandarin guide maps, and tour guides will help to overcome many of the issues visitors face in the United States.
In restaurants and bars, providing a few Chinese language menus and photos of food can help with the ordering process. Serving drinks and food which appeal to the Chinese palate will also create a more positive experience.
In addition to signs and hiring employees who are familiar with Mandarin, hotels can offer services that will make Chinese tourists feel at home: provide slippers and electric kettles, include Chinese dishes on your menu and breakfast buffet, and offer at least one Chinese language TV channel in addition to free, high-speed Wi-Fi.
Providing rates that are geared toward Chinese tourists on their social media sites and creating an e-presence online in mainland Chinese are important to attracting business. Have an employee engage with Chinese social media and monitor what tourists say. What do they like? What don’t they like? If you can tap into that information, you will be better able to provide the kind of service that will attract these visitors to your business.
Many Chinese tourists believe that they will be treated as second-class citizens because they are not westerners. Merely making them feel welcome is not enough. If you want to attract them, you need to make sure them feel like VIP guests.
In 2014, 1.5 million Chinese tourists spent $8.8 billion in the United States. That alone should be enough to make you want to get your share of this lucrative business.