Chinese tourists flocking to Sheratons and Westin hotels
Everyone is chasing the Chinese.
Every day, it seems, I get a google alert from somewhere in the world where some tourism official stands up at an Elks Club meeting or Chamber of Commerce rubber chicken lunch and proclaims "I have seen the future of tourism and it is China."
Of course, not EVERYONE is going to get an increase in tourism from China. It seems Toronto has done fairly well, partly because we're close to Niagara Falls and partly due to our immigration patterns and perhaps also partly because we're close to New York City.
Actually, it might not be as hard to get Chinese tourists as some cities might think. According to a study on Chinese hotel booking habits, maybe the easiest thing to do is to change all your hotels into a Sheraton or a Westin; both part of the Starwood chain.
CNN says a report by a Swiss-based luxury market research firm - based on an analysis of 170 million Internet searches between January and March - shows that those two brands are at the top of the heap for Chinese tourists.
Here's the full top 10:
6. Four Seasons
7. The Peninsula
I'm surprised that the Ritz is that far down the list as, from what I've seen, well-to-do Chinese consumers often love the real luxury brands. Then again, the report says findings confirm what many folks in the west already suspected, which is that brands who got into China early have the greatest loyalty.
"As the saying goes 'the early bird catches the worm,' and in this case it is true," the report says. "Sheraton was the first western hotel brand to begin operations in China in 1985 [after the economic opening-up], and today it is the most searched-for hotel."
On a personal note, I just gotta say that Bruce Springsteen's show at the Rogers Centre Friday night was utterly spectacular. Easily the best I can remember seeing, and I've been to at least six of his shows over the years. He was animated and having a wonderful time and the crowd was eating it up on a perfect summer's night with the roof open and the CN Tower flashing lights and a real festival atmosphere.
According to his website, Bruce came off the stage after his 3 hour, 42 minute marathon and told his band mates it was the best Toronto crowd he'd ever had.
He's playing in Hamilton and Ottawa in October, and any fan who hasn't booked a ticket yet ought to give their head a shake.