Hilton Huanying: An Interesting Idea for Additional Revenue for Hotel Properties…
“C hinese citizens are already the world’s largest travel market”, according to this article written by Melinda of Magic of Miles. “By 2020, according to Hilton the number of Chinese travelers is expected to explode to around 200 million. To cater to this group, Hilton has had a special program in place since 2011 that offers Chinese travelers a specialized experience. Called Hilton Huanying, it was first rolled out at 51 properties in 13 countries. The test program has been very successful, and to accommodate the upcoming population growth Hilton is expanding their Huanying program.”
This special program — offered free of charge at participating locations, which will expand to 110 total Waldorf Astoria, Conrad, Hilton and DoubleTree by Hilton hotel and resort properties — offers the following:
- Welcome note in Simplified Chinese
- 24-hour Mandarin interpretation service
- Mandarin speaking team member — available at some hotel properties
GUEST ROOM AMENITIES
- Tea kettles
- Jasmine tea
- Dedicated Mandarin-speaking television channel
- Two varieties of congee — which is a kind of porridge — with condiments, hard boiled eggs, fried rice or fried noodles, dim sum, fried dough fritters and fresh fruit
- Chinese tea and soy milk
- Chopsticks, Chinese spoons and a soy sauce dish
Rob Palleschi — who is the global head full service brands of Hilton Worldwide — reportedly said, “Since being introduced in 2011…, Huanying has empowered more than a million Chinese travelers to explore new destinations with the comforts of home. We are very proud of this program, and the benefits are clear. Chinese travelers who stay at Huanying properties express a greater overall satisfaction in their hospitality experience.”
The gears in my head creaked before they started turning. Gears in my head turning usually means trouble — but I digress…
…the first thought which came to my head is that I would be interested in experiencing the Hilton Huanying program; and I cannot be the only one who thought this thought.
Although participating hotel properties of Hilton Worldwide which offer this innovative program may have been handsomely rewarded for giving Chinese citizens a chance to feel more at home while away from home, it must cost money to provide such a program.
“Regardless of the country the traveler is from, I think these small touches are a really neat way to make a hotel stay more like home to some”, Melinda opined. “Although Chinese travelers are the highest population so the current customization makes sense for that group, it’d be a welcome touch if they opened the program to other countries’ travelers as well.”
That is where my idea comes in: keep offering the Hilton Huanying to qualified people — Chinese citizens, for example — free of charge; but offer it for a nominal fee to those who want an option to experience a taste of traditional Chinese hospitality while they stay at participating Hilton hotel properties worldwide. Ensure that that nominal fee not only covers expenses; but also yields a modest profit for the hotel property…
…and offer similar programs at hotel properties for those who want to experience a taste of the hospitality of other cultures: Japanese, Israeli, German, South African, Russian, Arabian, Thai and Indian, to name several. Offer it for free to qualified people of each culture; but also offer it for a nominal fee to others.
This would especially help hotel chains compete better with individual or boutique lodging options, though not directly; and for a guest who stays for several days, he or she can experience a different option for each day if he or she preferred.
This idea is still in its infancy in my head; so while I change its diaper, please feel free to suggest improvements on this idea; state whether or not you would patronize hotel properties which offer this program and whether or not you would pay a nominal fee; what a fair nominal fee would be, in your opinion…
…or simply state why this is the most ridiculous idea you have heard since the pet rock craze of the 1970s…
Photograph ©2015 by Brian Cohen.