SMALL Luxury Hotels of the World (SLH) will open a representative office in Shanghai in the second quarter, as part of efforts to boost the hotel consortium’s presence in China.
Besides appointing Weber Shandwick as its public relations agency in China, other efforts to tap the China market include participating in this year’s International Luxury Travel Market Asia in Shanghai and China Outbound Travel and Tourism Market in Beijing.
A number of roadshows in major urban centres including Shanghai, Hong Kong and Beijing have also been scheduled.
According to Brandon Chan, director of sales – Asia Pacific, SLH, the majority of guests staying in SLH hotels in China originate from Hong Kong, Taiwan, South Korea, Japan and Singapore.
On the other hand, the group’s Chinese clientele head mostly to European destinations such as Paris, Rome, Milan and London, with the majority choosing to embark on multi-city itineraries.
“China is one of the largest and fastest growing markets for us here in Asia,” said Chan, who expects SLH bookings for the Asia-Pacific region to grow by 10-15 per cent this year.
“An emerging affluent middle class is fuelling the strong growth in (Chinese) demand for luxury hotels and products.”
“More Chinese, especially those in the 30 to 40 age band, are venturing outside Asia, and are exploring exotic destinations such as the Maldives," he added.
So far, four hotels in China have been added to SLH's portfolio this year – one each in Yunnan, Shanghai, Nanjing and Beijing.