Much more than bed and break­fast

China Daily European Weekly - - Business -

The flour­ish­ing B&B seg­ment is giv­ing China’s hos­pi­tal­ity in­dus­try the power of a shar­ing econ­omy

from 30,231 in 2014 to 53,852 by the end of June, and are ex­pected to sur­pass 55,000 by the end of the year.

Some pick their fa­vorite B&B as a venue for sig­nif­i­cant days such as an­niver­saries, birth­days or even wed­dings, ac­cord­ing to a CHA re­port, which sur­veyed more than 20,000 con­sumers across China.

Typ­i­cal guests are those who travel a long dis­tance to neigh­bor­ing cities and vil­lages fre­quently. They are usu­ally mar­ried or have steady part­ners. They like to travel in pairs or in groups, and fo­cus more on feel­ings and ex­pe­ri­ences than cost, the CHA re­port says.

About 57.5 per­cent of guests at B&Bs are women; 52.5 per­cent are be­tween 25 and 39 years old; and about 52.4 per­cent ex­pect the av­er­age cost of a Chi­nese B&B to be about 500 yuan per night, which is above the av­er­age spend­ing at a bud­get ho­tel and equal to that of a four-star ho­tel in a typ­i­cal sec­ond-tier city.

The trend of ris­ing con­sump­tion among the in­creas­ingly af­flu­ent mid­dle class is driv­ing B&B growth in China, says Xie Yun, deputy head of the tourism and hos­pi­tal­ity man­age­ment fac­ulty of Guangxi Nor­mal Univer­sity.

He com­pares China’s B&B seg­ment to “pri­vate ban­quets” in the din­ing in­dus­try. “As res­i­dents’ pur­chas­ing power rises and con­sump­tion di­ver­si­fies, it’s not sur­pris­ing that B&B is get­ting pop­u­lar.”

Yu Min­liang, 23, a grad­u­ate stu­dent in Shang­hai, prefers B&Bs over other types of ac­com­mo­da­tions when trav­el­ing. “B&B meals are cooked by the host. Very of­ten, veg­eta­bles are home­grown. The hosts share their gar­den har­vest with you.”

Yu says shar­ing marks al­most ev­ery as­pect of a B&B stay. Un­like ho­tels, B&B en­ables guests to be so­cial.

“At a B&B, you eat grapes from the vines in the back­yard gar­den. Hosts and guests chat over a meal, and play with the pets like cats to­gether. If you are not driv­ing, fel­low guests can give you a ride to nearby scenic spots,” says Yu.

In many ways, B&Bs in China of­fer much more than just bed and break­fast.

The B&B con­cept emerged in Europe cen­turies ago, and came to be known as places for trav­el­ers for paid overnight stay at a stranger’s spare room, with break­fast thrown in for good mea­sure.

In China, how­ever, B&B is about en­ter­tain­ment, leisure, ex­pe­ri­ences, new friend­ships and even so­cial networking.

Chen Zhuo, head of Jin­she Hos­pi­tal­ity Man­age­ment, summed up the trend that most guests care more about what hap­pens be­tween bed­time and de­par­ture af­ter break­fast. And in China, much hap­pens dur­ing that time, so B&Bs are thriv­ing.

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