Group’s pres­i­dent for China is on a mis­sion to en­gage mil­len­ni­als in the hospi­tal­ity in­dus­try

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - HOSPITALITY - By XU JUNQIAN in Shang­hai xu­jun­qian@chi­nadaily.com .cn

By part­ner­ing with a con­sumer drone maker and set­ting up themed rooms, Liu Chen­jun, Wyn­d­ham Ho­tel Group’s pres­i­dent and manag­ing direc­tor for China, is hop­ing to en­gage mil­len­ni­als in a way that could be­come a game changer for the whole in­dus­try.

“The hospi­tal­ity in­dustr y has been too quiet for the past few decades,” said Liu, who is now manag­ing a port­fo­lio of 11 brands and close to 1,400 ho­tels in China. “I want to be a dis­rupter and stir up some changes by cross­ing over with some un­likely but fit­ting part­ners.”

Founded in 1981 and head­quar­tered in New Jer­sey, the world’s largest ho­tel com­pany by room num­ber last year saw up­wards of 250 new WGH ho­tels throw­ing their doors open on the Chi­nese main­land.

While the pace of na­tion­wide ex­pan­sion is un­likely to slow down over the com­ing year, if not ac­cel­er­ate, Liu, a for­mer diplo­mat, wants to help ho­tel own­ers to sell rooms in a dif­fer­ent man­ner.

“There is no point in telling the brand sto­ries of each of our 19 brands (eight have yet to be in­tro­duced to China). Young peo­ple to­day won’t listen to it,” Liu said in an in­ter­view af­ter the group’s an­nual fo­rum in late June. The event gath­ers thou­sands of hote­liers, in­vestors and man­agers in the in­dus­try.

“We want to cre­ate a con­ver­sa­tion with mil­len­ni­als, talk­ing with them in a lan­guage that they ap­pre­ci­ate and find­ing out what they want,” he said.

Con­sult­ing firm Agility Re­search & Strat­egy found that mil­len­ni­als in Asia make an av­er­age of 4.2 leisure trips ev­ery year, rank­ing high­est among all age groups. So­cial me­dia re­search drives 62 per­cent of the gen­er­a­tion’s des­ti­na­tion de­ci­sions and 75 per­cent post about their trip on­line at least once while trav­el­ing.

The new “lan­guage” Liu has adopted aims to in­spire so­cial me­dia-ad­dicted mil­len­ni­als to take pic­tures and share them on­line.

In 2014, months af­ter he was ap­pointed the helms­man of the group, Liu and his team or­ga­nized a gala, invit­ing more than 40 do­mes­tic celebri­ties to Bei­jing’s Im­pe­rial An­ces­tor’s Tem­ple, a his­tor­i­cal site dat­ing back to 1420. The grand­est pub­lic­ity stunt in the ho­tel in­dus­try in China by far, the event se­cured more than 170 mil­lion on­line views within seven months and is be­lieved to have in­creased the group’s brand aware­ness by 30 per­cent.

The hospi­tal­ity in­dus­try doesn’t lack pro­fes­sion­als ... but it is hard to find a trend­set­ter or game changer.”

Liu Chen­jun, Wyn­d­ham Ho­tel Group’s pres­i­dent and manag­ing direc­tor for China

“That’s the cross­over 1.0 ver­sion, to let more Chi­nese know about Wyn­d­ham. To­day, we have moved into the next ver­sion, to get peo­ple to stay at Wyn­d­ham,” Liu said.

There are no con­crete plans for how many of the group’s hun- Road­Trip­sGuides

in Aus­tralia, a shrine for surfers, is in­cluded in the rec­om­mended routes in the launched by on­line trans­porta­tion ser­vice Didi Chux­ing in co­op­er­a­tion with 13 coun­tries’ tourism au­thor­i­ties.

Global

PRO­VIDED TO CHINA DAILY

Wyn­d­ham Ho­tel Group has de­cided to add more el­e­ments to at­tract young guests, in­clud­ing car­toon-themed dec­o­ra­tions.

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