China today resembles the motel boom in 1950s USA
Whereas until recently big-name international chains were focussing on providing luxury hotels in China for international business travellers, now mid-priced international hotel brands are opening properties all over the country as a rapidly growing and increasingly mobile middle class buys cars and takes off onto newly build highways. The people in this huge, recently created domestic travel market need affordable places to stay the night.
For example, Hyatt Hotels plans two Hyatt Place hotels and one Hyatt House in the suburbs of Shanghai. Radisson owner Carlson is taking its mid-level Park Inn brand to China, although there is no specific date for this. Wyndham Hotel Group has 34 properties in China with the Howard Johnson name, while InterContinental Hotels Group has 84 under its Holiday Inn and Holiday Inn Express brands.
Carlson CEO Hubert Joly compares today’s hotel industry in China to the post-war US, when roadside motels sprung up everywhere. Hyatt CEO Mark Hoplamazian says: “The proportion of intra-China travel is growing. These [new brands] will appeal to young professionals and business travellers who don’t need a full-service luxury hotel.”
The Wall Street Journal
[pictured: Double-bed guest room, Beijing Huacai Holiday Inn Express]