China families give hotel rooms the miss

UNIQUE: Chinese visitors now prefer non-standardised accommodation during holidays, like spending a night among sharks in an underwater structure


    Oct 04, 2016

    China families give hotel rooms the miss


    A CLEAN room to sleep in and a fully functional shower are no longer the only requirements that well-off Chinese travellers look for while booking hotel rooms.

    As a surging number of families travel, demands for cooking facilities and space for kids to play are rising.

    Home away from home is what Chinese families are seeking - and specialist travel firms are cropping up to meet such demands.

    Pan Caifu, vice-president of Xiaozhu, a Chinese online marketplace that enables travellers and home owners to list, search and rent vacation properties, said families are emerging as the driving force for the company's business growth.

    This is particularly true during public holidays like the Oct 1 to 7 National Day break.

    "More families travel with children under 18 these days.

    "They are expected to shift from booking hotel rooms during vacations to reserving lodges through online platforms... because non-standardised private apartments can better meet their needs," he said.

    Hotels, in contrast, do not have kitchens for young parents to warm the milk for their babies, or make basic meals, he explained.

    According to Mr Pan, bookings on Xiaozhu's platform and app jumped five times between 2014 and 2015.

    Bookings by travelling families with children aged under 18 surged 20 times during the same period.

    Besides Xiaozhu, companies such as Zhubaijia and Airbnb are also focusing on providing home-like accommodation to China's outbound travellers with deep pockets.

    Nearly half of China is expected to travel during the National Day holiday.

    The country's tourists are forecast to spend a fortune over the weeklong period, which started on Oct 1.

    Roughly 590 million Chinese will tour during the vacation, up 12 per cent over last year, a China Tourism Academy report said.