Are we China ready? A study of Western Australian hotels and Chinese tourists’ appetites
School of Business and Law / Markets and Services Research Centre (MASRC)
In recent years we have seen a dramatic increase in outbound tourism from China. In response to this growth Tourism Western Australia recently asked tourism operators a pointed question “Are you China ready?”. In this paper we address this question. In particular, we audit how Perth hotels cater to the travellers’ food requirements and palates specific to room service (RS). The extant research and anecdotal evidence suggests that although Chinese travellers are interested in experiencing local cuisines they also strongly desire Chinese food when abroad. From a hotel’s perspective, catering for the needs of guests is a vehicle to boost RS revenues and consequently increase revenue earning which leads to improved hotel profitability. However, are Perth hotels ready to fulfil the appetites of the Chinese travellers? To answer this question, we collected and undertook content analysis of 20 hotel menus from 4 and 5 star hotels in metropolitan Perth to determine availability of Chinese cuisine to hotel in-house guests. The sample menus indicated that Chinese cuisine availability was very limited. However, there were a number of hotels that offered ‘Asian inspired’ cuisine. The findings of the study suggest that as of late 2014 Perth hotels were not ‘China ready’ particularly when the diversity of Chinese cuisines was considered. Given that the China market is highly attractive in terms of growth and revenue earnings, we recommend that hotel food and beverage (F&B) directors should analyse their ethnic Chinese guests’ requirements according to their place of origin, and adapt their menus to cater to the culinary expectations of this burgeoning target market.