Luxury hotels experienced a significant contraction in 2020 with the industry being particularly badly affected in the first quarter of the year by lockdown and ongoing travel restrictions. The government-enforced lockdowns led to booking cancellations forcing many hotels across the country to close.
Prior to the pandemic, category growth was being supported by an increase in demand for wellness retreats, red tourism and glamping. Moreover, there had been a rise in luxury hotel usage due to the growing number of affluent Chinese consumers seeking more personalised and unique accommodation experiences.
Marriott international Inc retained the lead in luxury hotels in 2019. Marriott International operates a number of luxury hotel brands in China, including Renaissance, JW Marriott, Bulgari, Edition and Autograph.
International hotel groups are increasingly partnering with leading digital platforms in order to reach a larger consumer base. For instance, Accor recently completed a month-long sales and marketing promotion campaign in China, featuring a distinctive approach to programme design, media planning and creative distribution via leading digital platforms, including those owned by Alibaba and Tencent.
The outlook for the Chinese luxury hotel industry is anticipated to remain positive due to the growing number of inbound and domestic arrivals in the coming years when travel and movement restrictions ease and the pandemic comes under control in countries around the world. However, new and more virulent variants of the virus at the end of 2020 and early 2021 are causing considerable concern and generating higher rates of infections and deaths than the first waves of the virus in some countries.
With younger consumers increasingly interested in experiences, both because of the capacity to share them on social media and the desire to get away from stressful working lives, and a growing consumer interest in health and wellness, luxury hotels offering spas and therapies were becoming increasingly popular prior to the pandemic. Wellness tourism was gaining momentum in China, with luxury hotels providing retreats offering integrated health experiences and lifestyle coaching to relax the body and de-stress the mind.
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