Welcoming the World

March 19, 2012

A USA Today headline caught my eye the other day.  It read: "Chinese travelers are seeing the USA in record numbers."  A follow up article said: “NYC’s Marriott Marquis ready for Chinese visitors.”   

What’s happening in U.S. tourism is really exciting.  Barriers are being removed and we’re taking steps to attract the Chinese customer.  And, with Times Square one of the world’s top tourist destinations, our associates at the Marriott Marquis are being taught many Asian customs like bowing to the other party, exchanging business cards the proper way, and saying “hello” and “thank you” in Mandarin.

Marriott Marquis Imperial Suite

There have been some hotel signage adjustments, too, at the Marquis.  The number four is a bad luck number in Asian cultures.  So our largest suites on floors 44 and 45 have been changed to “Imperial Suite” and other non-numeric names to reduce use of the number four.

Other Marriott hotels are also making cultural changes.  Franco Campanello a lead concierge in Boston is taking Mandarin classes and he’s looking into publishing a Mandarin subway map.

Frank Campanello

As our economy slowly recovers, the influx of Chinese tourists will make a big impact on our industry.  Europe is already feeling a bounce.  Last month, according to the World Luxury Association, Chinese visitors to Europe spent $7.2 billion on luxury goods.  Those purchases accounted for 62 percent of all luxury items sold on the continent.

When President Obama signed an executive order easing visa travel restrictions, he declared that our travel and tourism industry is “open for business.”

And wow is it ever!  Arrivals from China are forecast to increase by a whopping 274% between 2012 and 2016. It’s the fastest growth, by far, of any country, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce.

NYT headline

I’m proud of the way our hotels are changing and adapting their customs to welcome our Asian friends.  

That’s what hospitality is all about.  As the USA Today headline said: Marriott is “Ready for Chinese Visitors.”

I’m Bill Marriott and thanks for helping me keep Marriott on the move.

Listen To Blog Chinese Tourists


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The influx of Chinese tourists will make a big impact on our industry indeed

What a great way to encourage Chinese visitors and ensure that they stay at the Marriot! In this time of increased tourism, making visitors feel comfortable is of the utmost importance and these changes will guarantee a return stay. The Mariott has truly gone above and beyond and I admire their forward thinking.

I think its great that our tourism industry is on the rise, with all these new tourists coming from China. It is also great that Marriott is doing whatever they can to appeal to those Chinese tourists. It shows that Marriott puts its customers first no matter what part of the world they come from, whether its the U.S.A. or China.

I am extremely impressed that you're hotels are making the effort to make everyone feel welcome. Good for you Marriott!

After reading your blog about "Welcoming the world" the first thing that popped into my mind was something that should be obvious to everyone who has any knowledge of Bill Marriott. That President Obama would ask Bill to become America's Ambassador at Large with the sole purpose of exposing the countries of the world to American hospitality.

Who better to serve in such a capacity than the President himself.
Any chance of it happening?

We need the tourist business. It is refreshing to hear that we are trying to learn Mandarin Chinese basics and some of the manners. I go to China every year and stay at the Marriott in multiple citifies. Chinese are learning English in very large numbers. I am travelling to China in April and, off course, will be staying at three Marriott Hotels. The Chinese full service Marriott’s offer excellent service for the best value consistently. We have a lot to learn from the Chinese. Syed T. A. Naqvi Platinum Emeritus.