The programme, which will see all IHG staff undergo service training in Chinese etiquette, culture and hospitality and the implementation of a number of Chinese services and food and beverage offerings, is designed to prepare hotels for the increasing number of Chinese guests expected through their doors.
According to IHG and Oxford Economics' The Future of Chinese Travel report, last year China took over the US to become the world's largest outbound tourism market and Chinese travellers are some of the largest travel spenders worldwide. London is also estimated to be the largest European market for Chinese room nights and will double the number of Chinese visitors it receives by 2023, accounting for over 60 per cent of all Chinese arrivals to the UK.
IHG's 'Zhou Dao' hotels will have Mandarin-speaking staff working on front desk or via 24/7 phone support and will be able to accept China UnionPay cards. Guests will also be given a special welcome pack while in rooms there will be Chinese tea and Chinese TV channels available.
So far 100 IHG hotels have introduced the programme with another 150 expected to do so by the end of the year.
Kenneth Macpherson, chief executive officer, Greater China IHG, said: "Upon entering the Chinese market over 30 years ago, IHG has become the largest international hotel company in China and has amassed a deep understanding of Chinese consumers.
"With our unparalleled scale and distribution, as well as IHG Rewards Club, the world’s first and largest hotel loyalty programme, we are ready to welcome more Chinese travellers to enjoy the ‘best ever’ lodging experience that they are familiar with at home.”
The term Zhou Dao integrates IHG's Chinese name 'Zhou' with the Chinese philosophical concept 'Dao'. The term is designed to convey the 'attentive, thorough and considerate courtesy' the company expects to offer to guests from China.