Chain Foresees Opportunity In Chinese, Foreign Business Travelers and Tourists Throughout The Mainland
The American hotel chain Wyndham Worldwide has opened the doors of its first Chinese 5-star hotel in the coastal city of Xiamen, one of China’s most important port cities and the location from which millions of Chinese emigrated and explored the world starting in the Song Dynasty. Since the 1980s, however, Xiamen has gained notoriety not for being the place from which people left China, but where foreign and government investment money flowed. As one of China’s first Special Economic Zones (SEZs), Xiamen was one of the first cities in China to be allowed to experiment with capitalism since 1949. Over the past 30 years, the city has transformed from a typical port with limited infrastructure to China’s second most livable city, and an increasingly important business and trade locale for foreign and Chinese businesspeople alike.
Wyndham’s choice of Xiamen as the first location from which to gain a foothold in the Chinese mainland, then, is not surprising. Already, a host of other luxury or mid-range hotels are located in Xiamen, including Sheraton, Sofitel, Crown Plaza, Millennium and Marco Polo. As the newest entrant in this market, Wyndham will have to set itself apart — and the company plans to do this by offering a 5-star experience that appeals to its guests’ cultural and/or luxury sensibilities. As USA Today writes,
For Wyndham Worldwide, the new hotel represents its first luxury hotel in China, where it already has 175 hotels franchised under other brands. Though Xiamen isn’t China’s biggest market, Wyndham liked the location because Xiamen’s a gateway city with commercial links to Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan, says Ken Greene, Wyndham’s new president for the Asia-Pacific region.
The company plans more Wyndham-brand hotels in China, though it has no other deals to announce just yet. Greene’s presence is a good indicator that more deals will come. Formerly the group president for Wyndham’s brands in the USA and president of Days Inn, Greene last month took the newly created job to grow Wyndham’s presence in Asia-Pacific.
The Wyndham Xiamen overlooks the popular tourist spot Gulangyu Island and is located 20 minutes from Xiamen Gaoqi International Airport, 20 minutes from Xiamen International Conference & Exhibition Centre, 10 minutes from the railway station and 5 minutes by foot from the ferry terminal and the newly opened BRT (Bus Rapid Transportation) transportation network.