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Accorp prepares to open its first hotel in Taiwan

Following an in-depth analysis of the market, Accor will open its first hotel in Taiwan — the Novotel Taipei Taoyuan International Airport — in November 2009.

In preparation for its debut in Taiwan, Accor recently completed a customer survey on travel patterns to Taiwan. The online survey was jointly conducted with global research leader Nielsen among Accor's Advantage Plus members in China, Hong Kong, and Singapore.

"Knowledge on customers is crucial for any hotel operator," said Robert Murray, the senior vice president of Accor Greater China. "As a result of this research, we have a better understanding of our customers' needs and our marketing and product development will be aligned to the outcomes. We expect this research to also assist the owner of the hotel — China Airlines — who we will jointly work with to develop and grow the inbound travel market to Taiwan."

According to the survey, Taiwan remains one of the most attractive travel destinations in Asia. Of all those who had previously visited Taiwan, 60% claimed that they would definitely travel to Taiwan again in the next 24 months.

In terms of accommodation respondents from mainland China seem to be the most demanding. Nearly 80% regard internationally branded four and five-star hotels as their top choice, followed by respondents from Hong Kong and Singapore. The survey has also found that respondents from mainland China were willing to pay over CNY650 per night on average for accommodation, as opposed to CNY547 per night that Singapore travelers were willing to pay.

While Hong Kong and Singapore respondents consider the location of a hotel the most decisive factor, Chinese mainland customers believe that both facilities and location are more important. Free Internet, a pillow menu and rain showers have ranked as the top three value-added facilities across mainland China, Hong Kong, and Singapore.

An interesting finding was that environmental initiatives by hotels also have a larger impact on Chinese mainland customers during their decision-making, as nearly 60% think that a hotel's commitment to environmental initiatives influences their booking decisions. This represents far more than those from Hong Kong (45%) and Singapore (36%). The top three environmental concerns remain the same across all regions — polluting water resources, global warming, and climate change.

Murray added: "It is pleasing to confirm that Taiwan is high on the anticipated travel destinations with those polled, reaffirming our expectations for this new Novotel which is strategically located at Taipei Taoyuan International Airport, Taiwan's busiest international airport with easy access to most tourist attractions in the island."

Accor China says that it will take immediate action on the findings. Novotel Taipei Taoyuan International Airport and Novotel Beijing Sanyuan are to pilot a pillow menu, initially to trialed by Advantage Plus members. While rain showers are already on offer in premier floor rooms of the newest Novotels. Accor plans to instal rain showers as renovation is undertaken — as was the case with Novotel Peace Beijing. Free Internet is currently available in most Accor hotels, either as WiFi in public areas and/or in rooms.

(China Hospitality News August 28, 2009)