Hospitality trade responds to new era of austerity

By Fu Chao ( China Daily ) Updated: 2015-01-31 08:04:29

De added that festive dinner menus have been changed to feature more organic food instead of the typical high-end Chinese banquet of expensive seafood.

An executive at a Shanghai hotel said sales revenues from annual dinners this year dipped compared to a few years ago.

"Most of the deals we signed were with corporate clients. There were almost no clients from government or State-owned companies."

He said that there was growth in sales of wedding banquets compared to the previous year as the hotel began stressing wedding and birthday celebrations.

A special birthday party called baobaoyan - literally meaning "baby's banquet" in Chinese - is a traditional ritual when parents host dinner parties to celebrate their child reaching an early milestone, most commonly at one month or 100 days old.

He said that the hotel keeps in touch with its wedding banquet clients to seek more potential customers for the baobaoyan rite.

Besides appealing to general consumers, hotels need to come up with more programs to stand out from the crowd, said industry experts.

The Westin Guangzhou continues to court upscale international corporations for business banquets. It is adjusting the price and improving facilities to offer better packages this year, said Samantha Long, director of catering and event management.

Wendy Soo, director of catering and conference services at The Ritz-Carlton Beijing, said her hotel's brand culture and customer loyalty give it an edge in the competitive festive season market.

The hotel is also working on tapping into the leisure and vacation market with a range of packages.

(China Daily 01/31/2015 page10)

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