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New Zealand hotel chain launches China Optimum Service Standards


16:21, May 15, 2013

WELLINGTON, May 15 (Xinhua) -- New Zealand's largest hotel group, Accor, will introduce Optimum Service Standards at a range of its hotels to cater for the country's fastest growing tourism market -- China.

The move followed New Zealand Prime Minister John Key's call to upgrade services to Chinese visitors in order to attract a greater share of the market.

Last year, Chinese inbound to New Zealand increased by 24.7 percent, where as Accor hotels recorded a 59 percent increase in Chinese guests in 2012 compared to 2011.

Under the program, Accor hotels will provide a range of services specifically designed to cater for the needs of Chinese guests. These include particular foods as part of the breakfast buffet, Chinese speaking reception staff, Chinese language TV and newspapers, concierge assistance and other services.

A key component of the China Optimum Service Standards will be training and education of front-line hotel staff about the cultural background of China and the specific needs of Chinese guests.

Accor Vice President New Zealand and Fiji, Garth Simmons, said it was highly encouraging that the New Zealand prime minister had made upgrading services for Chinese tourists such a priority and initiatives such as Accor's Optimum Service Standards would address the issues he raised.

"Many of the provisions of our Optimum Service Standards program are fairly obvious, but they do require a fair amount of investment in additional services, training and implementation. There is little point adding a few services, without a comprehensive program to support it. We want to train all staff to say basic greetings in Chinese and, just as importantly, to understand their culture and practices," he added.

"We are doing something to make the New Zealand experience more welcoming for Chinese visitors.

"We do not believe that Chinese travelers want a hotel that is fully owned, managed and staffed by Chinese people. This would defeat the point of travel, but we do believe that much more can be done to make Chinese visitors feel more comfortable. Many of these are very simple things, but our hotels have already experienced a very positive reaction by implementing them," said Simmons.

Accor operates 34 hotels in New Zealand under brands including Sofitel, Pullman, MGallery, Quay West, Sebel, Grand Mercure, Novotel, Mercure and Ibis. Initially, eight of Accor's hotels will introduce the China Optimum Service Standards in three of New Zealand's most popular destinations -- Queenstown, Rotorua and Auckland -- for the Chinese inbound market. Other destinations will follow later.

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