[photopress:JingJiang.jpg,full,alignright]China’s first industry set of guidelines to regulate budget inns is expected as early as the end of the year. The national standard, to be drafted by the China Hotels Association, is aimed to help regulate the industry.
At the moment there is no doubt that in the face of tough competition some budget hotels are offering service and accommodation that do not meet any standards simply because there are none.
Zhang Minghou, an official with the China Hotels Association, told Shanghai Daily, ‘It is time to work out an industry guideline as budget inns have been growing very rapidly all across the country. With national standards, everyone in the industry can improve customer service.’
The China Hotels Association now represents 8,000 to 9,000 hotels nationwide.
A recent national survey of the budget hotel industry by the Association found that occupancy rates at budget inns dropped to an average of 82.4% last year compared to 89% in 2005. Meanwhile, the average price for a budget room dropped 36% last year to RMB209 (US$27.34) a night.
This is a relatively young industry and teething problems are to be expected.
Shanghai-based Jin Jiang Inn — the undoubted leader in this area, the one probably the least in need of standards and the one illustrated here — did not open its first hotel in Shanghai until 1997. And the industry did not start its explosive expansion until about five years ago.
According to earlier media reports, there are probably more than 100 brands of budget hotel in China with leading domestic players such as Jin Jiang Inn, Home Inns and Motel 168, as well as overseas competitors like Super 8 and Holiday Inn Express.
Zhang Minghou said it is possible that budget hotels will be divided into three categories based on prices — RMB200 to 300 per night, RMB100 to 199 and below RMB100 yuan a night.
Last year, 125 million overseas travelers visited China, an increase of 3.9% from a year earlier. Meanwhile, 1.39 billion Chinese traveled within the country, a jump of 15% from 2005. And still the room prices and occupancy rates have dropped. Standards are plainly needed.
Source: Shanghai Daily