As China's middle class grows, Best Western International is going to be there to accommodate them. The Wall Street Journal reports that the hotel company plans to open 13 hotels now through the end of 2015 in second- and third-tier Chinese cities. Currently it has 39 hotels in China.
Best Western China CEO William Dong told the Journal that Chinese travelers are becoming more adventurous and eschewing the no-frills group tours that are a common sight in many parts of the country. "It's not like before, all those domestic travelers in groups with one flag taking a picture and then running away to another place," Dong said. "Families stay for three days or even one week."
Best Western and others expect budget hotels to grow from their current 20-percent share of the Chinese hotel market. "In the upscale market you've got 800 hotels in the pipeline through China, but you've got an equal number at the economy level that are now being developed," Ron Pohl, SVP of brand-management and member services at Best Western International, told the Journal. "That's a pretty significant shift."
While the overall average daily hotel rate in China hits 599.64 yuan, according to STR Global, economy-level hotel rates are significantly cheaper. In the first quarter of 2014, average room rates for three-star hotels were 206.22 yuan, down from 220.2 yuan a year earlier, according to the Chinese national statistical bulletin of star-rated hotels.