The traditional Chinese rice porridge, called congee, will soon become a staple of hotel breakfast buffets in America and abroad as U.S.-based hotel chains compete for growing numbers of Chinese travelers.
The Chinese dish is part of a set of broader initiatives to attract Chinese travelers at hotel giants Hilton Worldwide Inc. and Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide. This summer, both hotel companies are rolling out hospitality standards centered on items that cater to Chinese guests in hotels across the world.
Starwood plans to announce a program Monday called “Starwood Personalized Travel,” which will require the company’s 1,051 hotels—including the Sheratons, Westin and W chains—to offer a set of specific services for Chinese travelers, including in-room tea kettles, slippers and translation services, in addition to new menu items.
The program will start at 19 hotels in cities such as New York, London, Mexico City, Seoul and San Francisco, where Chinese business is rapidly growing. The program will cover all Starwood hotels by the end of next year, the company said.
All Starwood hotels are beginning efforts to hire at least one person on staff who speaks a Chinese language. Chinese guests will receive a note from the general manager translated into Chinese that offers the amenities available to them, such as tea kettles, razors, toothbrushes and combs.