Published on : Thursday, April 19, 2018
Peter L Herweck, President of Golden Tulip China at the ITB China preview spoke exclusively with Travel And Tour World on time share, vacation rentals in the luxury space, challenges from alternative spaces and the growing technology demands in the hotel industry.
Travel And Tour World: How is your hotel performing?
Peter L Herweck: Golden Tulip is a traditional European chain, 55 years old with a lot of experience and service quality we basically transformed the brand image by 2017. I think by now the Golden Tulip Shanghai Rainbow has set standards to be our new world-wide flagship with the implementation of our theme –Playtime, Anytime. It will be transforming image and will be a new way of doing business in the hotel.
Travel And Tour World: Golden Tulip plans to come up with two more hotels by the end of 2018. What are the big challenges or opportunities you see for expanding into alternative spaces?
Peter L Herweck: Two hotels in 2018 all are actually planned only in Shanghai, for China and South East Asia we are actually planning 300 hotels.
We do have a very big footprint because Golden Tulip is under the umbrella of Jin Jiang International holdings, the biggest operator in China. We have a very strong backup so we are confident that we come up with 300 hotels. Right now we are already running 14 hotels in China and only this year three hotels in Shanghai.
As far as challenges are concerned the market is saturated, all the big brands are here, people want a new face either or a new interest in the brand. Golden Tulip is an upper class four star brand which could easily be a five star but we would like it to be the best four star than a mediocre five star.
Travel And Tour World: Lately, there has been a lot of interest in vacation rentals in the luxury space. Would Golden Tulip ever consider residential accommodation for short term use or as a time share?
Peter L Herweck: For the time being it is not in our top priority but time sharing and vacation rental is something which is coming up. It is strong in Australia and the US, in Europe and China it is in the very beginning stage. May be different areas, locations so different priorities. But in China it is not in the immediate focus.
Travel And Tour World: How are you responding to the demands of more technology, mobile capabilities and maintain a high touch experience?
Peter L Herweck: For high tech mobility devices you need to have high speed internet access. I know lots of hotels, they take a minimum so that people can be online. But here in Golden Tulip we give very high speed internet in different areas where you can access without any password or you do not need a room number, you walk in and easily access. Connectivity today is a very important factor be it in the lounges restaurants, rooms anywhere our guests can have access. Next in line is to build application that will directly connect us with the customers.
For the Jing Jiang Group we have several apps, we have hotels app which is a subsidiary for our technology. We are creating more apps so that you can easily book hotels and the next generation app will be more high tech so that you can check in with the app in the hotel.
Travel And Tour World: There has been a dramatic shift in luxury too, consumers these days prefer ‘Ultra –luxury’. How do you maintain that level?
Peter L Herweck: I think there is a very limited demand if you see the bigger picture, in the four star group there is a price value issue and luxury beyond this is only affordable for a selected group. Royal Tulip is a five star plus brand Golden Tulip is our base brand which serves a wide range of customers.
Travel And Tour World: What facilities are available for the bleisure travellers?
Peter L Herweck: It starts with our unique swimming pool, spa facilities on the third floor , outside space connected through a lounge , fining dining and restaurant, the whole day restaurant that offers food from South East Asia, India and all the way to Japan, any taste you want to try is available here.
Travel And Tour World: What are you looking forward to from ITB China?
Peter L Herweck: ITB is a very important trade exhibition, since many years it started in Southeast Asia and in the USA, it shows the importance of tourism industry as a whole , and we are very happy to have ITB China this year in Shanghai. It is a very good show for Chinese travellers both for leisure and business as you get a glimpse of what the world has to offer.
I think the number of Chinese travellers is growing in double digits every year with Europe in particular, Paris, Berlin, Germany and London. These cities can realise the increase of Chinese customers and are welcomed as the per person spending is among the top in the world.