New hotel services aimed at Chinese and Indian tourists

International hotel group Accor is to roll out a new set of services specifically tailored for visitors from China and India as it tries to appeal to the rapidly-growing number of tourists from the two countries.

The company, which operates hotel brands such as Sofitel, Pullman, Novotel, ibis and Motel 6, will begin rolling out its new Optimum Service Standards this year in its Australian hotels, where visitors from emerging markets are making up a steadily increasing number of the total visitors.

The new scheme will mean that parts of the hotel stay will be specifically tailored to the nationality in question, with particular foods being added to the hotels' breakfast buffet, for instance.

It will mean an increase in the number of reception staff able to speak Chinese or Indian languages, and the addition of Chinese and Indian television channels to help travelers feel at home.

Specific concierge assistance will be provided, and front-line hotel staff are set to be trained on the requirements and needs of travelers from the respective regions.

Accor is Australia's largest hotel chain and the move is a clear signal that it is gearing up for an influx of tourists with different cultural expectations than those of Australia's traditional markets such as New Zealand, the UK, the US and Japan.

Arrivals from China are set to become Australia's second-largest inbound market after New Zealand by 2018, and China recently overtook the UK as Australia's top inbound market by economic value.

Although Australia could be the starting point, it's unlikely to be the end of the story - last week, a report released by the Boston Consulting Group predicted that while the majority of China's estimated 55 million annual outbound tourists head to relatively close-by destinations such as Hong Kong, soon they will head further afield.

With the Chinese tourism market also predicted to overtake Japan as the world's second-largest by 2013 and then account for 14 percent of the global market by 2020, it may not be too long before the rest of the world's hotels have to diversify their breakfast buffets.