Dragons banish the stars


BANGKOK, 5 October, 2017: If tourism and hotel operators want to capture the attention of China’s traveller they should think dragons rather than stars, or so a new website portal, Feel Like Home, would have us believe.

The brand new website is promoting its “Five Dragons” rating system that is supposed to help Chinese travellers identify their preferred restaurants or hotels when overseas.

Its core message runs along the lines of we need to have our dragons stacked up if we want to be China friendly.

The “Feel Like Home” claims to be the world’s first website aiming exclusively at Chinese travellers, and helping hospitality professionals (mainly hotels and restaurants) worldwide, to make the “necessary changes to their businesses” to adapt to Chinese customers.

Feel Like Home has introduced a “Five Dragon” rating system, based on the scale of a one to five-dragon, certification to “illustrate the degree of adaptation to the needs of Chinese travellers.”

The website notes that China’s tourists are flocking to Asian destinations mainly because flight times are short, which fits with China’s short paid holiday rules.

Unlike European traveller, Chinese are time poor, especially when it comes to paid holidays.  For example, the short holiday rule is having a negative impact on cruise bookings in China, a market that has great promise, but is not delivering to expectations for major cruise operators.

According to the site, the most popular countries for outbound Chinese travellers are Taiwan, South Korea, Japan, Hong Kong, Thailand, France, and Italy.

So no prizes for guessing where the website intends to rustle up candidates to buy into dragon certification.

To gain  five dragons, the website judges insist on you having  at least one Chinese-speaking employee, a Chinese online booking system, fast check-in and check-out service, city maps and guides in Chinese, and group activities as well as tours conducted in Chinese.

In terms of amenities, the hotel must provide Chinese menus, slippers for each guest, stock three varieties of tea including jasmine and at least one Chinese television channel.

Essential foods at the breakfast buffet are hard-boiled eggs and congee, and condiments such as soy sauce and sesame oil.

For restaurants they also need at least one Chinese-speaking employee, one or more Chinese alcoholic beverages such as Huangjiu, one or more Chinese dishes such as noodles or dim sum, Chinese condiments and sauces, a fresh fruits selection, still water, chopsticks, and of course, a Chinese version of their menus.

Currently, more than 150 hospitality companies from the world over have applied and are in the process of evaluation and certification.

For more details of the Five-Dragon Ratings visit https://www.feellikehome.cn/