The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, L.L.C., of Chevy Chase, Md., currently operates 80 hotels in the Americas, EuropeAsia, theMiddle EastAfrica, and the Caribbean. More than 30 hotel and residential projects are under development around the globe. The Ritz-Carlton is the only service company to have twice earned the prestigious Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award, an award that originated in 1987. Following a year of comprehensive research to deepen the understanding of  Chinese consumers, The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, L.L.C. has launched a new Chinese website and debuts today, a page on Sina Weibo; the first Mandarin language social media channel for the luxury brand.



Photo credit The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, L.L.C.


These major digital channel launches underline the commitment of The Ritz-Carlton to one of its largest growing markets, and a continued focus on the digital space. In the quest to further engage current and aspiring customers in China, The Ritz-Carlton will launch a Chinese mobile site by year-end, and there are plans to double the inventory of Ritz-Carlton hotels in China from eight to 16, within the next three years.


Social media has emerged as a powerful communications tool in China, and Sina Weibo as a leading micro-blogging website; one of the most popular sites in China. Over 30% of Internet users subscribe to the social media channel which was launched in August 2009, and currently has more than 500 million registered users posting 100 million messages each day. Sina Weibo allows The Ritz-Carlton to effectively customize content in-language, to be regionally and culturally relevant, and to showcase, educate and discuss luxury travel and the global world of Ritz-Carlton in the 80 destinations in which they have a presence.  


Two sets of research were conducted, each taking six months. The first study was an online pathways project to understand how affluent Chinese consumers felt about our digital presence, and that of our competitors.  The second piece of research focused on website designs, content structure, website navigation, digital assets, photographs, page layouts and social conversation.  


Chinese tourists now represent a rapidly expanding demographic. A population that now has the funds and the freedom to explore the world on their own. Chinese consumers have changed tastes and habits and the world of luxury has become more of a lifestyle than a one-off occasion. The next wave of luxury consumption in China shows a migration towards heritage and underlying quality; both of which The Ritz-Carlton is renowned for.


*According to estimates of the China Outbound Tourism Research InstituteChina is slated to become the world's largest outbound tourist market, with a projected 90 million people expected to be traveling overseas by the year's end. In addition, Chinese tourists have surpassed Americans and Germans in terms of expenditures, spending a record-breaking US $102 billion last year.


**According to the Bain & Company's 2012 Luxury Goods Worldwide Market Study, global luxury sales were estimated to reach US $278 billion in 2012, up by 10% year-on-year, of which, luxury goods sales in China were projected to reach almost US $20 billion in 2012. Bain & Company expected a 7% luxury consumption growth in China in 2012. Acceleration of Chinese consumers buying luxury products overseas is a trend to watch. It is estimated that overseas consumption of luxury goods accounted for around 60% of the total Chinese luxury spending in 2012.

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