Hilton Hotels have mastered the art of making guests feel comfortable during their travels. However, if you’ve ever traveled to a foreign country where you don’t speak the language and the customs are different, you know a smile and warm welcome can go a long way. The company recently introduced the expansion of their Hilton Huanying (huan ying) program to welcome Chinese guests.
I had the pleasure of meeting with several Chinese journalists during their visit to San Francisco to experience the program first-hand. With outbound tourism from China forecast to double from 100 million to 200 million by 2020, capturing the Chinese tourist market is key to many hotels. Hilton was a pioneer in rolling out the Chinese welcome mat back in 2011 and continues its expansion with a more comprehensive program in 2015.
“Huanying is an essential part of the Hilton hospitality promise, welcoming Chinese travelers with a level of service and personalization we know they expect and enjoy,” said Rob Palleschi, global head, full service brands, Hilton Worldwide. “Since being introduced in 2011 at 51 properties in 13 countries, Huanying has empowered more than a million Chinese travelers to explore new destinations with the comforts of home.”
Some of those comforts include a Huanying greeting in Chinese; Mandarin interpretation services, guest room amenities such as tea kettles, Jasmine tea, slippers and a Mandarin-speaking television channel. Additionally, the breakfast buffet offer two varieties of congee with condiments, fried noodles, dim sum and fried rice, as well as fried crullers, hard boiled eggs and Chinese tea.
Not all Hilton Hotels offer the Huanying program, but hotels may request the program if they have an average of four Chinese travelers requesting rooms per day. This is why my hometown of San Francisco is an integral component to the Huanying program. The Hilton San Francisco Union Square, Hilton San Francisco Financial District, Hilton San Francisco Airport Bayfront in Burlingame and Parc 55 San Francisco a Hilton hotel, all offer the program due to our large influx of Chinese travelers.
Not only does San Francisco offer the largest Chinatown neighborhood outside of Asia, it’s the oldest Chinatown in North America and being a city of foodies, we serve up some excellent, authentic Sichuan cuisine. I also love that Hilton SF Financial District has a karaoke room for guests to enjoy in addition to amazing views of Coit Tower.
Have you traveled to China? What are your favorite things about San Francisco’s Chinatown? Article, video and photos courtesy of Nancy D. Brown. No red peppers were consumed in the creation of this story.