Sol Meliá, the leading company in the Spanish hotel industry, and Jin Jiang International Hotel Company, the leading Chinese hotel chain and second largest travel agency group in China, signed a strategic agreement today to cooperate in marketing, sales, operations and development which will allow both chains to grow in the markets in which the other enjoys competitive advantages through a joint growth strategy in China and Europe.For both companies, the growing influence of Asian tourism creates a need to work closely on cultural exchanges and hotel management systems between China and Europe. Sol Meliá initiated its international growth in 1985 in Bali and has since witnessed growing demand from Europe for travel in Asia. In 2010 the company inaugurated the Hotel Gran Meliá Shanghai and has since been working on a plan to generate greater growth in China, and to stimulate the Chinese tourism feeder market towards Sol Melia’s hotels in Spain and Europe.
The alliance lays the foundations for a long-term partnership encompassing hotel development, marketing and sales, reservation systems and loyalty programs. To enhance the successful and sustainable development of its objectives, the agreement is largely based on reciprocal cultural exchanges including language, management processes and culture, gastronomy, and human resources training and development programs.
The alliance is viewed as a partnership amongst equals given that both companies are leaders in their respective markets and are of a similar size, in addition to the fact that the hotels included in the agreement have similar quality standards.
In a first stage, the partnership will focus on 6 hotels managed by Jin Jiang in major Chinese cities and 6 hotels managed by Sol Meliá in major European capitals. The selected hotels in China are the Jin Jiang Tower and Marvel hotel in Shanghai, the Xinai Jin Jiang hotel in Beijing, the Jin Jiang Sanya Royal Garden Resort in Sanya, the Wuhan Jin Jiang International Hotel in Wuhan and the West Capital International Hotel en Xian.
In Europe the agreement will apply to the Meliá Barcelona and Meliá Madrid in Spain, the Meliá White House in London, the Meliá Berlin, and the Meliá Royal Alma and Tryp François in Paris. All of the selected hotels provide similar levels of services and facilities for guests.
Confidence to grow together
To guarantee reciprocal awareness of corporate culture and management systems, in addition to enhancing sales and customer loyalty, Sol Meliá and Jin Jiang will create “mixed teams” in the 12 hotels to ensure the cultural adaptation of the Reception areas, guest rooms, and food and beverage services to European and Chinese preferences. The adaptation of hotel services to the needs of Chinese and European guests is one of the major challenges for both companies which, in the words of Gabriel Escarrer, Sol Melia’s Vicechairman and CEO, “aims to do away with the idea that European and Chinese business cultures are separated by immovable barriers such as mistrust”. According to him, “the most satisfactory thing about this project has been this cultural proximity in facing a shared challenge: preparing our companies for a near future in which the number of Chinese travelling to Europe will extraordinarily grow”.
Both companies will also together explore opportunities for growth in China and Europe. The agreement also includes training programmes in Mandarin Chinese and Spanish, in Oriental and European culture, and joint trainee and work experience programmes. Mr Yang Wei Min，Managing Director and CEO of Shanghai Jin Jiang International Hotels (Group) Co, Ltd said: “the new alliance will help extend our knowledge about new markets and help export our hotel and management culture to leading European cities, in line with the growing importance of China as a feeder market for European destinations “.