The key Chinese hospitality customs

16 Feb 2018 | by Les Roches


When it comes to hospitality, China is a force to be reckoned with. This is due to their attentive and friendly service, as well as their incorporation of the latest technologies. As we celebrate Chinese New Year, here are just a few of the many customs ingrained in Chinese hospitality.

Switching the roles

In most cultures, both the guest and the host play important roles in hospitality. On one hand, hospitality staff will treat guests with due care and attention. On the other, guests are expected to adhere to the rules, show respect and follow typical guest etiquette.

In China, it is slightly different – guests are encouraged to make themselves at home and do what they like (within reason). A host will treat them with the utmost respect, whether it is in a hotel or in someone’s home.

Going above and beyond

If you make the trip to China, you can be sure that you won’t ever be bored. Hospitality employees will provide itineraries, activities and even take you out to see sights or for something to eat.

This attentive, friendly service continues right up until you leave. You won’t merely say goodbye at the checkout desk – you will be accompanied outside until your taxi arrives. If you’re heading to the train station, an employee will not only make sure you get to the station, but will also see you off at the platform.

Modern trends

Alongside excellent service, Chinese hospitality also readily promotes the use of state-of-the-art technology. Spring Airlines recently equipped its flight attendants with Google Glass, helping improve onboard customer service. Cabin crew use the device to help identify specific passengers who have requested food and beverages.

In the world of hotels, the Chinese instant messaging service WeChat is becoming more and more vital. For example, the Las Vegas LINQ Hotel and Casino has partnered with WeChat to create a seamless hotel experience. Through the service, guests can control their lights, curtains and locks, with an automatic setting enabling them to switch and lock everything without having to fumble around for switches.

LINQ guests can also use WeChat to interact with Ben, the hotel’s very own robot concierge. Ben responds in real time via the app, providing helpful info on the hotel, as well as nearby restaurants and events.

Un/lucky numbers

In China, the number four is considered bad luck due its pronunciation being similar to the Chinese word for death. This means that some hotels veto having a fourth room or even a fourth floor. Conversely, the number eight is considered lucky. This is due to it having the same pronunciation as the Chinese word for flow. So, if you find yourself staying in Room Eight of a Chinese hotel, expect your stay to go very smoothly.

If you’re celebrating Chinese New Year in the country, we hope our list of hospitality customs has adequately prepared you. To all our Chinese students, staff and alumni, Happy New Year!

Les Roches


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