Otago Polytechnic

Safety, cleanliness and staff friendliness: According to Rachel Byars, Principal Lecturer in Tourism at Otago Polytechnic’s College of Enterprise and Development, this is the winning formula for hoteliers seeking to attract Chinese travellers.

Hotels and accommodation have long been both Rachel’s teaching and personal interests. After observing the rapid rise in Chinese visitors to New Zealand over the past two to five years, and inspired by Dunedin’s sister city relationship with Shanghai, Rachel set out to discover the factors that influence Chinese visitor selection of accommodation in New Zealand to further inform her teaching practice.

One of the things Rachel was keen to discover was whether there was an increasing move towards more independent self-drive holidays for Chinese visitors. Her results showed that, overwhelmingly, 89 per cent of Chinese visitors came as part of a tour group staying at pre-booked accommodation in chain hotels.

Despite this, signs of change may be on the horizon. Of the tourists surveyed, most said they would be looking to come back to New Zealand again, this time on a more independent holiday.

“As part of my research I also interviewed accommodation operators in Dunedin and Queenstown. My desire is to help local businesses gain an understanding of this specific visitor segment’s needs so they can match what they provide to the requirements of their visitors,” says Rachel.

“I discovered that having signage or pamphlets in Mandarin or Cantonese would be a huge drawcard for these visitors as would living up to the concept of manaakitanga; a personalised connection approach.”


Byars, R. (2015) Factors that influence Chinese visitor selection of accommodation in New Zealand. 13th Asia Pacific Forum for Graduate Students' Research in Tourism Conference in conjunction with 14th Asia Pacfic Forum Conference 10-12 June, Auckland, New Zealand.