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Hotels look to tap new clients and save costs
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Hotels will develop new customer groups and save costs this year as part of measures they will take amid the global economic crisis, participants said Tuesday at a hotel forum held in Shanghai.

Even economic hotels, which said that their business is less affected by the crisis than their luxurious counterparts, will seize opportunities to expand.

Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc intends to tap the potential business in conferences and exhibitions, which could help them to create a new customer group, to enhance its services to attract more customers.

"For example, we will improve the e-conference facilities," said Qian Jin, vice-president of China operations for Starwood, without elaborating.

Starwood also plans to save "5 percent of the human resource costs and 3 percent of the energy costs this year," Qian added, as part of the hotelier's measures to battle the crisis.

The Home Inns, one of the main economic hotel brands in the country, said some luxurious hotel clients may choose economic hotels during the financial crisis, and it's one area the chain will develop.

"We expect to build about 500 more hotels in the coming three years," said Sun Jian, its chief executive.

A survey by the China Tourist Hotels Association showed that five-star hotels in 14 Chinese cities suffered a bigger drop in their bookings than three or four-star hotels.

(Shanghai Daily April 1, 2009)

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