Maria Yue & Steve Xu
Though the mid-scale hotel business is still in its infancy in China, it has become a new growing competitive market attracting a variety of international hotel brands. Moreover, from the academic perspective, mid-scale hotel business is seldom discussed in the Eastern context. This study attempts to examine whether there are some latent brand positioning issues affecting the development of mid-scale brands. Taking the example of four Hyatt Place properties in China, it firstly examined whether there is a gap between corporate perspectives and guest perception. Additionally, taking into account regional differences, the variation among guest perceptions in various city destinations were then explored. A total of 9127 online guest reviews were retrieved for analysis from two widely used travel sites around China (Ctrip) and the world (TripAdvisor). The content analysis of the online reviews demonstrate the consistent relationship between company brand positioning and guest perceptions toward the Hyatt Place in general. However, it also reveals that discrepancies exist in the perceptions of hotel customers from different Chinese cities.
Keywords: Branding, China market, country-of-origin, country/city-of-operation, Hyatt Place, mid-scale brand