Hotels poised to cash in on Disney craze

Updated: 2016-01-30 03:38

By WANG ZHUOQIONG in Beijing(China Daily USA)

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When the Shanghai Disney Resort opens in June this year, hoteliers in the Yangtze River Delta will be well prepared to capitalize on the hordes of visitors making their way to the highly anticipated theme park.

Xu Weiluo, branding executive of Homeinns Co Ltd — a leading budget hotel group headquartered in Shanghai — said that his company had developed a business strategy for this occasion many years ago, and part of it involved setting up a department to develop hotel projects and tourism products near Shanghai’s Disneyland.

Hoteliers in Shanghai and the Delta region have already expanded their presence to locations near the metro stations on the No 2 and 11 subway lines that lead to the resort. The No 11 subway line will extend to the Disney Resort while the No 2 line extends to the Shanghai Pudong International Airport .

Many hoteliers have also tweaked the configurations of their standard rooms to make them more family-friendly, while others have acquired the rights to sell Disney tickets that have been packaged together with accommodation and pick-up services.

The Shanghai Disney Resort will have two accommodation facilities — the 420-room Shanghai Disneyland Hotel and the 800-room Toy Story Hotel — but industry experts believe that there are not enough rooms to meet the demand. About 15 million people are expected to visit the Shanghai Disney Resort in its first year, with the figure growing to between 25 and 30 million in the next few years.

Zeng Guang, chief analyst of Guosen Securities, told the media that the opening of the Disney Resort in June will give the resort operator some time to better prepare for the peak season in the summer. He also expects families to account for repeated visits and overnight stays.

Located in the heart of the Yangtze River Delta, the most prosperous region in the country, the Shanghai Disneyland can be easily accessed by people from many cities that are between one and two hours away via express trains.

Jiang Yiyi, director of the China Tourism Academy’s International Tourism Development Institute, said the Shanghai Disney Resort will also bring inbound travelers from overseas as the resort has created plenty of attractions that are unique or filled with Chinese characteristics, that will likely appeal to international visitors in neighboring countries.