by Michael C. Lowe | July 13, 2011

Hilton Hotels & Resorts and Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide separately announced hospitality programs for Chinese travelers on Monday. Nineteen Starwood hotels in gateway cities such as New York, London and Mexico City already have implemented the Starwood Personalized Travel program, which includes in-room tea kettles, welcome materials printed in Chinese and the addition of congee (rice porridge) on hotel breakfast menus. Each hotel also will have a Chinese specialist on staff to assist with day-to-day needs. The program is expected to roll out brandwide by the end of 2012. The Hilton Huanying ("welcome") program will ensure that hotels have a front-desk person who is fluent in Chinese; tea kettles are being put in the rooms; a dedicated television channel will broadcast Chinese programming, and several Chinese menu items are being added. Hilton's program will debut in San Francisco Aug. 16, and will be added to properties in New York, Vancouver, London, Tokyo and Sydney shortly after.