With tourism from China surging, two Southern California hotels announced plans to become among the first in the region to allow guests to use the Chinese mobile payment options WeChat Pay and Alipay.
Starting in December, the Luxe Rodeo Drive Hotel and the Luxe Sunset Boulevard Hotel will accept payments via the two systems, which are used by more than 1 billion people and dominate the mobile payment market in China.
WeChat Pay and Alipay have been pushing to expand beyond China in recent years, and the operators of the two Luxe hotels in Los Angeles and Beverly Hills say they are the first local hotel properties to accept the payment options.
The addition of WeChat Pay and Alipay "will help position Luxe Hotels as a preferred destination for the throngs of Chinese travelers that visit Los Angeles and Beverly Hills annually" said Adam Sydenham, regional general manager for Luxe Hotels, a Los Angeles-based chain with three boutique hotels.
The third hotel in the chain, the Luxe City Center, is slated to be converted to a residential tower.
WeChat Pay has more than 600 million users, while Alipay is used by more than 450 million people, according to the two companies.
Chinese tourism in the U.S. has been booming in the past few years, primarily because of the growth of the Chinese middle class. New York and Los Angeles are the top destinations for Chinese visitors to the U.S. and will continue to hold those positions into 2023, according to industry studies.
Chinese visitors, who tend to travel farther and stay longer than other foreign visitors, spend an average of $7,200 per visit to the U.S., the most of all international visitors, according to the U.S. Travel Assn.
To serve Chinese tourists, several hotels in Southern California have added special amenities, such as tea kettles in each room and traditional Chinese dishes in their restaurants.