—Chinese students in Arlington, Texas? The 23 young men and women from the University of Texas at Arlington who volunteered as translators for Active America’s business appointment sessions Thursday afternoon and all-day Friday weren’t really that hard to find in their red t-shirts. And it should come as no surprise that one can find Chinese graduate students anywhere in Texas. There are nearly 76,000 Chinese students in Texas—it is No. 3 among U.S. states in this regard—and UT Arlington (a ten-minute drive from the trade show) has the only Executive MBA program approved by the China’s Ministry of Education to partner with three Chinese universities. What else brought the students to Texas? One student told us that there are plenty of tech jobs to look forward to in southeast Texas, especially in the Houston area, and that it costs much less to live as a student—especially in what one pays for rent—in Arlington, Texas than it does in Los Angeles or Boston.
—WeChat’s pre-eminent position as the medium to communicate among Chinese revealed itself in a very blunt way to one U.S. attractions supplier who related a recent incident in which a tour operator told her to contact him via WeChat regarding a new contract she had prepared. She asked for an e-mail address so that she could the material as an attachment. He did so, then added, “Contact me on WeChat so I remember to read the e-mail.”
—“Hard Rock” is a two-word expression that, somehow, just doesn’t translate into Mandarin, the company has found out. Or, if explained, it just doesn’t make sense. So, according to Gonzalo del Rio, sales and marketing manager for Hard Rock’s U.S. properties, the company has retained a company (Attract China) to work on a visual meaning—a video and related materials—to explain the brand. This move comes as the company is embarking on a rebranding that will acknowledge its position as a savvy retailer. It will gradually re-position itself as a retailer that has a restaurant than as a restaurant that has a gift shop. As Tara Hippensteel, director of tour and travel, North America, at Hard Rock International, observed last November during NAJ’s RTO Summit in Orlando, “We make more money selling t-thirts than burgers.”
—David Penilton, president of Portland, Ore.-based America’s Hub World Tours—he does both inbound and inbound—was at Active America to nurture a growth product: clients who are investors as well as lengthy-stay visitors, usually in properties that they own and who may or may not leave them un-used for months at a time. It’s a growing market segment worldwide, Penilton told the Inbound Report, with Australia and China now the company’s two strongest overseas country markets.