China Luxury Advisors conducts quantitative and qualitative research to better understand global Chinese tourism trends, including frequent “street interviews” to gain insights from Chinese travelers.
This week we asked tourists about their booking and travel methods and preferences. If you work closely with travelers from China, here’s what you need to know, in their own words:
Children are the focus. Ms. Chen and Ms. Wang, both women in their 40’s and on a family vacation, remarked, “we visited a few well-known universities, like Stanford. Our kids are still young, but we are thinking to send them here to study when they are older.”
Increasingly, we have seen educational content as a key motivator for many family vacations abroad, as well as sightseeing and shopping, or visiting children studying in colleges. It is important for companies to cater to multi-generational families by providing amenities and services targeted towards children, parents, and grandparents alike.
Suggestions include options to explore well-known colleges within the United States or a specific state, providing college information in Chinese such as contact information for admissions counselors, and offering university guides.
Provide bundled options. Mr. Wang, a tourist from China in his early 20’s, shares his enthusiasm for bundled packages. “If there’s a reasonable package for airlines and hotels, I would purchase the packages, instead of booking them separately.”
Destinations should seek opportunities to participate in bundled options, such as partnerships with car rental agencies for self-driving options or buses to simplify commute to and from tourist destinations, and should develop other creative partnerships to provide added value to Chinese tourists.
Create a presence on popular travel forums. Before every trip, Mr. Wang checks travel information on Ctrip, QiongYou, Mafengwo (马蜂窝), Qyer (穷游) and Qunar. Mr. Wang, like many Chinese tourists, will base his travel plans on information gleaned from these key travel forums. Make sure that you audit your destination on popular travel forums, and ensure that you have a consistent presence with correct information, and active postings.
Reputation and familiarity are key. Mr. Zhu, a father in his 30’s from Nanjing, told us, “we booked our flights through official websites of the airline companies, but before that, we compared prices on Ctrip and Qunar. We did this when booking a hotel, and finally booked it on Booking.com.” Ms. Chen and Ms. Wang also followed this process, booking plane tickets on China Eastern Airlines’ official website, and their hotels on Booking.com.
Chinese travelers are highly aware of security and safety and prefer booking on official websites and through familiar and comfortable channels. Destinations should ensure that they have an official Chinese website, and that it is available and easily searchable in China—especially on Baidu—to ensure authenticity and comfort.
Destinations that follow some of these simple steps will go a long way in bridging the gap with Chinese tourists.
China Luxury Advisors counsels luxury brands, tourism boards, destinations and retailers on their China consumer strategy, ranging from market entry to digital to attracting, converting, and retaining Chinese customers worldwide.