Marketing to Chinese Tourists: What do They Really Want in a Trip?
Marketing to Chinese tourists can be incredibly difficult, especially when you’re trying to reach out to people who don’t speak the same language and have a completely different set of wants and needs than your normal customers.
One of the keys to building your brand is understanding your target customers and satisfying their needs. If you want to know how to attract Chinese tourists, you should first understand what they really want and why your service would appeal to them.
Failure to understand your customers can lead to dissatisfied, and in the world of social media your reputation can be destroyed before you even know it. This is especially true when it comes to Chinese social media. So before you start marketing, put in the extra effort to understand your customers and do your best to make a good impression.
Adventure, Leisure, Shopping…What do they want?!
The short answer is all three, but it really comes down to breaking Chinese tourists into categories. Chinese tourists come from variety of age groups, regions, and incomes. Depending on these factors Chinese tourists will prefer different things.
Adventure Seekers – Not Only Chinese Millennials
This group tends to be made up of Chinese millennials, however even elderly Chinese tourists sometimes travel abroad in search of adventure. Most of these tourists have already been to famous landmarks, and are looking for more than just impressive selfies in their trips.
Chinese have also been more willing to travel independently, without the aid of tour group services. Chinese free and independent tourists (FITs) have been traveling to more and more destinations around the world, allowing for more exploration and deviation from standard tourist spots.
Skydiving in New Zealand, for example, has become incredibly popular with Chinese tourists, to the point that the supply of sky-dive operators has not been able to keep up with demand created by Chinese tourists. Those in the adventure tourism industry should begin expanding their marketing efforts to young Chinese millennials seeking adventure.
Looking for Leisure
As Chinese travelers begin traveling independently more options will become attractive to them. As many people around the world are traveling for the first time they naturally want to see the most famous of attractions, however Chinese tourists have begun branching out to new locations with less oppressing crowds and more time for relaxation.
Tropical islands, smaller cities, and quaint countryside villages are all becoming more attractive to the Chinese tourist trying to beat the crowds. Whether your company is in the heart of Rome or in the Irish countryside, be prepared for Chinese tourists.
Get Ready to Fall in Love with Old People
Older Chinese tourists, who have traditionally been the largest customer base for group travel, have even begun traveling independently.
Older Chinese tourists have typically traveled domestically throughout China, but more have begun traveling abroad to locations like France, Italy, and a variety of tropical destinations. This represents a seismic shift in the tourism market, as this group represents a significant proportion of China’s total population.
In 2013 The amount of Chinese citizens aged 60 or over was 202 million, and has continued to rise year-on-year. However, this population has a strong desire for travel, as indicated in a survey conducted by Ctrip in which 87% of participants age 50 and older stated that they planned to travel that year.
Although they are more price sensitive than the younger more adventurous Chinese, they are still willing to spend during their travels. In general the tourism industry generally fails to cater to senior citizens, so this represents an opportunity for tourism marketers. By creating tailored services for seniors, you can create a lasting impression with an impressively large population of new independent travelers.
Shop till They Drop
One of the key stereotypes attributed to Chinese tourists is that they absolutely love to shop, and this is kind of true. Chinese tourists definitely enjoy shopping when they travel whether it be for luxury goods or souvenirs, however the shopping craze of earlier years has died down a bit.
In previous years, Chinese tourists would travel abroad simply to purchase luxury goods, cosmetics, and other items for cheaper prices and from a distributor that they trust, however many Chinese tourists have begun choosing more local destinations to do their shopping, like Hong Kong and South-East Asia.
Chinese tour and hotel providers should be prepared to direct Chinese travelers to outlets and shopping malls where they can do their shopping. Providing maps with transportation options and other logistical information will surely leave a positive impression with your customers.
Don’t be too pushy though, as many Chinese are suspicious of shopping opportunities being forced on them, as many tourism agencies in China receive commission from stores they recommend tourists to.
The Basics…And a Bit More
Chinese Travelers don’t generally expect much more from their accommodation providers than others. However, there are a few inexpensive products you can stock your rooms with to ensure you don’t run into any complaints.
Chinese tourists, who are accustomed to what Chinese hotels provide, require a few extra items to make their stay comfortable, like slippers, toothbrushes, and access to hot drinking water.
Chinese travelers rely heavily on the internet for information and media, so decent Wi-Fi is also essential. While Chinese tourists won’t expect staff to speak Mandarin, it will certainly improve the quality of their stay if they have questions or are looking for recommendations.
Creating a Chinese website with FAQs could also be beneficial and help with the lack of Mandarin speaking staff. Even little things like subscribing to Chinese newspapers or TV channels all give off the impression that Chinese tourists are welcome and appreciated. A Wechat QR code should also be placed around your hotel for additional information.
Wrap-up: Marketing to Chinese Tourists
All in all it comes down to knowing your customers, and what they want to do. Having specialized packages for a variety of different customers is certainly beneficial in the tourism business, so be sure to not apply a one size-fits-all solution to providing for Chinese customers.
Read More: How to Attract Chinese Tourists?