New Zealand’s first online flagship travel store to launch in China
New Zealand will be front of mind for millions of keen Chinese travellers following a partnership between Tourism New Zealand and China’s largest online travel agency, Ctrip.
IN 2025, CHINESE MARKET WILL BE THE NUMBER ONE IN THE HOTEL'S FIELD
China has already taken the place of Japan and become the No.1 outbound tourism market. According to World Travel Organization, there will be 100 million Chinese travelling abroad in 2020. AC Nielsen and Pacific Asia Travel Association also point that the expense of a Chinese outbound tourist is close to RMB?21,000 (NZD $4,300) on accommodation each time. Among all the tourism destinations, Europe sells best to Chinese tourists, Chinese spend USD$5,252 (NZD$7565) per person averagely in Europe, however, New Zealand also has a great potential. The report from AC Nielsen also shows that Chinese tourists like high level of hotels very much. One in three of them will choose four-star hotels and one tenth of them will choose to stay in 5-star hotel.
Major hotel brands are bending over backward to cater to the needs of the world’s most sought-after traveller: the Chinese tourist. Now arriving on American shores in unprecedented numbers thanks to a streamlined visa process and a rising Chinese middle class, Chinese tourists are being treated to the comforts of home when they check in at the front desk. That means tea in rooms, congee for breakfast and Mandarin-speaking hotel employees. Chinese “welcome programs” at chains like the Marriott and Hilton even address delicate cultural differences: no Chinese tour group should be placed on a floor containing the number four, which sounds like the word for death in Mandarin. “They’re very relieved, like finally somebody’s doing these things that make sense,” said Robert Armstrong, a sales manager who handles bookings for Chinese travellers at the Waldorf-Astoria in New York.
For example, Marriott International now offers several Chinese breakfasts, depending upon which region of China the traveller hails from: there are salted duck eggs and pickled vegetables for eastern Chinese, for example, and dim sum and sliced pig’s liver for the southerners. Major chains are also training employees to avoid cultural missteps that would offend a Chinese visitor. Superstition is a big one: red is considered a lucky colour, along with the number eight, which signifies wealth.
Unlike tourists from other countries, Chinese tourists put brand of hotel, decoration behind, but price, transportation, environment are more important. According to “A Study of Lodging Preferences of Chinese Outbound Tourists”, which covers Chinese tourists of group tourists, self-service tourists, all ranges of ages, different kinds of purposes, the major 5 concerns of Chinese tourists are safety, convenient transportation, price, environment and business reason.
The table above shows you the effects that influence the Chinese tourists' choice of an outbound tour hotel. More importantly, do you know how to promote your brand to make them choose your offerings?
E-commerce is certainly not only for a product company, but also works for a service company. For tourism, the growth statistics are impressive. For example, the application Qunar, which is very popular in China, has 60 million mobile users and allows the user to access to more than 1250 travel agencies, 125,000 flights, and more than 450,000 hotels nationwide in China. Since 2015, China has become the world’s leading e-commerce market, with the United States second. Given Chinese market data and rapid changes in function and services, tourism providers are looking into China to know what might be coming in the Western world soon.
Making use of social media
China has become known for its fast-paced lifestyle. Chinese are the world’s biggest users of instant messaging thanks to WeChat, an application with more than 889 million monthly active users in 2016. WeChat’s success can be partly explained by ability of users to interact with brands within the application —users can book hotel rooms, or even check-in and check-out, all within WeChat. Chinese are addicted to their smartphones and they like to share pictures of their travels online. Each shared picture is a promotional opportunity. That is why tourism chains (e.g. hotels, travel agencies) suggest that their clients to develop a viral digital marketing strategy.
Establishing your e-reputation on the Internet
In 2016, there were more than 721 million internet users in China. If you are trying to attract Chinese visitors, then it makes sense for you to be present and active where they live, where they learn, where they interact, and where they choose their next trip. The “traditional” communications channels such as travel agencies, tour operators, traditional media and events are not enough to give efficient results, especially for new entrants on the market. A robust e-reputation on the Internet is your key to success.
The tourism and hospitality market winners today and in the future are the ones who implement a digital strategy to address opportunities that are as big as the size and the growth dynamic of the Chinese market. If you have an enquiry, please contact us for further information.