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.
China is New Zealand's second largest visitor market. Its growing middle-class has seen sustained growth in Chinese visitor arrivals to New Zealand over the last five years.
Some key players in the tourism trade cannot make themselves known and do not know how to attract new Chinese travellers. Business travel is also expanding; the Chinese are traveling more abroad for business trips.
There are many Chinese travellers traveling or planning to travel to New Zealand, and the vast majority of these visitors usually only visits a few places they are familiar with like Auckland, Queenstown which have some exposure on Chinese media, including social networks.
The Chinese have a rather limited vision of New Zealand. Their idea of New Zealand usually comes from movies, television series or what they read in the media or microblogs. In order to reach this large demographic of travellers one must understand the unique web surfing pattern of Chinese people.
Let us look at an overview of possibilities for the tourism industry to attract the attention of the Chinese travellers. Here are a range of solutions.
HAVING A WEBSITE IN CHINESE
Having a website in Chinese is probably the first action required to make yourself known to your customers.
The ideal is to have your site hosted in China, for faster loading. It is crucial to have visitors on your website to arouse their interest, it must attract visitors by SEM (pay per click, banners …) or SEO, talk about your website on forums or on Chinese social networks (Weibo or WeChat)
ESTABLISH PARTNERSHIPS WITH LOCAL CHINESE AGENCIES
The vast majority of Chinese tourists travel in groups. According to the latest report by the tourism agency of China, group travel takes up 70% of traveling for Chinese people. This number tends to decrease with time but will still remain strong for many reasons.
-Language barrier: many Chinese citizens do not speak English so they need a guide to guide them.
-Visa filing: agencies take care of everything and make it easier to obtain a VISA, which can often be a hassle for Chinese travellers due to the complicated process.
-Fear of adventure: most Chinese people have never travelled abroad until the recent decade, so they are less eager to explore alone.
-Groups: In the Chinese culture people are used to doing things in groups.
-Price benefit: traveling with a travel agency is much cheaper than traveling in a single or small group, and for a price sensitive society like China it is one of the driving factors for group travel.
Communication among agencies can make your website known, and allows you to generate your first business. Agencies are generally hard to find, they have specific requirements and are already working with contractors for many years. Having strong media marketing is a must.
Internet in China is increasing its influence, both large and small brands utilizes the internet to promote their businesses. Whether by direct promotion with banners or indirect via Buzzs or public relations, online communication has now become almost mandatory.
A low initial investment, ROI (Return on Investment) generally good and measurable, a wide range of media, interactivity with the customer … all these factors make online promotion a big factor in the Chinese tourism sector.
Using quality multimedia is a particularly effective tool in the travel industry. The tourist has to have a fantasy image of the country he will visit. Attractive pictures, videos of fantasy-like images are used by agencies to attract customers looking for a trip, but also to raise awareness about their vacation destination.
Internet influence on Chinese citizens has become vast and wide. The major part of Chinese Internet users spend time on social networks, like Weibo. Weibo is a mix between twitter and Facebook, and it combines the responsiveness of twitter, looking for information with the social and playful side of Facebook.
Weibo and WeChat marketing starts from opening an account, obtaining certifications, publishing interesting content, interacting with Internet users around the goal of building a community. Weibo has become a very powerful tool for tourism; the number of fans can add up quickly and allows you to spread your offer to up to 300 million people according to figures reported on Weibo.
Doing PR in China is very important. It allows you to promote your service to a wide variety of Chinese citizens. This communication is primarily with rich visuals or feedbacks and testimonials from people who have visited the country. Online media relation in China and particularly in the travel industry is increasing at a rapid rate. A new article on a Chinese site can be viewed tens of thousands of times if the story is interesting.
THE OPINION LEADER OR STARS
KOLs (Key Opinion Leader) or stars have this ability to influence a lot of Chinese people with their communities and the secondary network of their fans. These leaders are well respected and have a strong influence on large numbers of fans. Their movements are followed and talked about by millions of Internet users.
New Zealand hired Yaochen to spread their Queenstown’s message in China and the bet paid off big time!
BROADCASTING PRODUCT PLACEMENT
Film and television is a medium form of communication to inform Chinese public of your travel destination. A movie watched by millions of Chinese can make a lasting memory and do wonders. A hit TV series is the ultimate weapon which profoundly influences the mass public. This discipline is called broadcasting product placement, a marketing technique to maturity in the U.S. today, and progress in China.
This process is very difficult against by China, however, it remains possible and may demand huge budgets but the outcome can be super effective. Even though brand placement in films seems only affordable for big companies at the forefront of marketing (BMW, Apple, LMVH …), a smart engagement with Chinese broadcast shows could be considered by NZ tourism providers.
Broadcast shows such as “Dad, where are we going?” to promote Rotorua, New Zealand
We are experienced in offering solutions to help you attract Chinese tourists. If you have an enquiry, please contact us for further information.