Attracting Chinese Tourists with the digital way
China, with more than 660 million Internet users, China is one of the biggest markets for any companies trying to enter the Chinese market and going digital. If you are a company in the tourism industry and would like to expand your business to China, you must go digital. Going digital is great, but how should you proceed? Here are 7 strategies to use online in order to attract Chinese tourists to book.
An appealing website (in Chinese) with a nice feel-and-touch
The first thing you have to do to have some presence online is using the old way which is creating a website. However, having a website doesn’t ensure that you will attract Chinese visitors. You have to tailor your website to the needs of the Chinese market. There are several ways to go around it ..
1: Have a clear website with Good content in Chinese !
The first and most important thing to do, is to have a website available in Chinese. If your main objective is to reach Chinese customers, an English website won’t be efficient, so make sure that you included Translation fees into your budget. You can also find a bilingual team member, or even better, Webmaster who could assist you during the whole process of creation. In fact, China is ranked 47th (70 countries tested) in the English Proficiency Index developed by EF (Education First) and is declared to be a low-proficiency country. Thus, the necessity of using 简本中文 (simplified Chinese) when writing your website.
2: It’s not only about the looks; it’s also about what is inside …
Have high-quality content
You created your website, in Chinese, but what about the content? In order to attract visitors, you will have to have just like for any other website, relevant content. This content may be various such as: pictures, general information about countries, offers, coupons, social media links, and so on.
Have high-quality pictures
Writing great articles or texts will help to show your expertise in your tourism sector and attract visitors from search engines. However, if that’s all you have, it may create a non-harmonious website (great texts but low-quality pictures). You have several options to find these professionally taken pictures: in-house taken pictures by local travel agents with a DSLR camera, buy pictures online, use loyalty free pictures (make sure they can be commercially-used).
3: Have an SEO strategy
Where Chinese People start to search before their travel ?
They search Online
And they Use Baidu
Now that you have a very nice website in Chinese with high quality pictures and relevant content, it’s time to bring Chinese visitors aboard. In fact, most of Chinese Internet users and more specifically here, Chinese tourists search for information online before purchasing
According to China Internet Watch, Chinese tourists should be able to find your website easily when search for information about the travel destinations you offer. Already, in 2009, 6 out of 10 Chinese people wishing to travel abroad did their research online.
Baidu … more information
The most widely used search engine by Chinese people and Chinese tourists is called Baidu (百度 pronounced « Bye Du »). The website owns 80% of the market shares.
If you want to be visible and reach the maximum number of Chinese tourists, you should adapt your website to Baidu’s requirements. Your website should comply with the Chinese government rules of censorship.
4: Use travel e-platforms
Having your own website is a great way to publish your own content, contact information and specific details about your company, but if your main aim is to reach Chinese tourists and attract them to purchase. Hence, a “double online presence” will surely serve you well. You can register your business (hotel, restaurant, etc.) on these famous Chinese platforms.
As you can see in this graph below from China Internet Watch, ¼ of the online travel agency market belongs to Ctrip. The rest of the market shares belong to Tuniu CY, LVmama and Aoyou.
Source: China Internet Watch
5: Social media
Chinese people are very keen on using social media. An estimated 92% of the total of Chinese Internet users are said to be using social media platforms. It should also be noted that 8 out of 10 Chinese people use their mobile phone to go online. Also 6 out 10 Chinese aged between 26 and 35 years old are social media users.
Source: China Internet Watch
As we can see on the table above, the main social media platforms you should consider registering to are in order: WeChat, Weibo, related forums…
AirBnB on Weibo (very interesting)
If you want to strengthen you daily visitor count, convert them into customers, you should be aware of the impact of social media on Chinese tourists and be present on WeiBo, related blogs (guest blogging, partnership, …) and forums such as Douban, Qyer and LVmama.
OnlyLyon : tourism organization of Lyon(France)
They use attractive contest online to catch Chinese opinion like this photo contest.
6: Zoom on WeChat
Among all social media platforms in China, the most famously used daily by Chinese tourists is WeChat called Wei Xin (微信) in Chinese. WeChat is a text and voice messaging mobile app founded by Tencent (Chinese company) with more than 690 million active users all around the world. The main market is China. It has been estimated that about 65% Chinese adult Internet users use the WeChat mobile app.
Including WeChat in your digital strategy to attract Chinese tourists is one of the most powerful tools you could use. In order to bring a strong follower base as well as potential customers back on your website or account on other Chinese travel websites, you have to engage them as much as you can. To help in this process and to enjoy even more feature, you may create a company official account.
One of the various features of WeChat is the possibility to create your own app (official service account). This is what Shanghri-La hotels did. Their app enables the WeChat user to compare prices.
Source: Walk the chat
7: KOL – Key Opinion Leaders- Lvyoudaren
Last and not least, the word-of-mouth is very strong in China. Mainly because of the fact that in Chinese culture, the relationships we have with others are very important. There are two main Chinese principles: Guan Xi (关系 – extended social network, long term relationships) and Mian Zi (面子 – Others perception of us).
Nice feeling isn’t it ?
Because of these and other factors, Chinese tourists strongly value others opinions and recommendations. That is why relying on Chinese influencers, called KOL (Key Opinion Leaders), is a very effective strategy to attract more Chinese tourists to your business. A KOL is someone online with a high following rate. It can be an actor, a TV show host, a singer, online celebrity or a model.
Many organisations working in the Tourism industry looking to attract Chinese customers created partnerships with KOLs. One of these organisations was the Switzerland Tourism Office located in Beijing invited Wangshi, a Chinese alpinist and blogger (Sina and Sohu) with more than 23 million readers at that time as well as founder of Wanke Real Estate to come to Switzerland.
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— China SEO (@topmarketingweb) 30 mai 2016