7 Best Ways to Promote your Travel Agency in China


{2019] If you already made some steps towards promoting your touristic business in China, probably you were surprised of how different this world is and maybe start to guess that yours yearly learned classic approaches might not that fit for China.

Every year hundreds of travelling agencies all around the world are coming to Chinese touristic exhibitions. They’re trying to get the best places in halls, make superhuman efforts to represent themselves and collect as much business cards as possible. Returning back home they’re waiting until some “friendly” Chinese tour operator will finally call and propose to send first tourists to try the tour… Unfortunately, that almost doesn’t happen.

You have to understand that currently Chinese tour operators no longer searching for partnerships with small European agencies, they are aimed to find already large and popular in China business partner. They don’t want to risk with those who don’t know how to dewal with Chinese tourists and will not put any of their money in your branding in China. Moreover, to seriously work with them you should have some “unbeaten advantage” like only you can provide hotel, transportation service or license for some tours at some country land. If not, be ready that some day they will copy your tours, hire their guides and take all your local advantages.

Here we are proposing you the way to be more independent and will write one by one all steps for succeeding in touristic business with Chinese.

1. Go Digital – become the part of Chinese new world

If you are somewhere outside of China, perhaps it’s not that easy for you to imagine of how quickly China’s goods and services market is switching to “online mode”. To prove that, let’s just take a look at some figures:

It means that by 2020 more than 70% of all advertising in China will be done via internet. In more than 80% cases digital campaigns will be dedicated to mobile platforms.

Besides such common reasons as less time for shopping, convenience of payments and delivery there are several key points of why online shopping and digital advertising are developing immanently fast in China:

  • Growing trust in “online”. Being the world’s biggest counterfeit market, Chinese really afraid to be cheated. Here the biggest digital platforms came for help: JD.com, TMall, Taobao in cooperation with government are making a huge work. As a result, percentage of fakes among original items there is even lower then on American’s Amazon or eBay and still continue to decline.
  • Smartphone addiction. Chinese are extremely connected. They like spending a lot of time with their families, sharing opinions and ask friends for advice. These in pair with availability of cheap gadgets and tech savviness makes them addicted to smartphones and creates a lot of opportunities for digital promotion.
  • Government’s lobby. Chinese government is making giant investments and supports “digitalization” in many spheres for enhancing control and speed up transformation China to the world’s biggest provider of digital technologies.

Now if you are understanding the whole power and future of digital advertising for China, we will explain of how to dive in than environment with your business.

2. Create Website in Chinese and bring it closer to your clients

Your website is the cornerstone of all your future promotion. Besides that, it should be well-done, have user-friendly interface and contain high quality content, there is also something that is needed for China

Checkinmorocco Website : Travel agency in Morroco

Please always remember that every truly lucrative business with China is only in Chinese and only in China.

Unless you translate your website to Chinese and bring it to Singapore or Hong-Kong’s hosting’s, you can’t really be seen by your future clients. It’s different planet without Google, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and even without many well-known messengers. Due to the China’s Great Firewall all aforesaid can’t be reached easily, majority of “outer” websites from there can’t compete in speed with domestic ones and due to the language and culture specifics nobody in China really cares of what is going on “outside”, how to get there and what is written in another languages. China has its own digital infrastructure and in many cases its’s much more unique and different that you used to. And yes, once you arrived on this planet, you have to start everything from basics, but with another rules…

3. Make SEO on Baidu

Baidu is the dominant search engine in China with more than 70% of all search requests. It is “Chinese Google” and cornerstone in promoting your travel agency. Baidu is sharpened mainly for searches in Chinese keywords, that’s why your website has to be optimized for it.

          You can make sure yourself that Baidu is working quite different than Google and another big work have to be done to be there on the top. Just try to find some popular websites by simple keywords in both and compare the results. Moreover, results for keywords in Chinese will be much more different: a lot of popular sources, if they don’t have specific Chinese translation, might not appear there at all.

baidu translation에 대한 이미지 검색결과

4.  Put yourself in Chinese Social Media

Chinese Social Media is the starting point on where adv campaign strategy have to be realized. This is also the key element in building and controlling eReputation. Let’s look at the of the most popular ones and see how they can help for your business.

WeChat : The Facebook of China

WeChat is the headliner of Chinese social media platforms in quantity of registered users. Number of monthly active users there has reached 1 million in 2018.

WeChat is closed eco-system that designed specifically for smartphone usage. Besides messaging and sharing photos and videos it is also provides users large variety of services, starting from GPS navigation and up to electronic wallet with ability to purchasing many types of goods in specially designed for WeChat supplement applications – official mini stores. It has also ability to order and all types of tickets. WeChat is like Weibo have ability of registration official accounts for companies and sharing content with their followers. However, due to closed infrastructure it requires much more work in attracting equal amounts of followers as Weibo and maybe it’s not that effective as a tool for adv campaigns for small brands.

Read Guide; how leverage WeChat to Make money

QQ: chatting Tools

QQ is the second largest smartphone messenger in China

Use to have more than 800 million monthly active users.

This Makes this platform another great tool for Business

Besides text, voice and video massaging it provides personal page to share updates, photos and videos. It has forums, group chats, entertainment-oriented content such as news feeds, literature, cartoons, live streaming. QQ also has music and short videos. Other features include beautifying tools, face swap effects, painting-styled photos, video chat filters and animated video stickers have been introduced to make chatting and sharing more fun.

QQ official accounts: official accounts allow to publish new contents and connect with you followers. a Plus not necessary

Generally, QQ is more popular among young people in 2nd tier cities of China, it’s a more suitable marketing channel for businesses that targets students, such as tutoring companies, or those that sell fast moving consumer goods. However, QQ can be used as part of a long-term marketing strategy to create customer loyalty.

Weibo: The best way to get exposure

Weibo is the second most popular social media platform in China with more than 460 millions of monthly active users. It’s often considered as a mix of Facebook and Twitter. Weibo is one of the most used platforms for social media marketing in China.

On Weibo users can upload videos and images. Also, they can follow other users, read their posts, like and share them.

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Because Weibo is a blogging site, it acts as a large source of informational and trending content. Companies, celebrities and bloggers have Weibo accounts to interact with their customers, fans, and followers.

Many international companies have registered on Weibo official accounts and actively using it for promotion their brands in China.

See Full information about Weibo Marketing

Zhihu : the Quora of China

            Zhihu is a Chinese analog of Q/A platform Quora. It is very similar in terms of usability to Quora, but also can cover very specific fields of questions with users trying to answer in long texts. Answers often includes images, graphics, drafts to approve their point of view and improve the quality of answers. Zhihu users are highly engaged with many posts that contains hundreds of comments.

관련 이미지

There is one very important thing about the Zhihu – it is like as Quora on Google very often appears on the top charts of search engines. It means that it is very trustful and highly ranked by Baidu. In another words discussions on Quora about your company can greatly improve public’s awareness about your brand in China. Also, Zhihu is perfect instrument for B2B companies when they need to increase public awareness of some specific products that require custumers to be educated about the uses, benefits, and features of those. 

Read the Full Explanation of Zhihu HERE

Mafengwo : The Chinese Tripadvisor

According to 2018 statistics, there are over 130 million registered users. The platform is available both as a webpage and an app. Users can go through the latest travel information, glance at Q&As and reviews, as well as book hotels, travel destinations and local tours.

Mafengwo rose to popularity due to its social aspects, in that users can share information about their trips and post content for other users to discuss and up/downvote. Today Mafengwo hosts more than 1 million user-generated travel guides and has seen massive amounts of engagement on its content. 

Mafengwo has become the go-to platform for suggestions on travel and tourism, so those in the travel & tourism industry should certainly take note of its significance in influencing travelers’ decisions. For those in the tourism industry this is the ideal platform for social media marketing in China. For paid advertising it obviously makes sense to target the platforms like Ctrip, Qunar, etc., but this is a platform where you can truly focus on building a brand.

Conclusion about Chinese social media for your case

You don’t necessarily need to be presented on the top Chinese social media platforms like WeChat or QQ. Some hugely popular ones, just like WeChat, are difficult to work with and therefore are not that effective on the first steps of your adv campaign.  To start promote your travel agency on social media is better to first concentrate efforts on Weibo, Zhihu and Mafengwo.

5. Engage Influencers (KOL’s)

          Influencers or Key opinion leaders has a lot of power in China. In fact, up to 70% of consumers decisions is influenced by social media, and that’s largely due to the user’s engagement by KOL’s.

KOL’s are popular social media users that have a large number of followers on social media platforms. Many KOL’s are experts in their fields and provide their followers with the latest news of related industry, they’re making reviews, sharing opinions and giving customer’s advices.

Chinese KOLs have a much stronger influence on society in comparison to other countries and can have millions of followers who follow their advice and actively engage with the content they create on a regular basis.

Travelling industry in China have a lot of powerful KOL’s. Chinese don’t want to be cheated, they want to spend their money according to their interests and popular trends in tourism.

To quickly promote your travel agency, you can invite KOL’s for your tours in order of making related videos, posts and stories in social networks.

6. Work on and control your eReputation

In China eReputation is everything for your business. Generally main aim of all the basic marketing campaign on social networks is improving your status as a professional travelling agency (building your reputation).

Besides increasing the number of posts about your company on social media and working with SEO on Baidu there is some efforts needed to control the situation. It can happen that some disappointed travelers or rivalry companies will start to write negative reviews. In China due to high society’s connectivity any bad information receives immediate response and start quickly multiplicate in many sources. To avoid aforesaid, you need to always track of what is going in social media.

7. Improve your visibility (only if you passed previous steps!)

            When companies are succeeded enough in being visible in China, they already built a strong eReputation, Chinese market is already aware of who they are and what they do. Next step in order to stimulate their future growth is to improve their visibility.

          There can be many ways in improving visibility, but the main aim here is to increase the number of receiving leads. For improving visibility, you can:

  • increase your presence on the wider number of social media platforms;
  • start to create the larger amount of the content;
  • work on Baidu SEO;
  • make Baidu PPC and display advertising campaign.

article Written by Alex Gabriel

Conclusion

To effectively promote your travelling business in China, you need to create an effective digital marketing strategy and better work with professionals. You should study your Chinese costumers, and stay aware with the latest trends of this market as it changing so quickly. China is a very lucrative arena of making business, however truly succeed there could only those who are prepared for a long and hard journey.


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2 thoughts on “7 Best Ways to Promote your Travel Agency in China”

  1. Thanks.Very informative and well researched article. I like the Chinese tourist they don’t complicate the Safari here.We endeavors to provide the best.
    Am looking from travel agency cooperation from China.Contact me please.

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