China reopens its borders today , it could be a GREAT year for any business in the Tourism industry.
All over the globe, Tourism experts welcomed the news but they are not expecting an immediate influx of Chinese travellers, traditionally saw a boom in Chinese tourists for the Chinese new year.
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China was the most important source of international tourists in the world. In 2019, more than 25 million Chinese tourists spent less than a trillion dollars outside of China’s borders.
This huge amount of money fell precipitously in the last three years, as China essentially closed its borders. As China prepares for reopen Sunday, millions more tourists will return to the international stage. This raises hopes for a rebound in the global hospitality sector.
Analysts predict that while international travel will not immediately return to pre-pandemic levels in the immediate future, countries, industries, and companies that depend on Chinese tourists will see a rise in 2023.
History of China Tourism (Before Covid)
According to the statistics of China Tourism Academy, the outbound travel of Chinese tourists was approximately 140 million in 2018, with a 13.5% year-on-year growth. China’s outbound tourism market is expected to reach US$ 365 Billion by 2025. According to a report conducted by UN World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), China was the world’s largest outbound tourism market in terms of spending in 2018. Tourism spending increase by 8% year on year to USD277 billion. With the increasing affluence, Tourism, especially outbound tourism, has become more and more popular in China. Chinese tourists increasingly pay attention to high-quality services and better shopping experiences. The skyrocketing numbers of Chinese outbound tourism stimulate global destinations and local businesses to make great efforts in order to attract China’s outbound travelers. Local businesses in the world often work with Chinese tour operators to get Chinese tourists.
Why outbound tour operator from China is so popular?
In China, not many people can speak basic English when they are traveling. Because of the difficulties in communication between Chinese tourists and global-local businessmen, those Chinese who can not speak local languages, choose to join tourist groups organized by tour operators. Often those tour operators attract Chinese tourists with an extremely low price, thus the trip experiences are not very good.
Bad experience during an outbound trip organized by tour operators
As explained before, Chinese tour operators decrease the prices to get more and more tourists. But how can they cover all the costs, the answer is simple: lowering the trip quality. Thus, Chinese tourists often have bad outbound travel experiences. They are very stressed during the trip because they are pushed to walk fast, eat fast, get up very early in order to ensure the team trip takes place as planned. Those trips are very compact, letting travelers no time to appreciate their journey.
Those Chinese team travelers are just like a walking machine and taking-photo machine, which is not really good for the destinations. They thought Chinese tourists are great opportunities for local business. Unfortunately, the reality is not.
The Chinese groups have their own Chinese-speaking guides, who manage absolutely everything from the moment visitors arrive in the country until the departure. Tourists have no freedom at all because everything is already planned. Locals don’t get anything from it, except restaurants and hotel fees. Even for the hotels and restaurants, tour operators try to negotiate very low prices. They do whatever they want because they have Chinese tourists!
China’s new outbound tourism trend
With the scandals and bad trip experiences, organized team travel created distrust between tour operators and travelers. As early as 2016, great changes have taken place in Chinese outbound tourism. Team travel is no longer the main form of Chinese outbound tourism. Instead, the main force is “free and independent travelers.”
In the past, Chinese tourists were keen on luxury goods’ consumption, becoming a boost to global consumption. However, the ample supply of domestic luxury goods and the transparency in prices have made this overseas shopping craze gradually fade.
Those new trends are fabulous chances for local businesses. Chinese tourists don’t want to be controlled anymore, instead, they want to have contact with local people, to see what real local lives are, and to travel freely and independently!
How to get Chinese tourists by yourself?
There are some tips for you to develop activities with Chinese tourists:
- Speak Mandarin or have someone speaking Mandarin
- Create your own website
- Baidu SEO
- Be omnipresent on Chinese social media
- Use those travelling websites that your target use
1. Speak Mandarin or have someone speaking Mandarin
Language is the essential tool for you to get Chinese tourists. As Chines consumers are very suspicious, they want to know the maximum of information before they make their spending decisions. When they travel abroad, they are worried because of the different cultures and languages before going.
So if they want to travel independently abroad, and that your company has someone who can speak Chinese can solve a lot of problems. Once they get enough first-hand information in Chinese, they will be persuaded and ensured to choose your company.
2. Create your own website to be more reliable in China
Your website is the portal between you and your target. Just like what has been discussed earlier in this article, Chinese people like to search on the Internet to find most of the information about what they are going to pay for.
Although Chinese are unlikely to make their reservation directly on your website because they have habits to pay with their familiar e-commerce platforms and ways of payments by Alipay or WeChat pay. But your website is still useful for the informative function.
The website can transmit a reliable image of your brand, and this is very important to get Chinese tourists’ trust. Brand credibility in China is primordial for brand success.
3. SEO boosts your brand awareness
If you are in Europe, you can choose to do SEO with Google to achieve your marketing goal. However, in China, Google, Facebook, Twitter, and many others are blocked, there’s no way for you to maintain the same strategy in Europe to tackle the Chinese tourism market. You have to adapt and learn to use Chinese ways to launch a marketing campaign.
Baidu, a Chinese equivalent of Google, in essence, is the largest searching engine in China. This tech behemoth has more than 70% of the total Chinese market share. If you want to do SEO in Chine to create your brand recognition, Baidu is undeniable your first choice.
It is also important to know that the keywords for your brand SEO on Baidu need to be chosen carefully. Your SEO keywords are the keywords and phrases in your web content that make it possible for your target to find your website via Baidu. Keywords well-chosen can help you rank in a good place.
This is why developing a list of keywords is the first and the most important step in your SEO optimization. For doing this, you need to know your target habits and social trends so that you can ensure your SEO keywords are highly relevant to your audience.
Our agency is an expert in Baidu SEO, with its Chinese and Western marketing specialists. We can help you find the most efficient keywords for your successful Baidu SEO.
Douyin SEO can also work. Douyin aka Tiktok in 2023 is super popular in China and optimisation tehre can bring direct results for travel Players.
4. Be omnipresent on Chinese social media
Chinese are highly connected by mobiles. The Internet arrives in China in 1994, and in just 20 years, it has penetrated the country’s every sector. Fundamental changes brought by the Internet and e-commerce have transformed Chinese shopping habits. Recently, China’s social media and social media-related e-commerce have demonstrated explosive growth momentum.
Therefore, to get Chinese tourists, it is obligated to be omnipresent on China’s social media. Since social media now is linked with China’s e-commerce, people are very sensitive to what they see on the social platforms, and when they make their purchase, they tend to choose what they have seen on the Internet because this kind of presence familiarizes Chinese consumers with the brand.
RED aka Xiaohongshu is the last trendy social media for travellers. it is like instagram, people share video and pictures about places creating buzz.
What are the main social media channels for your brand awareness?
WeChat: N.1 social platform in China
When we talk about China’s social media, the first that comes to the brain must be WeChat. With more than 1.2 billion users, WeChat is the number one among Chinese social media.
WeChat, the equivalent of What’up, is much more than just a messaging app. With WeChat, people can send money, pay, reserve hotels, follow KOLs, etc.
WeChat has more than 1.1 billion monthly active users, which can help you achieve massive brand exposure, convey brand culture, strengthen brand image, and cooperate with precise targeting to allow more users to participate in brand activities and achieve integration of product and efficiency. There are three types of WeChat advertising:
- Moments ads
- Banners ads
- Mini-program ads
Moments ads are promotion content in the form of friend content in the WeChat feeds. Banner ads are in WeChat subscriptions. There are three forms of banner ads, which are ads at the bottom of an article, in-article ads, and KOLs ads. Mini-program ads, as the name shows, are advertising in WeChat mini-programs.
Mini-program is just like an app, but it is integrated into WeChat, and users can open it without downloading. Because it is user-friendly and also because of the giant user database of WeChat, most Chinese e-commerce and social media have mini-program versions within WeChat.
Weibo: open microblogging platform
As one of the largest social media in China, Weibo is a center for KOLs marketing. Not like WeChat who is quite “closed” like a community, Weibo is open to everyone. It is thus an ideal place for mass marketing and buzz marketing.
There are also several categories of advertising on Weibo:
- Weibo SEO
- KOL advertising
- Rewarded marketing
- Interactive Marketing
Weibo SEO is similar to Baidu SEO. It can generate traffic, and expose brands to users. KOL marketing is cooperation with KOLs or influencers to boost brands awareness. Providing free gifts for viewers to like and forward promotion content is a marketing model on Weibo. This is currently the most popular marketing model applied on Sina Weibo.
To retain a user and get a high CR, we need to combine Weibo marketing, WeChat marketing. When a user sees the content in one of the platforms in doubt, we use Weibo marketing to stimulate users and finally conclude the transaction.
How Chinese make reservation for their trips?
China has a unique system of e-commerce, social media, and search engines. In response, China’s online travel agency and information integration system are also unique, mainly dominated by local companies “Ctrip” and “Fliggy” and “Where to go”. Our survey results show that 2/3 of respondents use Ctrip for flight and hotel reservations, while Alibaba Fliggy platform followed closely behind.
Websites such as “Mafengwo” are an important way for Chinese tourists to obtain travel information. On this platform, tourists share their travel experiences. So it is important to have some articles talking about your brand and ensure positive comments.
Cooperation with those platforms can not only bring you target traffic but also can facilitate your transactions.
To conclude on China Outbound Tourism
The aim of this total article is to give you some useful information about the Chinese tourism market and the related marketing strategies. Keep in mind that only depending on yourself can lead to your success. Chinese tour operators are not reliable and outdated, now thanks to the new trend of outbound tourism in China and the Internet, it is just your chance to get Chinese tourists.
Chinese tourists are highly connected to the Internet. They are keen on social media and are willing to follow the advice of others. The marketing for this group requires targeted localization strategies. Chinese tourists rely heavily on word of mouth and comments on the web.
Therefore, for those companies that want to catch Chinese tourists, they must ensure that they appear on the right platform, monitor and manage their corporate image, and avoid potential negative reviews very early.
We can send you more information about how to get Chinese tourists, how to deal with these Chinese agencies, how to make deals, and what you should do and not do. We have a lot of experience and already helped 50 travel agencies successfully. Send us a comment or provide a 30-minute free call, and we will explain how we can help you with a tailored marketing strategy.
We are a Digital Agency based in China, specialized in Tourism travel and hospitality management for Chinese tourists.