How to attract Chinese tourists?

.

The tourism industry is facing a major change with the boom of Chinese tourists. The figures don’t lie:

  • 42 millions tourists in the world,
  • 500,000 tourists in 2011 in France
  • 4-5 million of Chinese tourists within five years
  • They spent over 200 million euros just in Shopping alone
  • The highest spending is € 1,500 per visitor
  • These figures are increasing from 10 to 15% per year.

.

.

However the majority of key players in the tourism trade can not make themselves known and do not know how to attract new travelers. Business travel is also expanding, the Chinese are traveling more abroad for business trips.

.

Chinese tourists in France

.

There are many Chinese travelers traveling or planning to travel to France, and the vast majority of these visitors usually only visits a few places they are familiar with like Paris, Provence and a new popular destination “Bordeaux”.

The Chinese have a rather limited vision of France. Their idea of France usually comes from movies, television series or what they read in the media or microblogs. In order to reach this large demographic of travelers one must understand the unique web surfing pattern of Chinese people.

.

But there are ways to get acquainted

.

Let us look at an overview of possibilities for the tourism industry to attract the attention of the Chinese travelers.

Here are the 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 “rendezvous en France” website in Chinese shows pictures of Lafayette shops, to peak interests of Chinese travelers due to their love for shopping when traveling to the land of luxury designer goods.

.

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)

.

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 travelers due to the complicated process

-Fear of adventure: most Chinese people have never traveled 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!

.

Online promotion

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.

.

The Multimedia

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.

New Zealand conducted a major operation in digital communications and succeeded in attracting many Chinese tourists.

.Striking pictures to attract attention online

.

.

Social networks

Internet influence on Chinese citizens has become vast and wide. The major part of Chinese Internet users spend time on is on social networks, like Weibo. Weibo is a mix between twitter and facebook, it combines the responsiveness of twitter, looking for information with the social and playful side of Facebook.

Communicating on Weibo starts by openning an account, obtainning certifications, publishing interesting content, interacting with Internet users around the goal of building a community. Weibo has become a very powerful tool, 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.

.

PR (Press Relations)

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  feeds backs and testimonials from people who has visited the country.

Online Public 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!

.

.

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.

Angela Baby a star from Hong Kong had the massive amounts of comments on his Weibo when it unveiled its microblog on his stay in France.

.

.

New Zealand hired Yaochen to spread their country’s message in China and the bet paid off big time! (See Communication from New Zealand)

.

See also how Chinese tourist choose their hotel!

.

Magazine (not recommended)

Chinese people do not read magazines, the publications in China are few and the information don’t have the influence on the population like magazines in the Western world.

In the tourism sector, there are some interesting magazines, but the scope is difficult to assess because the numbers are often inflated. Publication costs are heterogeneous and sometimes abnormally high.

.

Cinema: 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.

Today, film or other audiovisual up brands in the real emotional and identifiable by the consumer.

A Chateau Lafite for special occasions, a Mac for professionals, an ice Haegendass to seduce a beautiful girl … It was during a scene that the consumer thinks the best use of the product or in a place.

This discipline is called product placement, a marketing technique to maturity in the U.S. today, and progress in China.

The cinema is a reflection of life, real life or the life that you would like to have. The spectator believes what he sees.

Many companies help shape this reality and allow the director to create his fictional universe.

.

The TV series “Dream links”

Also Stars promotion for tourism in China

.

.

This process is very difficult against by China, few foreign companies are able to do this (unlike Hollywood movies). The majority of the achievements is the chance to promote Country.

It remains possible and demand huge budgets but I think these actions are a frightening efficiency. Brand placement in films is also used by all companies at the forefront of Marketing (BMW, Apple, LMVH …)

source : Tourism Chinese china tourism bureau , China medical Tourism ,CNRChinese tourism : special markets, Sina

.

Conclusion

I think you’re all in this article offers regarding your communication with the Chinese target.

We offer solution to help companies who want attract these chinese tourist. If you have a serious project, please contact us for further information or see our references !

Marketingtochina(at)gmail.com

.

Olivier VEROT

Marketing China