The Booming Market of Chinese Old Tourists
There’s a niche in the China tourism market that is full of opportunities and it has not been well developed. The average income of Chinese people is increasing, senior citizens included. And they will spend more on tourism while they don’t have so many suitable choices.
Opportunities in the market
Mr. Xiao works for one of the top 500 corporations in the world. He has a dream to send his parents to travel to Europe. However, his parents have a language barrier and he is too busy to go with them, so he turns to tourist agencies to organize a trip for them. He is disappointed to discover that most services are too intensive and contain too much shopping which is not suitable for senior tourists.
In fact, many people have encountered the same problem as Mr. Xiao. There are too few customized services for senior citizens. There are only 2 or 3 services available for seniors in the limited time of the year.
Does that mean old people’s outbound tourism in China is not a promising market?
The answer is no. China ranks first on the list of senior citizen population with the fastest growth in the world. According to the China population census, the senior population in China is increasing by 3.2% annually. And by the end of 2014, there will be 200 million people over 60 years old living in China.
What’s more, the market of five products for seniors has now expanded to a market of 2000 billion in 2010. And among the five products, tourism ranks first. However, compared with 47% of senior Americans who have traveled outbound, only 25% of senior Chinese have travel experience. It is estimated by China Competition Information, the senior outbound tourism industry in China will start to soar in the near future.
How to take the advantage of the opportunities
As noted by Sun Tzu, the great author of The Art of War, “He who has a thorough knowledge of the enemy and himself is bound to win in all battles”. It also applies to tourism development marketing.
You have to understand your customers, then you can make the right strategy and you will be bounded to win all the customers.
So the question now is what senior Chinese tourists need and how to adapt to their needs.
1. Do they need special tours?
There are mainly two types of senior tourists in China.
The first type is the ones who have already traveled a lot when they were young. Most of them are richer and more educated. So only sightseeing is not so attractive to them. On the other hand, other kinds of tours like the Sanatorium tours are becoming more and more popular.
The second type of traveler is the one who wants to travel to see other parts of the world where they have never been. So they prefer more typical tourism groups with an intensive schedule and cheap prices.
2. Are they sensitive to price?
If you still consider senior Chinese tourists as poor customers, you are gravely wrong.
It is true that most Chinese who are over 60 have experienced the Cultural Revolution time where even basic human needs like food and shelter can hardly be met. For that, they are more penny-pinching. It doesn’t mean they are poor, but it just means they are not so easy to be persuaded to spend their money on a trip. However, some companies have done a very good job. For example, the discount on flights works very well with them. Airliners want their flights all full and senior tourists have less time limit to allow them to avoid peak seasons so they accept this very well. Then the tour services sold combined with these cheap flights also have a good performance.
On the contrary, some senior tourists do prefer high-class tour services. What makes it even better is, the percentage of them is increasing.(Source: Renmin Wang)
Many Chinese are willing to spend on their parents after they become rich because of the culture of filial piety. These types of senior tourists are not sensitive to price but to quality.
3. What kind of tour guide do they like?
A report from Alibaba shows that old tourists are more likely to be brand ambassadors. Their main information source is their friends. For those senior Chinese, they feel more lonely than others because when they were young, they lived in big families while small nuclear families has taken the place of the traditional family. Many old tourists would like to return or suggest to those tour guides who offer them care. see more information about Chinese senior tourist
4. Regional difference
The buying habits in different regions of China differ a lot. According to the economical development, China can be mainly divided into three parts: east, central, and west. The east region of China is about 5 years advanced to the central and 10 years to the west. As a result, the budget for tourists from the west is much smaller than that from the east. more information on Chinese tourist.
The regional cultural difference is also another factor that needs consideration. For example, tourists from the north usually travel less but spend more when they do travel. On the contrary, tourists from south travel more but they spend less on each trip. To different regions of people, different customized offers are very important.
5. More males than female
Old Chinese males are more likely to travel than females. In China, men are much more open than women and women usually are busy with their communities and housework. But in one branch of tourism, women travel more than men. That is pilgrimage tourism.
6. When do senior Chinese tourists travel?
Most services for senior Chinese tourists are made in off-seasons like April. There are three main reasons:
- In the off-season, the price is much lower than usual
- There are fewer tourist crowds in the off-season
- Old people have more free time during the off-season
7. Special accommodation
Senior Chinese tourists have quite different habits from western tourists or even young Chinese tourists. For example, many tourists who go to France complain that the choice for dinner is not enough, no hot water in the hotel, and the beds are too hard. As senior citizens, their habits are more traditional and any sort of change is a lot harder to come by so they will need more detailed accommodations to ensure they have an enjoyable trip.
8. How to influence senior Chinese tourists? Click here to see more.
When launching marketing campaigns to attract senior Chinese tourists, you have to take their characteristics into account. For example, because seniors cannot see things clearly and they usually don’t like flashy multi-media introductions, the clear, direct, and informative introduction is a much more influential technique.
And because of their limited sources of information, some offline events like old-people photo shows are more suitable. More information about Chinese tourist interests