Imagine a market teeming with millions of eager travelers, all ready to explore new horizons and spend on unique experiences. That’s the Chinese tourism market for you. Bursting with potential, this vast sea of travelers isn’t just any crowd — they come with distinct preferences, shaped by a rich tapestry of culture, technology, and evolving lifestyles.
In this guide, we’ll journey through the key facets of the Chinese tourist psyche, unveiling the secret sauce to win them over. Buckle up, and let’s embark on this captivating voyage!
Chinese Tourism Market Overview
The landscape of Chinese outbound tourism is unfolding a new chapter. After three arduous years of standstill, there’s a palpable buzz in the air. While 2023 has witnessed a surge in domestic escapades, courtesy of factors like passport availability, the priciness of air tickets, and lingering safety apprehensions, the itch to travel beyond borders is unmistakably returning.
The numbers from FDI Intelligence bring this narrative into sharp focus. A tally of 40.3 million Chinese travelers ventured out from China in the first trimester of 2023. Stack that against the whopping 154.6 million in the corresponding frame of 2019, and it’s evident that the runway to pre-COVID figures is still expansive.
And what does the future look like? The Economist Intelligence predicts that by early 2024, the number of Chinese people traveling abroad will match and possibly surpass 2019 levels. But a full return to the old travel buzz? That’s likely by 2025.
Now, why does this matter? Remember, in 2019, not only did the Chinese travel a lot (154.6 million trips, to be exact) but they also spent big – nearly $255 billion, according to the United Nations World Tourism Organization. The world is eagerly waiting for China’s big travel comeback!
Who are the Chinese tourists traveling in 2023?
It’s no secret – the Chinese traveler is now a game-changer in global tourism. But what’s changed since 2019? Well, today’s Chinese tourists are a curious blend of adventure-seekers, digital nomads, and connoisseurs of authenticity.
They’re not just satisfied with the ‘regular’ anymore. Instead, they’re chasing the Northern Lights in Iceland, diving deep into the street-food culture of Bangkok, or backpacking through the uncharted terrains of South America. It’s all about unique, social media-worthy moments now.
Millennials and Gen Z
Let’s talk about the real trendsetters in travel — the Millennials and Gen Z. Post-2019, their influence on the travel scene has been nothing short of revolutionary. Armed with smartphones, a desire to break away from the traditional, and an unmatched enthusiasm for ‘living in the moment‘, these young Chinese generations are redefining travel norms.
They’re more likely to book a last-minute trip based on a viral social media post or a friend’s recommendation. Boutique hostels, sustainable travel, immersive workshops, or even digital detox retreats, they’re championing it all. For them, travel is not just about the destination; it’s about the story, the journey, the local interaction, and the memories they create. Their evolved preferences underscore a significant shift in the travel industry, reminding businesses to stay agile, innovative, and genuine.
The Golden-age adventurers
Now, here’s the surprise element – seniors! They’re not just sitting at home watching travel shows. With the perfect mix of time, money, and an unquenchable thirst for life, they’re stepping out, big time. Think about a 65-year-old tasting wine in the Tuscan countryside or learning to dance the Tango in Buenos Aires. The bucket list just got longer and more exciting for this older generation, merging the comfort they love with fresh, exhilarating experiences.
Preferred destinations: where the new Chinese tourists are venturing
Mapping the preferred destinations of the contemporary Chinese traveler paints an intriguing picture. While iconic cities like Paris, London, and New York still charm many, there’s a noticeable tilt towards uncharted territories and less-commercialized gems. From the serene landscapes of New Zealand and the cultural tapestry of Morocco to the modern allure of South Korea, there’s an expansive bucket list in play.
And let’s not forget regional favorites; countries like Thailand, Japan, and Vietnam continue to ride high on the popularity charts, offering a blend of familiarity and novelty. Moreover, eco-tourism spots and destinations offering wellness retreats are gaining traction. Essentially, the destination map has evolved from the clichéd hotspots to a mix of classic and fresh, echoing the diverse tastes of the new-age Chinese traveler.
How to Attract Chinese Outbound Tourists
Attracting Chinese customers will be impossible without digital marketing. Chinese shoppers rely on reviews and recommendations, and so do many Chinese tourists. This is why, branding, e-reputation, and Chinese social media marketing are the aspects you should focus on to attract more Chinese tourists to your destination or products.
Digital Landscape: Platforms and Opportunities
China’s digital domain is vast and varied, providing a myriad of opportunities for marketers aiming to tap into the evolving travel desires of the Chinese. Harnessing these platforms can significantly elevate your visibility among potential Chinese travelers.
Social media platforms
China’s social media scene is vibrant and dynamic. Platforms like WeChat, Douyin, and Xiaohongshu have become household names and daily staples. WeChat isn’t just a messaging app; it’s an entire ecosystem where users chat, shop, and get their daily dose of news.
Douyin offers snappy, engaging videos – perfect for giving a sneak peek of a destination or an experience.
Xiaohongshu, on the other hand, combines social media with e-commerce, creating a platform where users share their personal stories, travel experiences, and product recommendations.
Then there is also Weibo, a micro-blogging app similar to Twitter, where attracting Chinese tourists becomes easy thanks to the virality of content and a big portion of influencers with huge Chinese travellers following.
Having a presence and active strategy on these platforms is essential to make a mark.
Baidu SEO: Why it Matters
While Google reigns supreme globally, Baidu holds the fort in China. Ensuring your travel offerings rank high on Baidu is a game-changer. But remember, it’s not just about direct translations. Content needs to resonate with Chinese culture, sensibilities, and preferences. Dive deep, understand their queries, and craft content that not only answers but engages.
Having a website in Chinese is probably the first action required to make yourself known to your customers.
AigueMarine’s website in Chinese shows pictures of France, High-End travel, lifestyle, and shops, to pique the interest of Chinese travelers due to their love for shopping when traveling to the land of luxury designer goods. AigueMarine is the leading Luxury Travel Agency for Europe for Chinese high-end Clients.
The best is to have your site hosted in China, for faster loading. It is crucial to have visitors on your website to arouse their interest, and it must attract visitors by SEM (pay-per-click, banners …) or SEO, and talk about your website on forums.
Leverage OTAs (Online Travel Agents)
When it comes to travel planning and booking, many Chinese travelers lean on OTAs like Ctrip and Qunar. These platforms are more than just booking sites; they’re comprehensive travel guides with reviews, recommendations, and insights. Partnering with them, offering special packages, or even running promotional campaigns can make your destination or offering stand out from the crowd.
Paint vivid tales with video content
If a picture is worth a thousand words, imagine the storytelling potential of a video. For the Chinese traveler, videos aren’t just promotional tools; they’re windows into potential adventures, beckoning them to step in. Here’s how to craft impactful video content that resonates with this audience:
The Allure of Short Videos
In the era of instant gratification, platforms like Douyin have popularized the trend of bite-sized video clips. Think of them as your elevator pitch – a few seconds to dazzle with glimpses of a scenic vista, a cultural dance, or a vibrant street market. These snippets ignite curiosity, making viewers yearn for more.
Dive Deep with Longer Videos
While short videos tease, longer formats narrate. This is your canvas to paint detailed tales about your offering. From showcasing the intricate routines of a local artisan to unveiling the historical layers of a monument, longer videos encapsulate the essence of a place, giving travelers a comprehensive insight.
Real-Time Connection: Live Streams
Live streaming bridges the digital gap, forging immediate connections. It’s the thrill of the ‘here and now’ – be it a live walkthrough of a serene village, the festive spirit of a local celebration, or an interactive session answering travel queries. The raw, unfiltered nature of live streams cultivates trust and inclusivity.
In the realm of travel marketing, videos are the storytellers. By blending these formats, you’re not merely advertising but weaving tales that captivate, resonate, and prompt the Chinese traveler to script their own stories with you.
Collaborations and Partnerships: Crafting the Right Message
The Chinese travel market is not just vast but also incredibly nuanced. Success hinges on not only understanding these nuances but also on the strategic collaborations and partnerships you form. These alliances help in crafting messages that resonate deeply, ensuring your offerings don’t just reach the target audience but also captivate their imaginations.
Key Opinion Leaders (KOLs) wield an impressive influence in China. Their word often carries more weight than traditional advertisements. Why? Trust. Their followers regard them as genuine, relatable figures who offer honest opinions.
Collaborating with the right influencers can catapult your destination or product into the limelight. But remember, it’s not about sheer follower count. Choose KOLs whose ethos aligns with your brand, and craft campaigns that seamlessly merge authenticity with aspiration.
Joint Ventures with Local Entities
Diving into a partnership with a local entity, be it a travel agency or a tourism board, can amplify your reach and relevance. These entities inherently understand the Chinese traveler’s psyche and can help tailor your offerings to match local expectations.
Moreover, such joint ventures can elevate the credibility of your destination or product, positioning it as not just another option but a preferred choice. When embarking on these partnerships, ensure there’s a shared vision and a clear understanding of mutual goals.
The Role of Technology in Captivating Chinese Tourists
In today’s hyper-connected age, technology is more than just a tool—it’s a conduit that bridges aspirations with experiences. For brands and destinations eyeing the Chinese market, leveraging technological advances can be the difference between fading into the background and becoming the first choice.
Cash is steadily becoming passé. The modern Chinese traveler, accustomed to the ease of digital payments at home, expects the same convenience abroad. By integrating popular platforms like Alipay and WeChat Pay, you not only meet the expectations of Chinese consumers but also foster a sense of familiarity. It’s simple: make the transaction process smooth, and you’ve already enhanced their overall experience.
Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) Experiences
The world of AR and VR isn’t just for gamers. Offering potential travelers a glimpse of what awaits them through virtual tours or interactive previews can be a game-changer. It’s like giving them a taste, making them yearn for the full experience. Imagine letting someone stroll through a scenic village or explore a luxury suite from their living room—then imagine the allure of experiencing it firsthand.
Desktops have their place, but when targeting Chinese tourists, mobile is king. A significant chunk of online interactions, be it social media, browsing, or bookings, happen via smartphones. Ensuring your websites, ads, and other online touchpoints are optimized for mobile can greatly enhance user experience. It sends a clear message: “We value your convenience.”
Seasonal and Holiday Campaigns: Riding the Waves of Festive Fervor
Every culture has its calendar of celebrations, but when it comes to Chinese holidays, the surge in travel and consumer activity is unparalleled. By aligning campaigns with these festive peaks, brands can position themselves perfectly in the vision of enthusiastic travelers, eager to make the most of their holidays.
Tapping into Chinese Festivals
Key festivals like the Lunar New Year and Golden Week aren’t just traditional celebrations; they mark some of the busiest travel periods in China. During these times, cities transform, families reunite, and millions are on the move.
By understanding the significance and traditions associated with each festival, destinations and brands can craft experiences that resonate deeply. For instance, during the Lunar New Year, when families come together, offering travel packages that cater to multigenerational groups can be a winning move.
Special Packages and Deals
Every traveler loves a good deal, and the sentiment amplifies during holiday seasons. By creating packages or promotions tailored to these periods, businesses can not only attract more visitors but also enhance their stay. Imagine a Mid-Autumn Festival package that includes a mooncake-making workshop or a Golden Week deal that offers an extra night free. Such offerings don’t just appeal to the pocket; they add a layer of memorable experiences to the traveler’s journey.
Let Gentlemen Marketing Agency Be Your Guide to the Chinese Tourist
Navigating the vast and intricate Chinese tourism market might seem daunting. But with the right partner by your side, you can turn this challenge into a journey of success. Here’s where Gentlemen Marketing Agency comes into the picture.
- Deep Expertise: Navigate the Chinese tourism market confidently with our seasoned understanding of evolving preferences and trends.
- Holistic Solutions: From video content to targeted festival campaigns, we amplify your presence on platforms like WeChat, Douyin, and Baidu.
- Localized Strategy: Craft a story that resonates. We integrate cultural nuances, language precision, and local trends to appeal directly to the Chinese traveler.
- Collaborate with the Best: Don’t leave your success to chance. Partner with us and journey straight to the heart of the Chinese tourist.
Don’t leave your venture to chance. Collaborate with a partner who’s walked this path, celebrated successes, and learned from challenges. Let’s journey together, carving a roadmap that leads straight to the heart of the Chinese tourist.
Contact Gentlemen Marketing Agency today, and let’s transform your aspirations into tangible triumphs.