China’s “Golden Week” refers to the two two-week holidays around the National Day of October 1st and the Lunar Calendar Spring Festival which usually falls in January or February of each year. During this period, tens of millions of Chinese travel, take holidays, or go to shopping malls.
But due to Covid-19, what will happen during Golden week 2020? Will the Chinese still choose to travel and if so what will be the most popular destinations?
The Chinese National Day and Golden week are coming
The Chinese National Day (国庆节) is celebrated annually on October 1 as a public holiday in the People’s Republic of China commemorating the establishment of the People’s Republic of China on October 1, 1949.
Festivities and concerts are usually held nationwide on this day, with a grand military parade and mass pageant event held on select years. The legal holiday for Chinese National Day is 3 days in mainland China, 2 days in Macau, and 1 day in Hong Kong. The 7-day holiday from Oct. 1st to 7th is called ‘Golden Week’, during which a large number of Chinese people go traveling.
It is called Golden Week because, falling in the autumn season with clear weather and comfortable temperatures, is a golden time for travel.
The Chinese Golden Week: The traveling holiday
As we said before, during the Golden Week, lots of Chinese go traveling. The weeklong holiday enables both short-distance and long-distance trips, resulting in a boom in tourist revenue, as well as an overwhelming tourist crowd.
This holiday brings a flood of people:
- infamous landmarks,
- train tickets are difficult to obtain,
- air tickets that cost more than usual,
- hotel rooms are in short supply.
Due to the chaos this holiday creates, people pre-book flights/train tickets and hotel rooms to avoid being unprepared later and because there may be more discounts on airline tickets if you book early.
This week is truly a golden week also for restaurants, hotels, and companies in the tourism sector that see many customers arriving at their offices to spend a week full of fun and visits to new and interesting places.
What will the Chinese Golden Week be like in 2020?
What will be the most popular travel destination in China?
Chinese people are starting to think about traveling again during the Chinese Golden Week. However, due to Covid-19, not all of them will go to their dream destinations during the upcoming October national holiday.
According to hotel bookings during the holidays, of all the top destinations from the online travel agency Qunar.com:
- Hainan should be the most popular destination
- Hong Kong, on the other hand, is not an option, as the border remains closed due to the recent outbreaks.
- Some say Macau could replace Hong Kong as a travel destination.
Golden week 2020: Chinese travelers are planning domestic trips
This year’s Golden Week comes as the country’s Covid-19 pandemic is largely under control. The capacity of major tourist attractions has been gradually expanded in recent months, giving the Chinese tourism sector a much-needed respite.
China’s domestic air traffic volume is expected to reach a record high during the upcoming “Golden Week” holidays due to:
- lower ticket prices,
- stop international travel for fear.
According to Qunar, China’s online travel booking website, the total number of domestic air travels made between October 1 and 8 will reach more than 15 million, a 10% increase over last year.
Low airfares have led to a high volume of domestic air traffic
Average fares based on advance bookings for the same period fell 10% from a year ago to 895.55 yuan ($ 132), the lowest in five years.
In recent months, Chinese airlines have engaged in stiff competition for customers by launching various unlimited flight packages mainly to increase demand, which has declined due to the pandemic. The problem is that the lower price stimulates travel demand, but puts airline budgets under pressure as overall revenues decline.
Despite this, Chinese airlines have seen a steady recovery in recent months. Rising demand for domestic air travel has also pushed up the share prices of Chinese airlines, particularly those with higher domestic exposure. However, looking ahead, the recovery of Chinese carriers still faces headwinds as profitability prospects are uncertain and international travel is still clouded by the pandemic.
Macau hotels and casinos are planning for the next Golden Week holiday
Macau hotels and casinos are planning for the next Golden Week holiday as travel restrictions with China are easing.
Many Chinese tourists are expected to travel to Macau after restrictions on visitors from across the mainland have been relaxed since September 23.
Initial hotel bookings indicate that things are starting to improve for Macau’s economy which is heavily reliant on mainland China tourists. According to the report from analysts led by Praveen Choudhary, Macau is seeing meaningful improvement in occupancy before and during the golden week, but the room rate still remains weak.
The coronavirus crisis put a strain on the city’s casinos as Macau closed its borders to tourists. Gross gaming revenue at the gaming destination has dropped more than 90% year-on-year over the past five months, and analysts estimate a slight improvement with a near 85% drop for September.
As mentioned previously, tourist visas will resume on September 23, a week before the golden week of October, which is expected to increase hotel occupancy. But reopening a week earlier, as a result, only locals from neighboring provinces are likely to make spontaneous trips, as people sometimes plan Golden Week months in advance. Additionally, some provinces may still have quarantine policies for travelers.
How can companies in the tourism sector attract Chinese tourists during Golden Week?
The most important aspect for Chinese tourists to choose your hotel, restaurant, etc. is working on Branding. In fact, to attract tourists, brands should focus on growing their brand visibility and brand awareness, especially in this period of crisis due to Covid-19.
So how can tourism companies increase branding?
Here are some tips on how to attract Chinese tourists:
1-Open Chinese social media accounts
Having social media accounts like Wechat, Weibo, and Xiahongshu is a great start for reaching Chinese consumers. These platforms are the best way to attract potential tourists by sharing people’s experiences, so a brand should open a Chinese social media account to promote the brand’s value and products.
Don’t forget that video sharing and live streaming on Chinese social media are very important to build brand awareness.
2-Collaboration with KOL to increase bookings
The best way to attract more Chinese tourists is the collaboration with KOLs (Key opinion leaders). They are one of the best ways used to promote in China as they reach a wide audience. In addition, Chinese consumers tend to trust information delivered by people much more than the one promoted via traditional channels, especially people with knowledge and experience about topic like a restaurant, a hotel, a country, and so on.
3-Having a Chinese website on Baidu and implementing a good SEO strategy
Baidu is the Chinese Google. To rank, your website needs to be hosted in China, get an ICP license, and be in Mandarin as Baidu knows only Mandarin and gives priority to websites hosted in China.
The Chinese will most of the time not use your website to book anything (as we said before, they will prefer to use the platforms and apps), but it is necessary to:
- have one so they can find all the information centralized in the same place,
- and have a window that gives you authority and reliability in the eyes of the Chinese.
4-Get good reviews on Social media, tourists, and Q&A platforms
The first thing Chinese customers would look for before booking reviews. The Chinese customers need to be reassured: the more reviews your services have, the better it will be. The reviews must be many, but also good and detailed.
The reviews on the official website are not the ones Chinese will rely on the most, while they would believe more on social media, Q&A (Zhihu), and tourist platforms where customers share their opinions and feedback.
5-Have an account on Chinese booking channels
Most Chinese tourists use Chinese booking channels like Ctrip, Mafengwo, and Fliggy to organize their trips, therefore having an account on these platforms and facilitating payments through Wechat pay and Alipay is important to reach tourists.
You can also use advertising on these platforms to reach faster Chinese tourists, however, these are not seen as trustable for them. They rely more on reviews and comment on these channels.
GMA can help you attract Chinese tourists
Gentlemen Marketing Agency is a Digital Marketing Agency that is an expert in helping foreign companies to establish or strengthen their position in China. Contact us!
We offer several services that can help you to attract Chinese tourists like social media management, KOL collaboration, Baidu SEO, Zhihu marketing, Ctrip registration, and so on.
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