There are a lot of millennials in China (sources say as much as 40% of the population), and a large proportion of them like to travel overseas. This demographic is also very tech-savvy, with a preference for mobile devices and social apps, and is more inclined to research travel options online than through visiting a bricks-and-mortar tourism agency.

These characteristics demonstrate the importance of developing a digital-first strategy when promoting travel options and experiences to Chinese millennials. It’s also vital to understand the types of experiences and products this segment is seeking, so you can better target your marketing efforts.

What do China’s younger travellers want in a travel experience?

Firstly, just in case you are not sure what a ‘millennial’ is, it refers to people within the 18-36 age group – born between 1980 and the late 1990s.

The 2016 Chinese International Travel Monitor survey found that Chinese millennial travellers fit into three basic categories, which are:

  • ‘Experience seekers’ – this group comprises around 17% of Chinese international travellers, and its members display more independence and willingness to take risks than other groups. They seek exhilarating experiences and stepping outside of their comfort zones, and spend an average of AUD $630 per day.
  • ‘Indulgers’ – these travellers are geared towards success and influence. They also like to step out of their comfort zones and to have adventures, showing a preference for themed tours and private luxury tours. They make up about 12% of Chinese travellers and spend $650 per day.
  • ‘Basic pleasure seekers’ – making up 21% of travellers, this group prefers a slightly slower pace. These travellers are more likely to be female, and to enjoy events, special moments with friends, and semi-packaged and themed tours. Their average per-day spend is $570.

According to Tourism Australia (TA), Chinese international travellers in general seek safety and security, good food and wine, nature and coastlines, history and heritage, and value for money. TA’s research also shows that Chinese travellers start planning their trips on average 6-12 months ahead, and make bookings 2-3 months before they are due to leave – with most bookings being done online.

Also, in their keenness for digital and mobile, younger travellers often prefer to use several channels to research and book trips, rather than just the one single app.

Digital marketing for Chinese travellers – putting it all together

Understanding what younger travellers want and how they prefer to do research and make bookings should help you in developing a digital marketing strategy. Tips include:

  • Create a presence on multiple channels. Examples are Ctrip, Qunar, QZone, Tencent QQ, eLong and WeChat, as well as your own Chinese-language website of course.
  • Provide experiences that millennial travellers are seeking – such as unique cultural experiences, and / or luxury products they are not available in China.
  • Online reviews are important to China’s netizens. Invite users to post reviews and testimonials, and showcase the best ones on your website.
  • Post beautiful images of popular destinations and landmarks on your website and / or social pages. Consider inviting travellers to post photos and captions of their trips, and running competitions with prize offers for the best ones.
  • Look into the geo-targeting of millennial travellers during their stay – such as offering content and special offers based on their current locations.

Need some assistance?

Our bilingual China marketing team can assist you in developing an effective digital-first strategy for reaching China’s millennial travellers. Contact us for more information on this or any other aspect of digital marketing in China.

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