An increasing number of China’s citizens – particularly those who are part of the country’s growing affluent middle classes – have been travelling abroad in recent years. Chinese travellers really like to make the most of opportunities for international travel, and are looking for new experiences and desirable products while overseas.

Australia is one of the countries that is benefiting from the Chinese tourism boom. There were over a million visitors from China to Australia during 2015. Austrade reports that the number of Chinese tourists rose 21% from the previous year, and that they spent $8.3 billion while they were here – representing around 23% of the total tourism spend for the year and the highest amount of any overseas demographic.

While this is very positive, it actually represents only about 1% or less of China’s estimated 120 million outbound tourists each year.

The Australian government is taking steps to encourage more Chinese visitors, including by relaxing visa rules. If you operate a tourism business, there are a number of things you can do to attract more visitors as well. Here are a few of them.

Reach potential visitors at the research stage

The Chinese are very partial to undertaking their own online research rather than going through traditional travel agencies, and they do so using mobile devices. Popular sites for researching travel include social networks such as QQ, Qzone, WeChat and Weibo – especially for reviews and opinion leaders – and sites such as Ctrip, Qunar, and eLong for making travel bookings.

Give Chinese tourists what they want

Many Chinese tourists are looking for cultural experiences that they wouldn’t be able to have at home. Some of the popular trends include skiing, sailing, and cruises, visiting wineries, national parks, botanical gardens, heritage buildings and landmarks, and attending festivals and sporting and celebrity events. Shopping is also immensely popular of course – especially for luxury brands that may be unavailable or cost more in China due to tariffs and consumption taxes.

However, Chinese tourists do not necessarily have the same expectations or desires as their western counterparts. When it comes to cruises for instance, many of us seek relaxation and rest, whereas it appears that Chinese tourists prefer to be busy with a multitude of experiences.

Other travel requirements include freely available Wi-Fi for doing research and for sharing trip experiences on social media, Mandarin-speaking staff at hotels and on tours, and ease of payments.

Targeting Chinese travellers with clever marketing

Marketing to attract Chinese visitors requires a tailored strategy.

  • As for all marketing efforts, get to really know and understand your target audiences – what they want and need as well as their budgets, particular interests and motives for travelling.
  • If you have not already done so, develop a Chinese website optimised for the Baidu search engine and create a presence on social media sites such as WeChat.
  • Timing of posts is important. China’s holidaymakers like to research and plan their trips several weeks beforehand, making pre-trip targeting important for offering travel and shopping experiences, and also providing opportunities for geo-targeting during their overseas stays.
  • Pay attention to national holidays when people from China are more likely to travel – such as Chinese New Year (February), Golden Week (October), and Dragon Boat Festival (June).

Get expert assistance

Our bilingual team at Digital Crew has had considerable experience in marketing to Chinese tourists. So if you want to attract visitors to your hotel, or become a favoured shopping destination, or the city tour of choice, get in touch for assistance with localising your marketing content and setting up an online presence in China.

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