Chinese Digital Marketing

Mobile First Travellers? Here’s What You Need To Know

japanese tourism increases with social media

Are Mobile First Travellers Ruling The Travel Industry?

Mobile first travellers are a generation of travellers that don’t rely on travel agencies, tour companies or any offline company that offers a ‘travel package’ or a ‘tour package’ anymore. This generation has sprung out of the internet revolution. Some of them don’t even plan their trips anymore, some of them prefer travelling solo and some of them have officially declared themselves as global citizens by spending more than a month at a certain destination.

These travel trends give us a fair understanding of how the industry has changed over the years and what steps businesses need to take in order to accommodate these patterns in their marketing strategy. Online travel accounted for more than 38 percent of the estimated US $78 billion internet economy of Southeast Asia last year and as per Google’s predictions, online travel will continue to grow by 15 percent year-on-year until 2025.

China is the first outbound market in the world with more than 120 million Chinese people travelling overseas. A few important reasons for this growth in outbound travel:

-International travel is quickly gaining popularity amongst the middle class – Global travel and visiting well-known places and landmarks in particular is a status symbol among the Chinese

-Dramatically increasing the number of luxury travellers and Gen Y/ millennials aged 35 and below (with substantial disposable income) are seen as key to Chinese tourism trends globally

-Culturally, gifting is a very common practice among the Chinese which has resulted in the popularity of shopping. Many Chinese travellers choose to travel by economy class and look for hotel offers so that they can spend more on gifts and experiences

Mobile growth

65% Of Chinese Tourists Used Mobile Payment Platforms During Overseas Travel According To A Nielson Survey

The proportion of Chinese tourists who use mobile payment platforms is far greater than that of non-Chinese tourists. During their most recent overseas trip, 65% of Chinese tourists paid for their expenses via mobile payments. At present, the proportion of Chinese tourists using mobile payment (28%) is growing faster than cash payments (30%). In comparison with the past two years, the proportion of cash payments has declined while the use of mobile payments has increased. Total transaction volume via mobile payments has also been on the rise: 77% of Chinese tourists spent more via mobile payments on their most recent overseas trip than on previous trips over the past two years.

Chinese Tourists Primarily Use Mobile Payments For Shopping, Dining and Visiting Tourist Attractions

mobile first travellers

Shopping is where Chinese tourists use mobile payments the most. 63% of the Chinese respondents said they have used mobile payments for shopping, and 76% hoped that they could use mobile payments for shopping during their overseas travel in the future. 62% of the Chinese respondents have used mobile payment platforms to pay for dining, and 58% to pay for visits to tourist attractions. These are the three consumption categories in which Chinese tourists most often pay by mobile payments.

Outbound Chinese travellers use a host of travel apps for bookings and other services through their phones today and here’s what businesses can do to influence these travellers:

Partner With OTAs (Online Travel Agency)

Global brands in the hospitality, retail and entertainment space can easily partner with Ctrip or eLong in offering attractive promotions or discounts during travel as well as enable itinerary planning, booking flights and making hotel reservations. A few weeks ago, WeChat wallet launched a booking channel that enables accommodation and travel product booking through the OTA eLong.

Cross Promotions

TripShow is a visual social content aggregator for the Chinese travel market. It aggregates visual content posted by real travellers on leading Chinese social media platforms Weibo and WeChat. Brands can curate the aggregated travel photos into albums and itineraries to inspire other travellers to experience their destination or use their travel products.

Cross promoting on one or two platforms such as TripShow or Sina Weibo is a great strategy to target your audience and engage with he prior to their trip. Apart from these, WeChat’s geo-locator feature and mini-brand websites can further enhance the Chinese traveller’s engagement experience and influence their purchase decisions.

WeChat Moments

The Chinese or just Asians for that matter are all about ‘What’s happening right now’. The best way for brands to seep into their target audience’s feed would be through the moments feature on WeChat. Over the recent years, Global brands such as Starbucks have noticed that Chinese consumers are heavily influenced by word-of-mouth recommendations (family and friends) as well as KOL (Key Opinion Leader) content on social media for purchase decisions.


Travel trends are continually changing as people will keep exploring the world in the future and this fuels the travel industry at present to maintain the momentum. Travel businesses that haven’t hopped onto mobile will be missing out on a major chunk of their audience because most of the travellers are going to go all out with using their phones for travel-oriented activities by 2025.

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