in 2023, EVERYTHING is digital with the tourism industry in China. Sales, marketing, Promotion, Loyatly, Project, travel management, suppliers …
- Digital is everywhere. All Digital agencies survives.
- Most of Traditionnal offline agencies have died in China during lockdowns and pandemic.
- Digital is the key to attract Chinese travellers in 2023
The incredible increase in e-tourism in China
China experienced particularly impressive growth in tourism before the pandemic. Now, when it finally reopens in 2023 with the support of the Chinese government, the world awaits China to be back as a major tourism driving force.
Between 2000 and 2012 the Chinese tourism market increased by 8 times and in 2019 there were more than 160 million trips abroad from China mainland with an average spend of 1000 USD per person per day.
Today China is also hosting the largest number of netizens in the world. The Mainland celebrated 1 billion active internet users by the end of 2021. To compare, this represents populations of North America and the European Union together.
What does the Chinese tourist think?
As you may have noticed, the growth of these two sectors has produced a change in the way tourists decide to choose their holiday destination. In Western countries, we choose a particular destination thanks to family or network advice. While in China, decisions are made online.
The Internet has become an indispensable tool for over 80% of Chinese if they want to go on holiday abroad. When it comes to choosing a destination, booking a hotel, or a flight, the first reflexes they have, is to search and seek information on the web. Before taking the final decision, they will cast a glance at the social networks. Read reviews, watch travelers’ pictures, and check on forums the reputation of the travel agency and how others are rating its services. Only after this fundamental research, they will make a decision whether to contact you or not.
If you want to capture Chinese tourists’ attention, you need to know what influences them the most and where they are seeking this information. Then, you will be able to control information, the image of your brand, and the best ways to sell your travel services to your potential Chinese clients.
Favorite online places you don’t want to miss
If today’s large traditional agencies such as CITS or CIT are not winning unanimous support, new players take place in the market. Ctrip, Qunar, Figgy, and Tuniu manage to distinguish themselves and even control a big piece of the e-tourism market in China.
Baidu is also never off the Chinese tourist’s lips. This is the main search engine in China (similar to Google) with 80% of the search market share it offers countless features and functions for Chinese travelers to choose their next journey. This site Sina offers the opportunity for Chinese to share their experience and give feedback on their travel. Other blogs and forums such as Tuniu or Baidu Tieba exist for the same purpose and appreciate very high public attention.
If you want Chinese tourists to find you, your website must be well-ranked on Baidu.
A good ranking is necessary for China and, of course, possible if you choose appropriate keywords to match your agency services. Afterward, you will have a much better percentage of customers really interested in your services.
Your website must be hosted in China, written entirely in Mandarin, and be consistent with Baidu’s standards. Please don’t forget: Baidu uses different algorithms from Google, and the ranking there is not based on the same criteria. SEO or SEM campaigns are a great help to gain visibility by enhancing your position on the search engine and targeting interested customers. Our specialists can help you to build a well-rounded search marketing strategy.
Referencing Baidu is the 1st step to attracting Chinese tourists
After establishing yourself on the Chinese search engine, travelers will be able to solicit your company in their search results. Online press releases are important too. It is a good instrument for both having visibility and reassuring potential clients of your services. It is also principal to choose a dedicated media to match your target audience. Online ads and commercials are good options too, but require very precise work for targeting your audience efficiently.
Social networks are the most used channels in China where some accounts are entirely dedicated to the promotion of travel. Chinese users like to share their experiences through socials and blogs and make a name for themselves as experienced travelers. So your company can register on Sina Weibo, WeChat and Tuniu to gain more attention and market yourself as the next place of choice for your respective Chinese clients.
Key Opinion Leaders are important
Key Opinion Leaders (KOL) are represented on every social network and are very popular among the Chinese. Whether for cosmetic brands, clothes brands, or for travel agencies, it is always in your favor to be mentioned by Chinese KOLs. It can also be a good idea to offer free trips to stars or celebrities in exchange for posts about their holidays.
For example, Yaochen (the Chinese actress) made the buzz by posting photos of her holidays in New Zealand. This led Chinese travel enthusiasts to crave to visit a country they saw before.
A precious help
If you want to start in Chinese e-tourism, you need to know some websites. They do not value their own airline or resort but offer to host and reference your service to allow Chinese tourists to compare the companies. The good side of these platforms is that they have a reputation that will automatically impact your agency and your services. Chinese consumers are very demanding, but once they will try and like your services, your business will be thriving by their precious reviews and recommendations.
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