China just resumed its opening. In 2023, the Asian Tour will likely expand its popular International Series to include three tournaments in the Greater Bay Area, including visits to Hong Kong, Macau, and perhaps Shenzhen.
Golf in China used to face massive suppression, especially during Mao Zedong’s reign, who qualified the sport as a “Sport for millionaires” turns out he was right. Indeed, practising Golf isn’t accessible to anybody, a recent poll of millionaires depicted Golf as their favourite sport when abroad.
Scottish Golf Clubs are seizing the opportunity
It is known that Scotland is one of the countries with the most astonishing Golf courses, and they want to use their potential to get a piece of the (huge) Chinese spending power. Chinese tourists spend on average £770 on a holiday to Scotland, which is £70 more compared to what American tourists spend and it is also more than what tourists from any other nation spend.
The problem is that the UK is not part of the European Union’s Schengen agreement, which makes trips there a little tricky for Chinese tourists because they have to fulfil a different application form.
France wins what the UK loses!
France receives a lot more visitors than the UK, even if Chinese tourists are now more interested in travelling to the UK than France. But a simplified visa procedure has been launched, which is really interesting for British tourism actors, knowing the potential of the Chinese outbound market (plus, their interest in Europe).
One million golfers were pushing boundaries in 2019…outside and inside China. So they will be back in 2023
Golf has known a renewed interest from Chinese people, with one million registered golfers wanting to explore their home country’s potential as a major golf destination. China, the new Scotland for Golf? The trend has just started but it is definitely something worth keeping an eye on!
Scotland wants to market and promote its country and particularly the amazing Highlands region. Scottish Golf courses are always featured on the World’s best golf courses, with famous ones like Castle StuartGolf Links, Royal Dornoch Golf Club, The Nairn Golf Club… Which are also hosting prestigious golf competitions like the Scottish Open, The Walker Cup, The Curtis Cup or the Home Internationals tournament.
Hotel groups are promoting ‘Play and Stay’ packages in the Highlands to encourage a new concept for Chinese tourists, Golf tourism. Golf tourism is already an important contributor to Scotland’s economical model. The market represents annual £220 thousand.
Where do they search for information?
They will mostly look for information on the Internet, from the flight to the accommodation fees, and the first reflex will be to have a look at what others said before.
As a westerner would use Google, a Chinese tourist will obviously use Baidu to have the information needed. Baidu even launched a service dedicated to trips, Baidu Luyou. Therefore you need to have a decent website, that matches Chinese viewing standards not just a Google translate plugin on your website. A Chinese website translated by a Chinese native is a must-have here. Check this post for more information
The Word of Mouth (WOM) is very important for Chinese consumers, indeed, they tend to believe more testimonies of real experiences. As they are highly connected and social media are the most trusted and viewed media in China, they will automatically take in account someone expressing good or bad advice on a destination, hotel, or flight company…
Online Booking Websites
What is good about these websites is that they mix professional advice, because they are seen as qualitative websites and consumers’ experiences. They can also have information on the best places to see, where to eat, etc…
Following a series of scandals in a wide range of sectors, the Chinese tend to trust more recommended content from their peer review, social media discussions and expert advice (旅游达人, Lvyou Daren, the best opinion leaders you can get…detail post about who they are coming this Friday, don’t miss it!)
To market Golf tourism, Scotland tourism actors should therefore organize a strong presence on the Chinese Web so Chinese consumers can be aware of the activity. They should also make sure to target wealthy consumers.
Let’s sum up: How to attract Chinese golfers?
1. Make a separate website in Mandarin optimized for the Chinese internet
2. Increase your ranking on Baidu via SEO and SEM
3. Make Press Releases in dedicated online and offline Chinese media
4. Build up your official accounts on Red and Wechat
5. Work with Chinese KOLs
1. Adopt your services for Chinese guests
2. Hire Mandarin-speaking Staff
3. Embrace Chinese payment methods
4. Make promotions
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