China has become one of the largest outbound tourism markets in the world, and targeting Chinese tourists can be a great opportunity for luxury resorts.
To effectively promote a luxury resort to Chinese tourists, it is important to consider a few key strategies.
Overview of the Chinese Luxury Outbound Tourism Market
In the past 20 years, Chinese traveled more and more, looking for the most beautiful experiences possible, without really caring about the cost.
The China outbound tourism market has reached USD 184,201 Million by 2022, with sales projected to grow at a strong rate of 14.1% CAGR between 2022 and 2032. This growth is attributed to the expanding travel industry in China.
According to the study, the demand in this market is predicted to exceed USD 690,719 Million by 2032. These findings are based on a report on the China Outbound Travel Market by Future Market Insights.
Nowadays, Chinese tourists have money and they are willing to spend it in order to experience outstanding holidays: Chinese tourists spend the most with expenses of $277.3 billion, against $144.2 billion for US travelers, according to the UNTWO (United Nations World Tourism Organisation).
The increase in their income combined with their attraction to luxury and ambition to travel the world, make them the perfect consumers for luxury accommodations and experiences.
According to COTRI (China Outbound Tourism Research Institute), the favorite destination for Chinese travelers in 4 & 5 stars resorts are:
For example, in 2019, before the pandemic, around 11 million Chinese visited Thailand each year and tourism industry-related revenue accounted for about a fifth of the country’s GDP.
Chinese and Luxury Tourism
All of these destinations are very attractive for their culture, their gastronomy, and the diversity of proposed activities. Also, we can find wide possibilities of luxury hotels, especially in Thailand where we can find many big entities of luxury resorts which often have more than one location:
- Four Seasons Resort (Chiang Mai, Koh Samui, Chiang Rai)
- Six Senses (Yao Noi, Koh Samui)
- Phulay Bay Krabi (a Ritz-Carlton Reserve)
- Rosewood (Bangkok, Phuket)
- Mandarin Oriental (Bangkok)
- The Peninsula (Bangkok)
- SO Sofitel (Bangkok)
All of these names are very familiar and therefore very attractive to the Chinese tourists who trust them. They trust them because they know them for their prestige and high quality of services. Those are worldwide known entities and are also established in China.
How to promote a luxury resort to Chinese tourists?
The Chinese are very specific because they spend a lot of time online. They are using platforms and apps which occur only in China. Western platforms are neither allowed nor popular. This is why it is essential for your luxury resort to be present on local platforms such as:
To be successful, the content provided on all of these platforms has to be particularly good-looking. The reason is that Chinese tourists are looking for places where they can take breathtaking pictures, where they can show the outstanding place they are staying at, and therefore the amazing trip they are having: taking pictures and showing them is a major part of the journey.
Furthermore, Chinese customers need to be reassured. They want to avoid risks and uncertainty, this is why the review section of the website is one of the most important.
Chinese trust the pictures, but they trust the feedbacks they see, even more, and they need to see good and many reviews to trust the place and finalize the booking.
WeChat: An Adequate Platform to Promote Luxury Resorts to Chinese Tourists
It is the most commonly used social media in China, as a messaging app, a payment app, and also as a booking app. Indeed, every company should have an official account.
A potential customer would follow you to get the latest news. But also get access to your WeChat mini-program (a version of the website optimized for mobile uses and Wechat).
With WeChat mini-programs, you can offer your followers the option to book directly from their WeChat and much more such as:
- Book an excursion
- Buy your hotel products
- Destination introduction
- Order food
WeChat Group to promote luxury vacations
Create a travel enthusiasts group and do community management and share:
- Travels tips
- Info on point of interest and destination
- VIP deals/ exclusive deals
- Customers experiences
- Live-streaming Invitation
Alibaba has developed its own booking app, Fliggy which is available from the Alipay app (commonly used in China, mainly for payments, but also to order food, to order a taxi, to book flights, train tickets,…). On Fliggy, the customer can easily look for a hotel with pictures, useful information, and more important: the average rating and reviews of the hotel.
Fliggy also offers live streaming so the users can virtually visit a museum and public places, especially located in Europe, which is very efficient in the process of Chinese customers checking their destination. Therefore, offering this kind of live stream presenting the facilities, the rooms, the building, and the neighborhood would be a very good way to promote your luxury resorts.
Once the customer is charmed, he/she can easily book a hotel room directly on Fliggy. The transaction will happen immediately thanks to the payment system of Alibaba, Alipay, connected to the mini program.
C-Trip: Number 1 Chinese OTA to list your Luxury Resort
This app is primarily designed for Chinese visitors to book flight and train tickets. However, it also has a well-functioning hotel section. One of the features in the filters allows users to display only luxury resorts.
This can be a useful tool for reaching High Net Worth Individuals (HNWI) who are looking for high-end accommodations.
Mafengwo is a popular Chinese travel forum where people share their travel experiences and provide information on hotels, flights, travel routes, and more. It has over one million user-generated travel guides and six million ratings and reviews, making it a valuable resource for travelers.
The website also offers booking services from various providers. The articles written by travelers are detailed and often include pictures and instructions to help others make the most of their trips.
Each destination on Mafengwo has tips, photos, suggested itineraries, and personal comments from other travelers.
Baidu: The Base for Tourism Marketing in China
The user is discussing the importance of being referenced on Baidu, a popular search engine in China, for the purpose of attracting Chinese travelers. They mention that once a tourist is searching for a website, they are likely already interested in booking.
However, instead of relying solely on the website’s reviews, the tourist may prefer to gather information from other platforms that they find more trustworthy. They also mention that Chinese tourists often prefer to book through online travel agencies (OTAs) due to lower prices and convenient payment systems like WeChat and Alipay.
Therefore, it is important to provide detailed information about facilities, services, room options, and accurate pictures on the website.
Despite the luxury nature of the resort, the customer will still be looking for the best option at the lowest price, so a high booking rate through the website should not be expected.
How to Make Sure Chinese Tourists Choose Your Luxury Resort
The prestige of the hotel is very important, as much as the reviews and the aesthetic of the pictures. Customers should be able to project themselves taking pictures in those places.
In a more practical aspect, it is necessary to be able to accept mobile payment because it is commonly used in mainland China.
Chinese people are not used anymore to cash and credit cards. If you can offer Wechat pay and AliPay to facilitate the transactions of your Chinese customers, they will be more willing to spend money because the way of paying is familiar to them.
Don’t be Shy with the Luxury Etiquette for your Resort
Chinese customers staying in luxury resorts have high expectations for their holidays, including the opportunity to purchase luxury goods. In 2018, around one-third of Chinese travelers’ expenses were spent on shopping, particularly luxury items.
To enhance the customer experience, offering luxury brand corners or personal shopping services would be a valuable addition. Unlike Western culture, Chinese customers often prioritize the luxury goods themselves rather than the purchasing experience.
Marriott’s Success in China: A Case Study in Adaptation and Localization
Marriott’s entry into China began in 1989 when it opened its first hotel in Beijing. At the time, China’s hotel industry was still in its infancy, and foreign brands faced numerous obstacles.
However, Marriott’s commitment to understanding the local market and adapting its offerings to Chinese preferences played a crucial role in its success.
Marriott conducted extensive market research to gain insights into Chinese travelers’ preferences and expectations. This included understanding cultural nuances, dining preferences, and travel patterns. Armed with this knowledge, Marriott tailored its hotel designs, amenities, and services to cater to Chinese guests.
For example, it introduced Chinese-style breakfast options, tea ceremonies, and Chinese-speaking staff.
Also, Marriott recognized the importance of building strong relationships with local partners and government authorities. It formed joint ventures with Chinese companies, allowing it to navigate complex regulations and gain access to prime locations. Marriott also actively engaged with government officials to ensure compliance and foster support for its expansion plans.
Marriott’s strategic approach paid off, and it quickly gained traction in China. Today, it operates hundreds of hotels across the country, serving millions of Chinese and international guests. Its success in China has not only contributed to its global revenue but has also positioned Marriott as a trusted and preferred brand in the Chinese hospitality industry.
To conclude on How to Promote Luxury Resort in China
To promote a luxury resort in China, it is important to have a strategic approach that takes into account the unique preferences of the Chinese market. Thorough market research is necessary to understand the needs of luxury travelers in China. Utilizing digital platforms such as social media and travel apps for marketing purposes is also recommended.
Collaborating with influential Chinese travel bloggers or Key Opinion Leaders (KOLs) can help to increase visibility and reach. Translating marketing materials into Chinese and incorporating Chinese cultural elements can help to connect with the target audience. It is important to highlight the resort’s luxury amenities, exceptional services, and personalized experiences.
Collaborating with reputable travel agencies, luxury brands, and airlines can help to expand reach and attract high-profile customers.
By implementing these strategies, you can effectively promote and attract discerning Chinese travelers.
Gentlemen Marketing Agency offers many digital marketing and e-commerce solutions, such as web design, e-commerce and social media marketing strategies, localization, market research, KOL marketing, and more.
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