The interest in theme parks among Chinese tourists has seen a notable rise, marking a significant trend in global tourism. This growth reflects the changing travel preferences and economic strength of one of the world’s most prominent tourist groups.
Mainland China has become a key player in the global tourism market, known for its high spending and desire for diverse travel experiences. For theme parks around the world, this means a large and varied audience with unique needs and expectations. Successfully engaging this market requires a smart approach that understands and caters to these specific preferences.
This article aims to provide practical strategies for theme parks to effectively attract and satisfy Chinese visitors. By adapting to this important market, theme parks can expand their reach and increase their appeal to a broader, global audience.
Are Chinese People Really Fans of Amusement Parks?
As indicated by their current popularity, theme parks are no longer unrelated to Chinese consumers as they were up to 10 years ago. According to surveys, more than 42% of Chinese consumers aged between 20 and 49 visited a park more than once in the last 12 months. About 85% of parents have taken their children to theme parks in the last year. The growth is supported by a number of market factors.
First of all, as a tourism and entertainment industry, parks benefit from the development of tourism in China. In addition, Chinese visitors show a growing need for tourism options, such as amusement parks, as their disposable income increases. It is a type of entertainment that appeals to all the Chinese age groups especially because they are considered parent-child activities and as such.
From 2018 to 2023, Chinese amusement park revenue recorded a growth of 4.3% and is expected to reach $5.3 billion. It’s important to keep in mind that all of the theme parks were closed for months during the COVID-19 pandemic. There are also no new statistics showing the attendance of Chinese travelers to amusement parks around the world, but the trends in their travel choices look promising.
In addition, on the list of most visited amusement parks in the world, there are two Chinese theme parks: Shanghai Disneyland, one of the most popular and biggest Disneylands in the world, and Chimelong Ocean Kingdom, attracting domestic and foreign tourists all year round.
China Surpasses the USA
According to Euromonitor International, the theme park market in China will surpass the United States within two years. According to the company’s report, ticket sales in China’s theme parks will reach 12 trillion yuan in as the average number of tourists should exceed 330 million.
Chinese amusement parks have attracted around 200 million visitors in the past year. With these figures, the Asian country has already conquered the second place after the United States but seems ready to make shoes in a short time. In fact, it holds the dominant position for what concerns the Asian market, since there are 13 theme parks.
A Complete Experience
While in theme parks, these tourists do not just want to ride a carousel but expect performances, stunts, fireworks, and song-and-dance shows. Once they enter they want to have a complete experience from food (about 75% of Chinese visitors spend in kiosks) to shopping (about 68%).
All these parks must meet the constantly evolving expectations of Chinese consumers who are increasingly digital and also want an experience that includes digital technology to remove all those annoyances like endless queues.
For example, when Disney opened “Disneyland” in Shanghai, Disney adapted to the payment method used by the Chinese, ie all transactions made via smartphones and related apps. There is no need to say how much positive feedback has been received only through this strategy.
How to Promote an Amusement Park to Chinese Visitors?
If you aim to target Chinese travelers, you need to see the whole picture. Your marketing strategy should include digital marketing, but also on-site adaptations and offline promotion.
Leveraging Digital Marketing Platforms
In the current digital landscape, especially in China, the significance of social media platforms like WeChat, Weibo, and Douyin (TikTok) cannot be overstated. For theme parks targeting Chinese tourists, effectively using these platforms is vital.
Chinese Social Media Platforms
WeChat is an all-in-one app that can be used for targeted marketing, sharing exclusive content, and managing bookings. Weibo is ideal for broader, public-facing campaigns, perfect for viral marketing and enhancing brand awareness. Douyin (TikTok), with its short, engaging video format, is a powerful tool to showcase the exciting and unique experiences available at your theme park.
You can also use travel platforms and websites, like Ctrip, Mafengwo, or Fliggy. Chinese visitors check them for any travel recommendations and it’s a place where you should promote your amusement park the most.
Collaborating with Key Opinion Leaders (KOLs)
The first step is to identify influencers who not only have a significant following but also resonate with your theme park’s values and appeal to your target audience. Creating content with these KOLs should focus on authenticity and relevance to their audience. This might include behind-the-scenes tours, special event features, or unique park experiences.
Engaging in influencer campaigns, especially during peak travel times or around major Chinese holidays, can amplify your reach and impact.
Tailoring Digital Advertising for Chinese Platforms
When developing ads, it’s crucial to tailor content to align with the cultural preferences and nuances of Chinese tourists. This involves using Mandarin and incorporating culturally relevant themes.
Chinese audiences appreciate interactive and engaging content, so consider incorporating augmented reality experiences, online contests, or interactive virtual tours of your theme park. Additionally, leverage the advanced targeting tools available on these platforms to reach potential visitors based on their interests and travel behaviors.
Customizing the Theme Park Experience
To effectively cater to Chinese travelers, theme parks need to go beyond standard offerings and deeply integrate aspects that resonate with Chinese culture and values. This not only enhances the visitor experience but also demonstrates respect and consideration for their cultural background.
Incorporating elements that appeal to Chinese culture is vital. This can be achieved by introducing themes, shows, or characters that are popular or hold cultural significance in China. Additionally, celebrating Chinese festivals and holidays within the park can create a sense of familiarity and excitement for Chinese visitors.
Making the theme park experience accessible to Chinese tourists also involves addressing language barriers. Ensuring that signage, guides, and informational material are available in Mandarin is crucial.
Moreover, developing Mandarin versions of mobile apps or digital guides enhances the overall experience, making it easier for Chinese guests to navigate the park, understand attractions, and access services. The best you can do is actually offer a WeChat mini-program for your amusement park.
Training Staff in Cultural Sensitivity and Basic Mandarin
Equipping staff with the skills to interact effectively with Chinese tourists is crucial. This includes training in cultural sensitivity to understand the cultural nuances and expectations of Chinese visitors. Additionally, teaching staff basic Mandarin phrases for greetings, directions, and customer service can greatly enhance the visitor experience. It’s even better if you hire Chinese-speaking staff, that will be responsible for visitors from China.
Celebrating Chinese Festivals and Incorporating Chinese Cuisine Options
Acknowledging and celebrating important Chinese festivals can significantly appeal to Chinese visitors. This could involve special events or decorations for festivals like the Spring Festival or the Mid-Autumn Festival.
Alongside this, offering authentic Chinese cuisine options within the park is another way to cater to Chinese guests. This might include traditional dishes, snack options, or even dedicated Chinese restaurants, providing a taste of home and catering to their culinary preferences.
Special Promotions and Packages
To effectively engage with the Chinese tourist market, theme parks should consider offering special promotions and packages that specifically cater to their interests and cultural background. These tailored offerings can significantly enhance the appeal of the park to Chinese visitors.
Tailored Packages for Chinese Holidays and Festivals
Designing special packages around Chinese holidays such as the Spring Festival (Chinese New Year), National Day, or the Mid-Autumn Festival can be a major draw. These packages could include themed events, decorations, and special shows that celebrate these occasions. Offering holiday-specific discounts or bundled deals (including accommodation, special access to attractions, or dining options) can also be very attractive.
Discounts and Offers for Chinese Tourists
Providing exclusive discounts and offers for Chinese tourists can be an effective way to increase their interest and bookings. This could involve early bird discounts, group booking offers, or special rates for extended stays. Collaborating with Chinese travel agencies or platforms can also aid in effectively marketing these discounts.
Creating Exclusive Experiences or Events
Developing exclusive experiences or events aimed at Chinese visitors can set a theme park apart. This could include VIP tours with Mandarin-speaking guides, exclusive access to new attractions, or special performances by popular artists or entertainers from China. Offering custom dining experiences featuring Chinese cuisine or organizing cultural exchange events can also be a unique selling point.
GMA-Case study: Sunway Lagoon
Sunway Lagoon is a famous theme center park in Malaysia. They provide hotel service around the park in case some clients need to spend a few days visiting the park. Considering the increasing number of Chinese tourists in Malaysia and lifting their awareness and reputation in the Chinese market, they hired GMA as their marketing team in China to handle the social media, SEO, e-PR, and e-reputation program.
We provided them with social media marketing campaigns (WeChat and Weibo), created a Chinese website well-optimized for Baidu SEO and consistently worked on their e-reputation, branding, and PR. As a result, the number of Chinese tourists visiting the park increased drastically.
Gentlemen Marketing Agency: Connecting You to the Chinese Tourism Market
Gentlemen Marketing Agency understands the unique dynamics of the Chinese tourism market and the challenges that theme parks face in attracting this lucrative audience. Our team of experts specializes in bridging cultural gaps and unlocking the potential of the Chinese tourist market for your theme park.
Why Choose Gentlemen Marketing Agency?
- Expertise in the Chinese Market: We have a deep understanding of Chinese cultural nuances, travel habits, and digital landscapes. Our insights can help you tailor your theme park experience to meet the expectations of Chinese tourists.
- Customized Marketing Strategies: We develop targeted marketing campaigns using popular Chinese social media platforms and collaborate with influential KOLs to amplify your theme park’s presence in China.
- Cultural Adaptation Consultation: Our services extend to advising on cultural adaptations, language accessibility, and family-focused services, ensuring a seamless and welcoming experience for Chinese visitors.
Our Services Include
- Digital Marketing on Chinese Platforms: We’ll help you create and manage campaigns on platforms like WeChat, Weibo, and Douyin, ensuring your message resonates with the Chinese audience.
- KOL and Influencer Collaborations: Leverage our network of Chinese influencers to increase your theme park’s visibility and appeal.
- Cultural and Language Training: We provide training for your staff in cultural sensitivity and basic Mandarin, enhancing the visitor experience.
Ready to transform your theme park’s appeal among Chinese tourists? Reach out to us now and embark on a journey of growth and success!