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What Channels Chinese Use To Plan Outbound Travel?

Chinese tourists are important for global tourism. They travel a lot – 140 million in 2019 alone. Businesses need to know how they plan their trips, especially since 72% of Chinese tourists use online tools. So, businesses should use digital platforms to reach them.

This blog post will explore the top channels and marketing strategies successfully employed by stakeholders within the travel industry in order to attract China’s thriving outbound tourist market.

Top Channels Chinese Tourists Use To Plan Outbound Travel

Chinese tourists primarily use online travel agencies (OTAs), social media platforms, and travel blogs/forums to plan their outbound trips.

Online Travel Agencies (OTAs)

Online travel agencies (OTAs) have changed how Chinese tourists plan and book their trips. They offer an easy way to organize everything in one place. Popular OTAs for Chinese tourists include:

1. Ctrip: As the leading OTA in China, Ctrip offers comprehensive travel services such as hotel bookings, flight tickets, train tickets, and even local tours at various destinations.

2. Qunar: Known for its competitive pricing on flights and hotels, Qunar is another popular choice for Chinese travelers when planning their outbound trips.

3. Fliggy (formerly known as Alitrip): This Alibaba-owned platform focuses on providing customized travel experiences, integrating with other Alibaba services like Alipay and Taobao.

Chinese travelers use OTAs not only for booking but also for planning their trips. They trust these platforms for information and inspiration. OTAs provide user-generated content like reviews, photos, and travel tips to help users make informed decisions.

Social Media Platforms

Social media platforms are increasingly becoming popular channels for Chinese tourists to gather travel inspiration and information.

Here’s an outline of how social media platforms play a significant role in planning outbound travel for Chinese tourists:

1. WeChat Marketing: With its vast user base, WeChat is the most crucial platform to target when trying to capture the attention of potential Chinese tourists.

2. Sina Weibo: This microblogging website is another popular choice for sharing travel experiences and tips among Chinese netizens.

3. Douyin (TikTok): Short video platforms like Douyin enable users to share eye-catching destinations and travel experiences, creating a sense of wanderlust that inspires trips abroad.

4. Qzone: As one of China’s largest social networking sites, Qzone allows users to post blogs, photos, videos, and links to travel-related information.

5. Xiaohongshu (Little Red Book): A lifestyle-sharing platform that blends social media and e-commerce, allowing users to discover and share destination guides, reviews, and recommendations.

To effectively use social media platforms, it’s important to understand their audience demographics and content preferences. This helps in creating targeted marketing strategies that cater to the needs and interests of Chinese outbound tourists.

Travel Blogs And Forums

As one of the top channels Chinese tourists use to plan outbound travel, travel blogs, and forums play a significant role in shaping their travel decisions.

Chinese travel reviews websites like Mafengwo and Qyer are popular among Chinese tourists for their comprehensive offerings of listings, reviews, travel diaries, guides, and Q&A forums. Over half of Chinese travelers rely on these websites when planning their overseas trips, making them a useful source of advice.

Travel brands should collaborate with popular bloggers and influencers on these platforms to promote their services among potential Chinese visitors.

Factors Affecting The Choice Of Channels

Age and income group, as destination preferences, are all factors that can influence which digital platforms Chinese travelers use to plan their outbound trips.

Age And Income Group

Understanding the age and income group of Chinese outbound travelers is crucial for determining the most suitable channels to engage with them.

This information can help businesses effectively target their marketing efforts, ultimately increasing their exposure to the right audience.

Age GroupIncome GroupPreferred Channels
18-34Low to MediumSocial Media Platforms, Travel Blogs, and Forums
35-54Medium to HighOnline Travel Agencies (OTAs), Social Media Platforms
55+HighOnline Travel Agencies (OTAs), Travel Blogs, and Forums

Destination Preferences

Experienced Chinese tourists have diverse destination preferences, ranging from popular spots like Japan or Thailand to less-traveled paths in Europe and South America.

While younger travelers prefer trendy cities with vibrant cultures and street food.

But COVID-19 has changed the game, and safety is now a top priority when choosing a destination.

Best Practices For Reaching Chinese Outbound Tourists

To effectively reach the Chinese outbound tourist market, businesses should focus on building a strong social media presence, optimizing their website and mobile app for mobile bookings and payments, and tailoring the experience to their cultural preferences.

This presents a great opportunity for businesses across various industries to tap into one of the world’s largest markets.

We are your travel marketing agency in China!

In conclusion, Chinese outbound travelers rely heavily on digital channels for trip planning, with online travel agencies, social media, and travel blogs/forums being the most popular sources of information. However, factors like age group, destination preferences, and language proficiency can affect their choice of channel.

To effectively promote tour brands, it’s important to understand the customer journey and integrate digital marketing efforts accordingly, such as building a presence on popular Chinese social media and tailoring experiences to their preferences. This can help tour operators attract and amaze.


We are a China-based marketing agency focused on providing cost-effective solutions for Western companies wanting to reach out to Chinese consumers. Our team of Chinese and foreign experts has the experience and know-how needed to succeed in the Chinese market.

We offer many services, including:

Don’t hesitate to leave us a comment or contact us, so that we can schedule a meeting with one of our experts, that will learn about your brand and present you with the best solutions to attract Chinese tourists to your destination!

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