If China tourism isn’t on your radar, it may be time to change that, especially if you’re located in destinations popular with Chinese travelers in Europe, the U.S. and Asia.
With the largest population in the world and a rapidly growing middle class, China is the world’s largest source of outbound tourism, according to UNWTO, and shows no sign of slowing down. And tourism destinations are taking notice. This month three of the UK’s leading cities launched the ‘Experience England’ project aimed at providing a seamless experience specifically aimed at Chinese tourists.
What can you do today to ensure your brand is catering to Chinese tourism?
1) Connect to the OTAs used by Chinese tourists.
Accessing Chinese travelers from outside of China isn’t easy. Many of the marketing platforms used by hoteliers are blocked in China, including Google and YouTube.
Ctrip is an OTA that represents a highly targeted channel for reaching Chinese travelers and is growing its outbound business by leaps and bounds. If you’re not listed on the site and actively managing rates and inventory, now is the time to do so.
2) Be visible on Chinese social networks.
Facebook has been blocked in China for almost a decade. The most popular Chinese social media channels are WeChat, Sina Weibo, and Tencent QQ. If you have the budget and resources, try creating a presence and experimenting with these channels to optimize your China tourism strategy.
3) Provide the payment options that Chinese travelers are comfortable using.
Chinese tourists prefer to use mobile payments such as Alipay and WeChat wallet. Make sure they are available and staff members are trained to process payments using these methods.
London company Merlin Attractions has made payments easier for the Chinese traveler by setting up Alipay on their sites, while Finnair reported a doubling of inflight retail sales six months after implementing Alipay as a method of payment.
4) Use surveys to gain insight into Chinese guest satisfaction.
Filter your post-stay survey results by nationality to find out what Chinese guests think of your hotel. You can check overall satisfaction scores, as well as drill down into specifics of what guests say about your location, restaurant, or amenities.
5) Create specific survey questions for Chinese guests.
Make certain questions visible only to guests from China. A guest survey solution will pick up the nationality of respondents via integration with your PMS system and show them customized questions. For example, “Do you prefer western or traditional Chinese breakfast?”.
6) Make operational and service improvements based on Guest Intelligence from Chinese travelers.
With the insights from online reviews and surveys, make improvements to better serve the needs and preferences of Chinese guests and track results over time to see if your ratings improve. You can also track your comp set to see how well they are serving this growing segment of travelers.
7) Understand the demographics of China tourism.
Middle-class baby boomers make up the bulk of Chinese travelers, but don’t forget to appeal to independent and tech-savvy millennials too. In fact, if you are targeting the luxury market, Chinese millennials are exactly the demographic to woo. A recent Skift article on luxury spending found the overlap of Chinese travelers and the millennial generation to be a winning combination. Find out what these guests love and dislike about the experiences provided at your hotel with an analysis of Guest Intelligence.
8) Provide a Chinese language website.
It seems obvious, but speaking in the language of your target market goes a long way, especially for Chinese travelers. While English is now taught in schools in China, baby boomers may not feel comfortable interacting in English and other foreign languages.
9) Cater to the unique needs of Chinese travelers.
Last, as the Welcome Chinese Project will tell you: Chinese travelers do not like the number four. (It is associated with death.) So avoid assigning them rooms with the number four). They prefer their water to be served at room temperature (a kettle in the room for tea is a bonus). And a bill should be presented with two hands holding it as a sign of respect!
For every type of traveler, the ultimate goal is to provide an exceptional guest experience. Anticipate the specific needs of the China tourism sector, monitor their feedback about your property and service, and constantly strive to serve them better. You will lay the foundation for enjoyable stays, great reviews, and a stellar reputation within the Chinese market.
For more information on how to improve the guest experience and boost revenue, go to ReviewPro’s Resource Hub to learn about the latest trends in hotel innovation, strategies for review responses, or how to nail your hotel distribution strategy.