Every year, a hundred million Chinese travelers go abroad to every corner of the world. Traveling agencies and destinations are doing their best to attract these tourists and to keep them coming. China is a booming economy and the middle class citizens of this huge country are able to travel more than ever before. Is there a way to use digital marketing strategies to attract Chinese tourist to come to your hotel, town or country? To succeed in this mission, you need to know more about your target Chinese audience, their lifestyle, needs and customs, as well as to understand their digital behavior.
Let’s take France for example. It’s a huge country (compared to European countries not China) and Chinese travelers find it very attractive as a tourist destination. But, they visit Paris, Bordeaux and Provence, without even taking other cities and regions in account. That’s what they’ve seen in movies and TV shows and they won’t really look beyond that. But, what if your French hometown is as lovely as Bordeaux, but not as famous; how could you make it more “visible” to Chinese tourists? You could make your accommodation property or town known to the potential customers by having a website in Chinese (check out TourFromBali). It’s not enough, but it will be a good starting point. Another thing is to have a website hosted in China, because it provides faster loading.
SEO campaign is, of course, important, but as you probably know, you need to focus on Chinese search engines. One of the most popular search engines in China is Baidu; people use it to search for information, products, services, vacation destinations and accommodation. If you want to have an advantage, your website has to be well-positioned, therefore it’s wise to invest in a specific SEO campaign.
Chinese tourists prefer group to individual travels (75:25) for several reasons. First of all, there’s a language barrier; many people in China don’t speak English (nor other European languages) and they need a tourist guide while traveling. Also, due to the complicated process, it’s easier for the agency to take care of everything and obtain a VISA to a tourist. Since most Chinese people haven’t been traveling before, they aren’t as eager to explore the world alone. Furthermore, it’s in their culture; people are used to doing things in groups and they find it more enjoyable. Finally, for Chinese tourists, traveling with an agency is a way cheaper compared to traveling alone or in a small group. Because of all the above mentioned, it might be good to consider establishing partnership with local Chinese travel agencies.
Chinese citizens have been significantly influenced by Internet and, obviously, they like it. As in many western countries, most people in China spend their time on social media networking websites, such as Weibo. It’s a combination of Facebook and Twitter, because it uses social and playful aspects of Facebook and the responsiveness of Twitter. Open an account, obtain certifications and start publishing fun and engaging content. According to figures reported on this popular networking website, Weibo has 300 million users. Therefore, having an account there means your message, products and offers can be spread to all these people. It’s too powerful and effective to ignore. In fact, it’s the best place to keep the finger on the pulse of what’s cool and popular among Chinese travelers.