MATTER: ASIA AWARENESS
MICHAEL JONES, DIRECTOR OF CREATE CONSULTING, ON WHY STRATEGY MATTERS
Missed this morning’s MATTER session with Michael Jones? See below for his top points on how to target China’s outbound travel market, including how to attract Chinese travellers and a breakdown of relevant technological platforms.
- Destination Attractiveness: What elements Chinese travellers are looking for to have an unforgettable travel experience, what triggers a positive decision making process.
- Bragging Rights: When choosing between a “hot” (destinations popular in the China market) or “unique” (destinations less popular in the China market) travel destination, the Chinese consumer prefers a unique experience; whether they actually like or enjoy the destination matters significantly less than the ability to exercise bragging rights.
- Shopping: Chinese consumers enjoy luxury shopping while travelling. A recent survey discovered that respondents spend 42% of their total trip budget on shopping, primarily in fashion outlets.
- Travelling on Your Stomach: It is best to illustrate to Chinese travellers that you are able to both cater to their cultural cuisine needs and offer them a local culinary experience of a lifetime.
- History: Large segments of Chinese tourists are interested in destinations with ancient histories, as their own country is an ancient society. A few examples are Egypt, Israel, Italy and Greece.
- Rich Countries: Generally, many Chinese travellers desire to venture to the United States at least once for the simple reason that it is viewed as one of the world’s leading superpowers. For the same reasoning, they will also try to experience places such as Singapore, Germany, the UK, the UAE and Canada in their lifetime.
- Culture: It is assumed that China has one of the best cultures in the world and though many are interested in experiencing new cultures, they prefer more reputable cultural destinations over others. One such example would be Paris, France, as it is considered to be the most romantic place to travel with many well-known sights and attractions that support such claims.
- Visa Free: Stringent visa regulations are mainly reserved for trips that Chinese travellers consider “must-see” destinations, such as those in Europe and America. By offering visas for free or upon arrival, the attractiveness of a destination significantly increases, especially considering most Chinese travellers tend to not plan their holidays too far in advance.
- Destination Search: A breakdown of how both younger and older Chinese consumers search for outbound tourism destinations – including internet search engines, social media platforms, online travel agencies, off-line travel agencies, destination websites and hard copy publications.
- Younger Travellers: They focus primarily on online sources such as Weibo, WeChat, Baidu, Qiongyou, Mafengwo and BreadTrip.
- Older Travellers: Along with the platforms mentioned above, this demographic will also consult books and publications (Lonely Planet, among others), traditional travel agents and national/destination bureau websites.
- Payment Platforms: Which online travel agencies are the most popular in China and as such where you as a product owner should be to receive China sales.
- HHTravel (Luxury OTA); Ctrip/Priceline; Tuniu; Qunar (Controlled by Baidu); Taobao (Owned by Alibaba); Mafengwo; Qiongyou; Airbnb (partnership with Qiongyou); Booking.com (BingKe); product websites with Chinese payment page.
- Technology Level: How Chinese mobile platforms are far more advanced than in the West, along with a much deeper penetration of use. (Case Study: WeChat.)
- Mobile Payments: Recent PWC report showed that when comparing Chinese to American users: 1) 71% of Chinese users have already made mobile purchases compared with 32% of Americans; 2) 37% of Chinese users use smartphones to book dinner tables compared with 13% of Americans; 3) 35% of Chinese users used mobile phones to purchase stocks compared with 5% of Americans. The Chinese website Baidu reported that during the past October national holiday season, 54% of tourism destination searches was conducted via mobile phone while 46% of users conducted these searches using their laptop or computer.
- WeChat: WeChat has a payments system linked to debit cards, making it easy to make payments for taxis, coffee, meals, etc. Although not completely universal at this time, one can leave home without a wallet and pay for most items encountered during the day using this WeChat service. Companies with WeChat Service accounts can sell their products directly through WeChat – the opportunities are unlimited. From a travel experience perspective, WeChat can thus be used to promote and sell your product.