How to attract Rich, Chinese Tourists to the Maldives?
The Maldives is one of the top destinations for Chinese tourists, we are expecting a 175% increase in 2017 with rising disposable incomes and amid the mass Chinese international travelling trend.
Maldives is regarded as a unique destination for Honeymooners, in China.
Chinese Tourist arrivals in the Maldives have increased by 25% compared to the same period in 2016, seeing an increase of 20 000 tourists per month.
The Maldives would like to reach one million tourists arrivals in 2017.
Asian tourists hold 43.7% of this market, and increased by 106.8% last year, China is the biggest player in the market with it’s 1.4 billion strong population and 350 million ‘middle class consumers’.
The 175% increase of Chinese tourists could be attributed to Chinese New Year travel trends, and also to the continuing rise in the Asian market. On the contrary, Europe which holds the largest share of the tourism market at 51.6%, fell by 6.2% in February 2016.
Discount Culture and funny stories
The fake honeymoon story shocked Chinese people. To get discount, some Chinese people pretend to be couples enjoying a honeymoon in the Maldives. Hotels, agents and resorts offer special rooms, discounts or free lunch for new couples. Special offers usually include free meals, a complimentary visit to a spa and can include a basket of fruit or a bottle of champagne.
Most resorts require tourists to apply within six months of their marriage date. But marriage certificates can be easily manipulated on computers, and agents don’t have to break a sweat faking documents for clients. source
Fake certificates & the fake honeymoon increase has been criticized by Chinese netizens.
To get more customers, Chinese travel agencies are encouraging or even assisting their clients to forge fake marriage documents for honeymoon packages offered by Maldives travel agencies.
Chinese typical tourist VS Chinese Rich tourist
You have two kinds of Chinese Tourist, rich toursts who are usually better educated and more discerning verses lower income Chinese tourists who are usually relatively abrasive, ruder and noisy. It is always a better solution to attract Rich Chinese tourists who will spend more and are in fact easier to satisfy.
Low income travellers visit more in Groups whilst rich people prefer individual and tailor-made travel, thus they often search online more extensively or the best place, the best restaurant and the best hotel/resorts…
How to attract Chinese Tourists to your Resort, Hotel or Agency?
Establish partnerships with local Chinese agencies
The vast majority of Chinese tourists travel in groups, led by local agencies. But what’s becoming more and more popular is individual travel, especially in the High Class of Chinese travellers. Travel groups always offer lower prices, but do not create that same sense of luxury that tailor made itineraries and services.
Group travel is still popular because,
-Language barriers: many Chinese citizens are not able to speak English so they need a guide
-Visa : agencies take care of everything and make it easier to get the VISA
-Fear of safety: most Chinese people are new travellers, and are afraid explore out of their comfort zone.
-Groups: In Chinese culture, Chinese are used to doing things in larger groups.
-Price : traveling with a travel agency is much cheaper than traveling in a single or small group, and Chinese are still sensitive to price.
How to reach your customers directly? The Web
Chinese tourists use online tools to search for information, or to book their trip.
The major efficient marketing tools used are:
- SEO: have good visibility on Baidu, the Chinese number one search engine.
- Community management: be on every influential Chinese travel platform.
They are suitable methods because:
- They require low initial investment,
- Good ROI (Return on Investment)and measurable.
- a wide range of media,
- High levels of interactivity with the customer …
- All these factors make online promotion a big factor in tourism sector
- E-reputation control , get good comments and score from forums or specialized websites
- Communicate via Chinese social networks (like Weibo)
A Chinese Website
Having a website in Chinese is probably the first appropriate action to let the Chinese know about your service.
How to get a website which can bring you customers?
- Hosted in China, for faster loading.
- Use SEM (pay per click, banners …) or SEO, to attract people who want to travel, like this website
For example, if your site has good rank on the Keywords ‘Maldives honeymoon travel’ it can generate a lot of Customers.
PR (Press Relations)
Through PR campaigns we will be able to create a successful image. Some new articles on a Chinese site can be viewed tens of thousands of times!
The magazine is usually not an important source of information for Chinese people. E-media is the focus.
The KOL (Key Opinion Leaders) or Stars
KOLs (Key Opinion Leader) have the power to influence Chinese, they usually have big communities round them. Receiving good comments from them raise the profile of your services.
See how a Chinese girl explains her travel in the Maldives here
KOL operation can cost a lot but can have great effect. See here