In recent years travelers from China became the most targeted by world’s touristic and leisure industry. Chinese remain leaders in total numbers of visits and expenditures during overseas trips. Now with gaining travelling experience they are gradually switching from their most popular Asian destinations to a long-distance travel in order to discover new interesting places and get multicultural experience around the globe.
Egypt, due to its rich historical heritage and nature’s uniqueness, could propose Chinese tourists those cultural activities they are looking for.
In this article, we will talk about what small business that is connected to the tourism and leisure industry in Egypt could do to attract tourists from China. But before to start let’s see what kind of tourists are coming to Egypt from China mainland to understand their needs and target them more precisely.
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Chinese key traveler groups and their priorities
Despite that Chinese outbound tourist market is relatively new, it already has a quite complex structure. Over time there appear many new segments and niches, but as it is not that settled yet, currently they are overlapping and interacting with each-other. To make things clearer it is better to simplify and represent it with just two key segments, especially for cultural activities destinations.
- Mass group travelers. They represent more than 40% of the market. This segment consists of two niches: middle-aged mass group travelers and young travelers with their children.
- Middle-aged mass group travelers prefer to travel in large groups. They are just gaining overseas travel experience and have very limited and simplified vision of it. They’re budget-oriented, have poor foreign language skills, less open-minded. They are choosing mainly world’s most “branded” destinations and prefer intense sightseeing over tours quality. Generally, it’s possible to say that they are travelling mainly for a tick and for some status over their Chinese peers.
Last three years ratio of Chinese middle-aged mass group travelers among other segments is gradually declining. However, it is needed to take in account, that for now, only 10% of Chinese acquired a foreign passport and those middle-aged who just take the chance to go abroad are generally coming through this kind of traveling experience for later switching to another one. Therefore, according to many studies, this niche will gradually decline, but still will remain quite large in the next years, especially on the most popular destinations.
- Young travelers with their children. Generally, they already have some travelling experience, their foreign language skills mostly enough or beyond basic communication capabilities, they are more open-minded. They prefer travelling with their peers and/or with children. Mostly they prefer to choose middle and small size groups, good quality tours to explore full potential of visited locations.
They are not really stuck with their budget and in most cases are very happy to extend it during traveling for more impressions or souvenirs. They are mainly seeking multicultural experiences and educational tours. This niche currently is on the raise on a long-distant destination.
- Individual Travelers. This segment mainly represented by independent explorers and niche travelers.
- Independent explorers young and experienced travelers in their 20-30s with good foreign language skills. They prefer to travel independently and are seeking for unique experiences. Generally, they’re very precise planners, prefer to book budget accommodations and have a clear idea of what kind of experience they want to get from where they are going to.
- Niche travelers.This is high-end class of tourists who prefer hand-crafted tours, luxury accommodations and unique travel experiences. They are mainly travelling in pairs and/or with heir children.
Independent explorers could be effectively reached only in case of proposing some truly unique and valuable experiences, mostly they are not aimed at large shopping on traveling destinations. Making efforts in reaching niche travelers always means high level of investments. Taking into account that currently many large players in traveling business are fighting to get them, idea in getting into this race might not be that vise for small entrepreneurs. So, let’s better put our attention on how to reach mass group travelers.
Further, to make things even more understood, we will divide our advices in two parts. First one is about what you can do locally for your guests, second is what you should do to make Chinese tourists come to you.
We Create perfect experience on your local destinations
Safety and cooperation
Currently, the dominant factor that constrains the development of all of Egypt’s tourism is safety concerns. Despite that its government provides security initiatives, reforms and spends millions in improving the situation, there are still significant incidents happening over the years. In the same time, Egyptians are succeeding in cooperation with the Chinese government in the different fields of economy. If the first influences very negatively on Chinese’s traveling choice, as among many other nations they are very security focused, the second creates cause for them to explore Egypt. Thing is not only in simplification of getting visas. Larger cooperation between governments means appearing much more information about Egypt in Chinese’s official channels: TV, Radio, Social medias. This generally stirs Chinese interest in exploring mentioned destinations. Of course, Egypt’s small business can do nothing to fix national security, but something still can be done to improve the situation locally:
- Carefully study popular tourists’ destinations, traffic routes and attractions to offer the safest to Chinese.
- Improve the security of provided accommodations by enhancing control over it (video cameras, additional staff and rules for guests).
- Find out if there are some governmental discounts/compensations for travelling/shopping, visiting national cultural heritage destinations available. Provide this information to your Chinese guests.
- Inform your Chinese tourists in details about types of frauds they can be exposed on the mass destinations and how to avoid this negative experience.
Your Chinese guests will very appreciate you for making attempts in their safety risks reduction and providing valuable information of how to avoid negative experience over their stay in Egypt.
Chinese Speaking guides and translated printing materials
If your business in Egypt is directly connected to tours and accommodations, importance of providing GOOD Chinese speaking guides and/or staff can’t be underestimated. Ratio of Chinese who’re seeking for multicultural and educational experiences is growing. They already could be the most lucrative your clients or will become them in future. Their word of mouth means very much for your success, as in China recommendations plays an important role in personal decisions.
Translating printing materials with a description of your service, travel guides, accommodations, locations or main sightseeing and shopping destinations will also be a great help for your Chinese tourists. But be careful in recommending exact shops/cafes/restaurants as they are not stupid and will quickly understand that you are doing it for the commission.
Tips to adopt services and hospitality
- Chinese are very like to be welcomed in their own language. It could be a good idea for you and your staff to learn some key phrases in their language.
- Many Chinese are taking with them personal thermoses with hot water or tea. It would be good to propose them refilling on your destinations together with a natural (not packaged) tea.
- Another welcoming idea is to propose them small pieces of local fruits while waiting on your destination, as it is common practice in China.
- Avoid of proposing trips or activities with lots of sunbathing. Generally Chinese don’t prefer to be tanned. In their culture white skin is considered as a symbol of youth, aristocracy and wealth.
Additional food options
In Chinese culture, food plays one of the central roles. Eating there goes far beyond satisfaction physical needs and also means sharing a good time together.
- It would be great to organize a buffet for your Chinese guests with the samples of local dishes and written names on it. Chinese are often asking of what new they can try during their trips.
- Chinese like the feeling of being at home wherever they travel. It is quite required to have at least rice and some Chinese spices among your local dishes. Having noodles or Chinese restaurant near your destination would be perfect, especially for those, who travel for a long time and with the members of their families.
More payment options
In cashless payments, Chinese tourists are mainly using their own UnionPay electronic banking cards and their native mobile payment platforms, like WeChat and Alipay – 70% of the market in China.
Do not underestimate providing this means of payments for your service or products. It is already seen on practice and proven by several surveys that the Chinese are ready to buy noticeably more products or services on their trips if they have the chance to use their native payment services. Providing UnionPay service locally might be not that easy, however making cross-border payments account on your phone for fast payments is must have.
We Promote your business in Chinese online
Before to promote your business for Chinese, it would be smart to name it in Chinese! There are no catchy words in this language. Even worldwide brands adopting their names for Chinese market. Best decision is to ask your Chinese clients, friends or better professionals to help you.
Chinese start their journeys online far before booking real tickets. They are watching, reading, asking, comparing and choosing the most advantageous trips, activities, shopping places on planned destinations. Only middle-aged mass groups mainly stick with their local travel agencies.
In China everything is online and once you are there, it means that you can attract your travelers far before they will really come to you. For middle-aged groups, it means that you can be attractive for their local tour agencies and they can bring their tourists to you.
To be visible to your perspective Chinese tourists online you should adopt yourself for their language and rules. In China there is no Google, Instagram or Facebook, no one will see you there. The best decision is to start your own journey in their digital world. Here we will shortly describe to you all options of developing in “Chinese online”. Some of them we are giving for the prospect, as they’re needed relatively large investments and more intended for a middle and large business.
Your own website
If you are a local tour agency in Egypt, the best start is to make your own simple website in the Chinese language. Here are the basic requirements for it:
- Hosting and registration in Hong-Kong or Singapore is at must, otherwise, your website will be very slow from China mainland due to its Firewall.
- Your website needs to be mobile-friendly, as 80% of Chinese searching for information by their mobile phones.
- Your website should be fully in the Chinese language, you can ask translation services to help you.
- Website should have a user-friendly interface, interesting content (for example pictures, description, interesting information about your tours or services)
SEO on Baidu
Baidu is the main searching engine in China with 70% of all search requests. If you want your company to be visible for your perspective Chinese tourists or partners, it needs to make SEO on Baidu.
Chinese Social Media
Even if your business is small and doesn’t really require building website – work in Chinese social media: it can seriously boost your success!
Weibo is the second most popular social media platform in China. It is a mix of Facebook and Twitter in terms of functionality. Many Chinese stars, large and small domestic/international brands/bloggers have their own official accounts there. In your case, it can be useful for wide spreading information about your tours and services on China mainland.
WeChat is the #1 Chinese social media with 1 billion monthly active users. Besides just having contacts of your Chinese clients and partners, it is also possible to share photos/videos and stories about your tours and services or products among them. It is not that easy to use WeChat for engaging new followers, but If you will decide to grow, your official account and page there will help you a lot.
Chinese Traveler forums
Mafengwo is the fast-growing and already very popular Chinese touristic platform. There users can share information about their trips and post content for others. Today Mafengwo hosts more than 1 million user-generated travel guides and has seen massive amounts of engagement on its content. It can be ideal for your tourist business promotion.
CTrip is the most popular source of tickets and hotels booking, it also has iforums and reviews for it. It can be the most useful if your local business is connected to hospitality.
Zhihu is a Chinese analog of Quora. In your case, it can be used to let your prospect clients know in details about your services and tours in Egypt. There is possible to include in answers images, graphics, drafts.
Influencers or Key opinion leaders (KOL’s) are popular social media users with a large number of followers on social media platforms. They can be experts in different fields. Chinese KOL’s have a lot more influence on followers than their overseas collogues. KOL’s give their fans ideas and inspiration, especially in the traveling industry. They can truly advertise anything.
It is a dream for any overseas touristic business to work with popular Chinese KOL’s, however today it can be very expensive.
If you really have unbeaten authentic touristic proposition among other your rivals, and you want to invest in your business, you can think about working with Chinese KOL’s, but of course not the most popular ones.
eReputation work and control
Your reputation is everything in China. Positive image of your business in Chinese social medias is the key to your success. Culture peculiarities and lots of frauds around in China are making your prospect clients to search/ask/clarify and reclarify information before making any decisions.
Once any Chinese client or prospect partner will find your tour or products, he will start to search for information and reviews about it. Your aim is to have and keep your image positive. Chinese are extremely connected, what makes any good or bad news wide spreading very fast between them.
When you will succeed in local business improvements, understand how to work in Chinese social medias and build strong online reputation, probably you will decide that there is time to grow again.
Visibility allows to attract more leads (your prospect clients). There are many ways for improving it:
- increasing presence on other travel-related social medias;
- create a larger amount of the content on those you are already in;
- working on Baidu SEO;
- making Baidu PPC and display advertising campaign.
Due to the security concerns and relatively low level of service, it is not that easy for authorities to generally improve the situation with tourism in Egypt. However, due to tight Chinese and Egyptians governments cooperation and abilities of studied online instruments, Egyptian small businesses that are related to the tourism field already can make steps towards attracting more Chinese tourists.