This complete guide will explain to you how to increase your bookings from Chinese Clients. A step by step Marketing guide for the Chinese Market
What do we know about travelling and hotel bookings among Chinese?
China is a country of 1.5 billion people – it would be a complete waste not to let them go and explore your country. Of course, it is a well-known fact that only 11% of Chinese have international passports. However, this proportion is steadily increasing with every single year.
2018 year has seen a 15-% increase in outbound travels if compared to 2017. And that was more than 70 million..
It should be noted that at this stage travelling abroad for the Chinese people is only become to be a usual thing. However, that’s true only for the citizens of 1st and 2nd tier cities. They started with close destinations like Thailand, Malaysia, Vietnam, Japan, etc.
Nowadays, as these destinations became too conventional and mostly suitable for a weekend or short holiday getaway, a rising need for new distant locations has appeared. That is mostly fair for millenials and those born after 1990. The newest popular destinations include the USA, Australia, Russia, etc.
While the people from less developed areas might also start with the above mentioned options, it is true that, according to surveys, the more experienced ones would prefer one the following countries to explore:
- Countries of Africa, Latin America, etc.
What the Chinese are looking for when travelling?
- Cultural Experience
This is the newest trend. This is why now they prefer to go to any place they have never seen before, or never even heard of before. Malaysia and Singapore can barely provide any sort of unusual experience for them now as long as even part of the population there is comprised by the Chinese. There’s nothing unique there anymore.
- A chance to get away from it all
Life in highly developed Chinese cities is hustling and bustling, therefore, they feel the need to regular short getaways to release themselves of ordinary burdens of life.
- Shopping and Leisure
This used to be the main in 91% of cases before. However, now the young generation doesn’t show any particular interest for that anymore.
The Chinese are the main audience when it comes to the big-scale events these years. Let’s mention the World Cup in Russia that has triggered an immense flow of visitors from China notwithstanding the fact that they cannot be mentioned as the main stars of the field. The same can be said about the Winter Olympics. Summer Olympics and Pan-Asian Games are, obviously, overwhelmed by the Chinese viewers.
When the Chinese go abroad they won’t economise on that. Especially when we are talking about travelling beyond the abstract borders of South-Eastern Asia that they are so much used to.
As a matter of fact, people who travel on large distances would prefer to get the best of it. And they can most probably afford it.
This is why the most luxuries hotels in the furthest corners of the world always stand a chance to get an overflow of Chinese citizens. However, it is important to be there waiting for them with all the strategies at hand.
Which measures should be taken to lure the Chinese into your luxurious hotel?
Set Up : Basic to Support your Communication in China
What you have to understand is that if Chinese don’t know about a brand then they can’t perceive it as a luxury. They already know there is Hyatt, Hilton and others to stand for luxury. Whether or not your hotel is really on top in your country, unfortunately the Chinese cannot know about it.
Because in 75 cases out of 100 they use their own search engine to check the information – Baidu. And they always check the information because they want to be sure this is a genuine, true, recommended, high quality hotel.
So the first thing they have discover on Baidu is your website.
Be careful here! You cannot just use your ordinary website for the Chinese.. They might give up one of this stages:
- It will be loading slow;
- It will appear to be banned;
- Nothing will be clear there;
- The content won’t be interesting, etc.
So, you can migrate your website or set up the new one, but please follow the rules:
- Use China/Hongkong/Singapore for hosting;
- Use Mandarin language because they mostly don’t speak any other language you would think of;
- Use nice pictures, a lot of text, videos;
- Use a Click-to-Chat tool to help them reach you at their earliest convenience;
- Use booking tools.
Visibility : Be Seen by Millions of Potential Clients
Once you have a website, you need to bring traffic there.
This is why you need Baidu.
You have a short-term and a long-term option to become visible on Baidu. They can be used in combination as long as the second one needs a lot of time to become effective.
- Short-term: you pay to Baidu and get Pay-per-Click tools which help you to be visible while they use Baidu to search for a top hotel in your country; they click and get to the landing page – to the page that you design in a way that they cannot escape and want to book a room;
- Long-term strategy is also involving Baidu services.
The aim is to be on top in Baidu. To get there you have to take care of the following aspects:
- Baike, or Chinese Wiki, where you should have a page to generate more trust.
- Zhihu (Chinese Quora) which would give you backlinks.
- Online booking platforms that will bring sales to you in the future. However, at this stage this is another field for reviews. You can use these platforms:
- Ctrip with 50% of the market;
- Dianping, etc.
- Social Media. For better communication with your potential clients, it is a good idea to put your wonderful luxurious hotel on display on the major social platforms like WeChat, Weibo, etc. They have a massive audience and getting your official accounts there might help you update them with any information.
3. Reputation: because Chinese are scared of scams
Good reputation is the wherewithal of your marketing strategy in China if you run a top hotel.
When the Chinese go abroad, they want everything on top and they only want to make sure they got the best option. It is also important for them to let the whole world (mostly, their colleagues, friends and family) know that they have been staying at the best place. So they would search for any third party to state your luxury hotel is good indeed.
Positive feedback is something you might get from the Q&A section on booking platforms and in the articles in the independent media sources that are focused on luxury travel. In China you might use the following platforms to accumulate your positive comments:
- Travel Sina.
Reputation is also something that can be earned by KOLs – key opinion leaders, or Chinese influencers. They have large audiences who follow them – online and literally as leaders. That is to say, influencers can post content featuring your hotel on Douyin – Chinese short video platform – or in their WeChat or Weibo accounts.
Nurturing : Everybody need to receive more information before take decision
Just as it was mentioned before, it is important to stay in touch with someone who already stumbled upon you before. Maybe if they have chosen a different destination for the Chinese New Year now, they should remember about you all the time until they get their bookings for the next trip. WeChat and Weibo accounts, again, would help you to keep up with that.
Re-Targeting: let’s (re) advertise on your leads
Using hidden tools on your website, you can follow the visitors who got there. The algorithm will calculate proper web pages where to show an ad of your luxurious hotel and make you seem omnipresent.
When to start promoting your top hotel?
Right now. Now is the right time. Why?
- Just as I said before, it is now that more and more Chinese are getting passport to travel elsewhere in the world.
- They start to travel more to the unknown (for them) corners in the world in search of the new experience.
- They need the best hotel wherever they go.
- They are traveling on average 3 times per year, so any time you start is good.. Plus it is important to remember that reputation requires around 6 months to be built. Without it, it is highly unlikely that your hotel will also be top for them.
- For the Chinese New Year, they make an arrangement pretty much in advance..sometimes even 2 months in advance. They might also start thinking about the next destination and check the hotels for the next trip just as they come back from the current one.
How and where to start?
First, give us a call or drop by our office once you are in Shanghai.
We have a rich experience in that. We helped Marriott hotel to work with its visibility and e-reputation, raised IHG’s revenue per room available to 11% and much more than that.
Contact us for more details on that