China attracts many companies in the tourism sector and for good reasons: Chinese travellers are making more and more trips abroad and the amount of money they spend while going places is increasing every year. In 2013, they have spent more than what American travellers have.
Since Chinese consumers are digital-oriented, we can use data from the Internet in order to better understand their profile, behaviour and needs.
Here you can see a ranking of 2013’s most travel-related keywords researched on Baidu.
Who are today’s Chinese travellers?
It is important for you to know your target, as you will adapt your strategy accordingly. The chart below shows the age distribution of people making travel-related searches on Baidu. As you can see, almost half of these searches are made by people in their twenties, and a third are in their thirties. Your target is young, and therefore technology- and social media-savy. This affects greatly what you are going to offer to this audience: focus on activities and places which will appeal to young adults.
Chinese travellers are informed consumers
Chinese Internet users rely heavily on online reviews in general: it is part of their shopping habits and experience, regardless of the product in question.
It is thus also the case when they are going on a trip: they will first look for information on the Internet, especially reviews on hotels. In 2013, hotel reviews written by Chinese netizens reached 800,000. Word of mouth is important for these consumers and it should be taken into account in your strategy when targeting them.
Therefore you need to be aware of what is said online about the hotels and activities which are featured in your deals, and participate in the conversation.
Travel agencies are popular in China
Travel agencies are part of the most searched travel-related keywords on Baidu in 2013. Many Chinese travellers still book destination deals and group tours, which is why they still look for agencies to help them in organising their trips. Just as you need to know about the online reviews on activities and hotels, you need to constantly listen to what people think of your agency and try to steer the conversation on your assets.
Chinese consumers are more open to self-organised trips
Consumer behaviour regarding travel is slowly changing: 30% of those educating themselves online about destinations will organise their own travel. It is indeed easier nowadays for them to do so: a few websites such as Qunar, Ctrip and Elong have now become giants in the travel booking business.
Qunar, one of the most used travel booking sites in China has seen its review share grow from 2% in 2012 to 5% in 2013 confirming what we previously said about online word of mouth. Since then, the numbers have been escalating greatly. It is the leading website regarding airline tickets today with an estimation of more than 83 million flight bookings and 32 million rooms: a sign that travellers are more and more independent in the organisation of their trips.
This will obviously impact your business and you should adapt your offer according to this new consumption habit.
Criteria when choosing a destination are not the same in China
Some elements matter more to Chinese customers than to other tourists when it comes to traveling. We have seen that there is a high proportion of searches about hotels on Baidu and that people rely heavily on hotel reviews. We should also point out that domestic travellers will prefer Chinese brand hotels rather than international ones.
Also, shopping is essential when travelling. Shopping and souvenirs keywords in travel-related searches ranked as the 7th most researched keywords on Baidu in 2013. The ability to go shopping is indeed very important to Chinese travellers, and 80% of them say it determines the choice of travel destination.
These are elements you should therefore emphasize if you want to garner Chinese travellers’ attention.
Chinese People search travel information and agency online
They will be influenced by their friends and social media and they will search online mainly on Baidu. It is a Habbit. That ‘ s why it is very important to have strong online presence on Baidu (SEO : Search Engine optimization) , and have online activities on Social media.