Did you know that only 5 percent of the 1.3 billion Chinese hold passports, yet the country is already the top global tourism spender? China’s outbound tourism has enormous potential, but how do you attract them to stay in your hotel?
Before we start, let’s take a look at the important factors when the Chinese tourists choose a hotel and what their needs are when staying there. A survey done by Hotels.com in 2016 showed that safety was rated most crucial when Chinese tourists choose accommodation abroad. Other important factors include a hotel’s star rating and facilities, price, reputation and easy access to transport. When it comes to services in the hotel, Chinese tourists care wifi most. This doesn’t come as a surprise – almost every Chinese is using WeChat to stay connected with friends and family. It is important to share their wonderful travel experience on WeChat Moment.
Other hotel services that Chinese think is important but need improvement are Mandarin speaking stuff and China UnionPay facilities. China UnionPay provides bank services and a major card scheme in China. It is the only interbank network that links all ATMs of all banks in the country. Providing China UnionPay service will satisfy the payment demands of Chinese people for travel and consumption.
How do you promote your hotel to Chinese tourists?
With more than 70% hotel bookings being made online, now, more than ever, it is important to know how to market your hotel to the Chinese tourists effectively with the right online marketing tools.
A website in Chinese
It is vital to have a website in Chinese to attract Chinese tourists. A Chinese website with the right keywords will help you rank higher on Baidu search engine. In addition, your website should have a streamlined booking system. Thanks to the advanced financial payment technology, the Chinese are accustomed to easy online payment.
An example is our client Hurtigruten. In order to attract Chinese free independent travellers who want to book Hurtigruten’s arctic adventure tours on their own, instead of through travel agencies, we helped Hurtigruten make a Chinese website with all the Chinese customer friendly features, such as customer support, QR code and WeChat account for customers to follow.
Search engine optimization on Baidu
Baidu is China’s largest search engine – having more than 70% of the market share. The Chinese search engine has 4 million searches per minute, more than Google, which has 3 million.
Just like you will Google hotels in your destination when you are planning your trip, the Chinese will Baidu it. In addition to having a Chinese website which will help you rank higher on Baidu, you can consider using search engine marketing to get searched. In our previous post, we have discussed different search engine marketing tools on Baidu in details. Getting high ranking on Baidu is a key to increase your website’s exposure, just like here in the west through Google.
Presence on online booking websites
Chinese tourists usually book their hotel rooms through online travel agency or the official hotel website. One of the most popular online booking website is Ctrip. Ctrip provides streamlined services from booking flight tickets, hotels, packages to useful content about the destinations. Some other popular online travel agencies are Elong, Qyer and Qunar. Having presence on these big online travel agencies will help your hotel gain awareness among the Chinese tourists.
In addition, online travel agencies are great places for reviews. Chinese like to leave reviews. An interesting study found out that the second most-used language for writing online feedback for luxury hotels on review sites like TripAdvisor and Booking.com is Chinese. Reviews in Chinese on these review sites have doubled since 2014, accounting for about 30 percent of the total. Chinese tourists care feedback more than those in the west. It is important to have customers leaving positive feedback on your hotel to create brand awareness, as well as manage both positive and negative reviews, in order to get more bookings.
Effective marketing strategy on social media
With 800 million and 300 million monthly active users on WeChat and Weibo respectively, having an effective marketing strategy on social media is one of the keys to reach the Chinese tourists.
Weibo is a Twitter-like micro-blogging platform. Weibo is not only a good way for you to engage with your potential customers, but also a good place to promote your offers. On the left is the Weibo account of Hilton Hotels & Resorts. They are posting a lot of their offers and deals. Providing complimentary services on-site or special deals will affect Chinese customer’s online reviews positively and hence the hotel’s online reputation.
WeChat is one of the best marketing tools you can use in China. Having an official account for your potential customers to subscribe to, you can post resourceful content to share and engage with your followers. In addition, followers can book accommodations, receive special offers and check their reservations status through WeChat. If you want to reach a more potential audience, WeChat offers different advertising solutions, depending on your budget.