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 at your hotel?
Before we start, let’s take a look at some of the important factors that influence Chinese tourists when choosing a hotel. A survey by Hotels.com showed that safety was rated most crucial when Chinese tourists choose accommodation abroad. Other important factors include a hotel’s star rating, facilities, price, reputation and easy access to transport. When it comes to services in the hotel, Chinese tourists care most about wifi. This doesn’t come as a surprise as almost every Chinese is using WeChat to stay connected with friends and family. When on vacation they are likely to share their wonderful travel experiences through WeChat Moments.
Other hotel services that the Chinese think are important are the availability of Mandarin Chinese speaking staff and China UnionPay facilities. China UnionPay provides bank services and is a major card scheme in China. It is the only interbank network that links all ATMs across all banks in the country. Providing China UnionPay services will go a long way to satisfying the payment needs of your Chinese guests and will boost revenues through additional purchases whilst they stay at your establishment.
How do you promote your hotel to Chinese tourists?
With more than 70% of hotel bookings being made online, now more than ever, it is important to know how to market your hotel to Chinese tourists effectively with the right online marketing tools. Below we will list some of the must haves in order to make marketing your accommodation in China a success.
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 (China’s largest search engine). In addition, your website should have a streamlined booking system as Chinese audiences are accustomed to easy online payment setups.
Moreover most Western website are either blocked in China or suffer from extremely high loading times resulting in an adverse Customer Experience. In order to connect with Chines audiences in their language and provide them with a good customer experience it is essential to have a Chinese website hosted in the region.
We helped our client Hurtigruten with all of the above. The challenge was to attract Chinese free independent travellers who wanted to book Hurtigruten’s arctic adventure tours through direct traffic to their Chinese website rather than relying on travel agencies. We helped achieve this goal by creating a Chinese website (https://www.hurtigruten.cn/) for them with all the features that cater to the Chinese taste such as integrated customer support, QR code scanning and Social Promotions on WeChat through their official account. Since the launch of the website the client has seen a significant increase in the number of cruises sold in China and continues to be one of our longest standing customers.
Search engine optimization on Baidu
Baidu is China’s largest search engine with over 70% of the market share. The Chinese search engine clocks 4 million searches per minute which is more than Google which sits at around 3 million searches a minute.
Just like potential customers “Google” hotels at their preferred destinations when planning a trip, the Chinese will Baidu it. In order to influence a potential Chinese tourist’s user journey it is essential that you have a Chinese website indexed on Baidu. You can also consider boosting the presence of your website on Baidu by using our SEO and SEM services. In our previous post, we discussed the different factors that impact your natural rankings on Baidu in detail. Getting ranked highly on Baidu is key to increasing your website’s exposure and gaining more leads.
Presence on online booking websites
Chinese tourists usually book their hotel rooms through online travel agencies or through the official hotel website. One of the most popular online booking websites in China is Ctrip. The website provides streamlined services from booking flight tickets, hotels, packages to useful content about destinations and hotels. Some other popular online travel agencies within the space are Elong, Qyer and Qunar. Having a listing on these big online travel agencies will not only help your hotel gain awareness amongst Chinese tourists but will also translate into incremental sales in due course. An engagement with GoDigitalChina includes procuring a listing on the aforementioned sites and optimising it for maximum exposure.
In addition to gaining more visibility, online travel agency listings are a great source of reviews. Social influence and positive customer reviews are high on the list of factors that impact travel choices within the Chinese tourist market.
Chinese tourists are influenced more by customer feedback compared to their Western counterparts, this is why it is important to have customers leaving positive feedback on your hotel to create brand awareness and gain more bookings. 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 sites have doubled since 2014, now accounting for over 30 percent of the total.
Effective marketing strategy on social media
With over 800 million and 300 million monthly active users respectively WeChat and Weibo are optimal choices for Social Media marketing and promotion within the Chinese tourist market.
Weibo is a Twitter-like micro-blogging platform which not only provides an effective way for you to engage with your potential customers, but is also a great platform to promote offers to gain repeat business from existing clients.
WeChat is one of the best marketing tools you can use in China. Having an official account for your potential customers to subscribe to provides a great opportunity for you to not only connect with your intended audiences but keep them engaged through resourceful content that can be shared to enhance brand awareness. Furthermore WeChat allows followers to book accommodation, receive special offers and check their reservation status through the platform itself thus making it the platform of choice if you want to reach a large audience and convert them quickly. WeChat offers flexible advertising solutions for budgets for small and large enterprises alike and an engagement with WeChat is part of our standard advertising package for the hotel industry.
- Having a Chinese language site hosted in region is a crucial first step towards gaining the interest of a Chinese audience.
- Make sure the site complies with the norms of the Chinese digital landscape and ranks on Baidu for your search terms.
- Boost your SEO and SEM efforts by getting a local agency involved.
- Ensure you cater to a Chinese taste when it comes to in room and hotel services they care more about (Union Pay & Mandarin speaking staff).
- Promote your hotel with popular travel portals like Ctrip.
- Garner positive reviews from clients and promote them through travel portal and social media
- Create official accounts on Social Media Platforms such as WeChat and Weibo to build social influence and drive sales.