The study, a Hilton "Blue Paper," surveyed nearly 3,000 travelers across China, and found that many still prefer the human touch especially in getting inspirations for travel plans or while they face problems during their journey. The prevalence of social media amongst travelers to showcase their journey and share authentic experiences, and what leisure and business travelers deemed important when they travel, were also highlighted.
Face-to-face communication influences the most in getting inspirations
So what gets people moving? One of the prime decision influencers of the modern Chinese traveler is still real face-to-face communication with friends and family. 55% of those surveyed stated that word of mouth is an important influence on their travel plans, taking inspiration from anecdotes via face-to-face conversation. Meanwhile, 50% stated that social media, including travel photos on WeChat Moments or Sina Weibo, served as inspiration to get out the door and communicate their exploration with the world.
Help from hotel team members matters to the guests
The study then explored what exactly it is that matters when on vacation. And it is found that good old-fashioned hospitality is still paramount for a positive experience. Whether travelling for business or leisure, 27% of travelers said that they would solve problems and make inquiries by directly communicating with hotel team members. These concerns include every day tourist issues such as getting lost, deciding what to do and where to go, and logistical issues such as finding the hotel and getting baggage prepared. Social media and travel apps followed closely behind, with 20% or 17% priority respectively, but face-to-face communication with veteran concierges and other hotel team members seem to take priority, owing to their first-hand knowledge and experience of the destinations.
Family come first for leisure travelers, transport decisive for business travelers
During the survey, leisure travelers regard "family" as an important aspect of travel planning, with 92% of respondents highlighting it as a response. Requirements for facilities which can accommodate these diversified needs are high, with single respondents ranking it at 86%, citing the need to accommodate parents' and children's unique requirements. For business travelers, top requirements included convenient restaurant locations, and the ability to explore the city, both appearing above 50%.
Posting on social media becomes routine, authentic experiences most sought after
But for all demographics, one of the most vital components of a successful vacation was the ability to share their experiences. It's no surprise that social media is a top priority for modern day tourists, and the data proves it – more than 2/3 of the respondents will update the social media every day. When asked how frequently travelers update their social media, 30% of the respondents said that they post updates constantly throughout the trip. 25% said that they will post several times per day, and 24% said that they will update their feeds at the end of each day.
As a result of this, the demand for unique activities and experiences is high. 20% of participants admitted that they tried unique and authentic experiences with a focus on sharing with friends on social media. Proximity to landmarks also rated very highly, with 91% of respondents of leisure traveler desiring close access to such sites.
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