'WeChat, we share and we want real experiences,' say Chinese travellers
Get a WeChat account, enable mobile payments and make Chinese visitors feel welcome – just some of the ways European businesses and travel companies can attract more Chinese travellers.
Research commissioned by the World Tourism Cities Federation and research company Ipsos (Market Research Report on Chinese Outbound Tourist Consumption 2017-2018) found that in the five years from 2010 to 2014 the number of China’s outbound tourists increased rapidly at an average annual rate of 18%. In 2014 the number of China’s outbound tourists exceeded 100 million for the first time and the growth rate started to level off after 2015. In 2017, China’s outbound tourists reached 130.51 million, a year-on-year growth of 7%.
Sienna Parulis-Cook, Communications Manager at Dragon Trail Interactive, said Chinese travellers will look to social media for inspiration. WeChat and Weibo are the largest social media networking platforms in China and the only way to reach Chinese travellers and influencers.
“Get a WeChat account,” urged Parulis-Cook. “Personal accounts are free and it’s China’s number one social media platform with 1bn monthly active users. It’s known as the Swiss Army Knife of social media because it offers users so many platforms, including messaging, WeChat Moments, newsletters, WeChat mini-programs (offering services such as e-commerce and coupons).”
Jennifer McCormack, from Windermere Lake Cruises, uses WeChat and created the Lake District China Forum – a group of tourism attraction together in Cumbria – to actively target the Chinese traveller. She said her website was translated into Chinese, social media activity for the Chinese market was outsourced to a professional and even used a Chinese name for her email signature.
According to Gary Grieve, Managing Director of training and consulting firm Capela China, the challenge for businesses in attracting the Chinese tourist is to take advantage of the trend in sharing photos and using social media and make WiFi instantly available to guests. He also said companies should get a Chinese name for their business, so Chinese travellers can correctly tag it and share it.
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