Throughout China’s breakneck ascendance to becoming the globe’s largest and most lucrative travel market, no destination has held more allure and greater social cache than Europe — in 2018, 6 million Chinese tourists traveled to Europe and spent $16.5 billion, by comparison, the U.S received less than half these numbers.
A bevy of Chinese tech juggernauts have facilitated romantic Italian getaways and sojourns on the French Riviera with dynamic mobile apps that support the full travel process from searching to booking to on-the-ground navigation. Prime among these is Fliggy, Alibaba’s travel platform.
Coronavirus may have curtailed outbound travel to Europe in 2020, but Fliggy has continued connecting Chinese audiences with European destinations, most notably via live streams.
Since May, Fliggy has broadcast live streams from Serbia, Finland, Germany, and the U.K. as well as from some of the continent’s most storied cultural destinations including the Palace of Versailles, the British Museum, and Madrid’s Prado.
Jing Travel spoke to the Fliggy team to better understand this moment, the company’s pivot into live streaming, and how it’s helping destinations connect with China.
How would you explain Fliggy’s role in China’s outbound tourism market to those unfamiliar with the platform?
As Alibaba Group’s travel services platform, Fliggy works with transportation, accommodation, and tourist destinations from all over the world.
Fliggy acts as a one-stop shop for Chinese travelers to book global travel services, such as flights, train or ferry tickets, hotels, tourist attractions, shows, exhibitions, car rentals, restaurant reservations, visa services and more. Our goal is to enable Chinese travelers to experience local lifestyles and discover new places around the world.
In the absence of outbound Chinese travel, Fliggy has leaned heavily into live streaming, can you discuss this initiative?
The pandemic has highlighted the importance of digital travel experiences and we are focused on helping our global partners accelerate their adaption of offline-online integration.
Fliggy has developed live streaming partnerships with European travel organizations during COVID-19, the purpose is to “bring” Europe to Chinese tourists and maintain the link. Live streaming is the best way to do that, they provide a dynamic and interactive way to engage future travelers by giving viewers a sense of what being in a certain place actually feels like, in real-time.
What are the keys to a successful cultural live stream?
One of the best ways to engage with Chinese travelers is to focus on the details, anecdotes or little-known facts about things they are seeing on camera. Chinese travelers enjoy learning things on live streams that they cannot read about in travel books or websites. When travel eventually resumes under safe conditions, these destinations can build upon the virtual experiences and relationships they’ve built during this time, and attract tourists more effectively.
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