China's current population is around 1.41 billion, and we know that over the past 12 months, at least 145 million of those travelled outside of their country. The China Outbound Tourism Research Institute (COTRI) predicts that overseas trips by the country's residents will increase to 400 million by 2030.
Not being prepared for this influx of Chinese tourists has meant that many people in the tourism and hospitality industry outside of China have been caught off guard and even suffered losses due to things like zero dollar tours where China based operators ensure that all money spent abroad actually flows through Chinese owned businesses, keeping the tourist dollars out of the local economies. Many hotels are re-strategizing now and looking at how they might better re-target their marketing and ensure that they get the types of guests that are good for their brands, and of course good for business.
How to Attract a Billionaire
High-end hotels want to attract high-end guests, and with the new Chinese influx of international travelers, they are in luck, with China currently being home to 324 Billionaires having a net worth of over 1.1 trillion dollars. You can check out Forbes' billionaire list and interactive global billionaire map here. There are several groups in China who are dedicated to studying the the affluent Chinese are and understanding what it is that drives them. One key study into Chinese affluent travelers and luxury consumer trends has been done by the Yao Ke group. Hotelintel.co has summarised the important points that are relevant to hotels in order to help you better cater to affluent Chinese travelers' needs.
Affluent Chinese tourists - travelers with a net worth of $1.5 million (RMB 10 million) or more, are creating huge opportunities in the outbound travel market thanks to their growing demand for high-quality lifestyle and travel experiences. In 2017, these tourists took one-tenth of China's total outbound trips, but their overseas consumption accounted for half of all spending from Chinese travelers abroad.
Win them With Your Service
Affluent travelers rate service on the whole as 'Poor', with an average score of around 20%. As a rule, the more high-end they are, they more concerned they are with quality of service. Service related complaints include issues such as poor customer service, false marketing claims and deceptive pricing.
Rather than listening to social media and influencers, affluent Chinese travelers primarily trust their inner circle. A survey was sent to 32,900 consumers working in senior executive roles in China, with 831 of them submitting responses – and most don't use WeChat to keep track of luxury brands, rather they follow trends and information provided by peers and other specialists in the industry.
From Go to Slow
In one survey, 67% of travelers mentioned that they had no time for the traditional 'group travel' model where you would be bound by other people's plans and time schedules. Time is golden and traveling should be enjoyable - that means slowing the pace down and not having to fit into other people's frantic scheduling.
From Tourist Traps to Discovery
Instead of sightseeing, affluent chinese travelers want to learn and explore. Trips to pique their interest might involve study tours, business visits, and etiquette training.
From Eating to Dining
In the past, food was often slotted into hectic schedules as something that 'had to be done', and could have even been an inconvenience hindering travelers from achieving their 'schedule' goals. Now, more and more Chinese travelers are more sophisticated diners and rather than seeing dining as something done on the run, they look for 'dining experiences' as a destination with 18% making advance bookings at restaurants that they intend to visit during their trip.
From Traversing to Reclining
There is a saying in Chinese 走马观花 Zǒu mǎ guān huā which literally means 'Riding a Horse Looking at the Flowers', and is used nowadays to refer to just catching a passing, and often meaningless glimpse of something while moving. There is a trend with affluent travelers now to buck this old way of traveling overseas and rather setting up camp at one place where you can sit back, relax and soak up the environment.
From Herds to Connecting
In the space of only a few years, group travel will reduce from over 60% to around 40% by the end of 2020. These Fully Independent Travelers (FIT) are looking to make more personal connection with the people and the places that they visit.
From Following to Trailblazing
Rather than following tried and trusted travel routes, the new generation of Chinese traveler uses all of the resources that they have to study what's possible and build new travel routes for themselves looking to experience things that other people haven't.
What is your China strategy? How will you attract the right Chinese guests for your brand and your property? Let us know in the comments section.