First rule of Chinese tourism: Give them what they want

on May 29 2014 | in Daily Headlines | by | with No Comments

As the global travel industry rolls out the welcome mat for China’s surge of outbound tourists, it should consider tipping the scales in their customers’ favor.

Consider Emirates Airline, which has won over retail-crazy Chinese travelers by simply boosting their baggage allowance.

“They increased their luggage allowance because they recognized when Chinese travelers go abroad, they come home with more than when they left,” says Martin Rinck, Asia-Pacific president of Hilton Worldwide.

“And just by making that change, they won tremendous market share of the Chinese consumer.”

By 2020, it’s estimated more than 200 million Chinese will go overseas — double the number that did so last year.

Fueled by more visas and more money, rising numbers of Chinese tourists are now able to fly further and spend more, many booking their own adventures online on travel sites like China’s CTrip.com.

“We just recently sold a very top-end package tour which is $200,000 per person for 88 days around the world,” says CTrip.com Chief Operating Officer Jane Sun.

Without a doubt, the interest and buying power of China’s ultra-luxury travelers is immense. Across the board, China’s outbound tourists are the world’s biggest spenders. In 2012, they spent a record $102 billion on international tourism.

And major booking volume is moving across mobile devices.

“More than 50% of our hotel bookings are on mobile,” says CTrip.com’s Sun.

Hilton’s Martin Rinck adds: “China skipped the whole desktop/MacBook/computer thing and went straight to mobile.”

“Some companies are really proud to have a new website, but if it doesn’t have the functionality to be read on a small device and have full integration on a mobile device, it’s really of no use.”

It’s also of no use if you don’t welcome your Chinese guests in Mandarin Chinese.

“We do this outbound Chinese travelers survey every quarter,” says CTA’s Chen Xu. “And we noticed that last year, for four consecutive seasons, lacking Chinese service and lacking Chinese-language TV programs or menus were the most unsatisfying factors.”

 

Read more at CNN.

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