China’s Luxury Travelers Seek Authenticity

on June 15 2011 | in Travel Trends | by | with No Comments

Shangri-la hotels, Shangri-la Paris, Chinese tourists, wealthy Chinese

The Chinese luxury traveler is on everyone’s radar. In 2010, 90 percent of China’s rich traveled overseas, spending an average of eight days abroad.

Keeping up with China’s wealthy is not easy as their taste evolves rapidly.

Based on interviews with 463 Chinese millionaires and billionaires conducted by the Hurun Report in cooperation with ILTM Asia, Chinese luxury travelers are becoming increasingly similar to their western counterparts in their desire for authentic and customized travel experiences.

While they are much younger than their western counterparts (Chinese millionaires average 39 years old versus over 50 years old for the United States or Europe), their sophistication is catching up.

These wealthy Chinese travelers are no longer satisfied with visiting major European or US cities. “The group usually comprises individuals who have mostly lost interest in major cities in Europe and the US and are keen to seek authenticity, simplicity, and a commitment to local environment with customized services,” said Rupert Hoogewerf, chairman of Hurun Report Inc.

Travel companies like Orient-Express Ltd are stepping up to offer trips with an in-depth travel experience. “The luxury travelers in China are evolving fast. Now people are seeking for more tailor-made experiences. With night trains, you can take in the local culture and, in particular, enjoy different experiences in one single journey,” Andrea Filippi, executive director of Orient-Express, told China Daily.

Young, independent, and brand loyal are other defining characteristics of China’s rich travelers.

Almost 60 percent of China’s luxury travelers decide on travel destinations and book reservations themselves, according to the study.

For wealthy Chinese an iconic hotel brand is the leading factor when picking hotels, followed by service, facilities and locations. They generally prefer high-end hotel chains and a third of them like boutique hotels.

Shangri-La is the most popular hotel brand among China’s wealthy followed by Hilton, Park Hyatt, The Ritz-Carlton and Peninsula.

Some of the most popular international destinations included France, US, and Australia.

Preferred International Luxury Destinations

2011(%) 2010(%) 2009(%)
1 France 13 11.1 9.5
2 U.S. 12.7 15.9 14.8
3 Australia 11.6 9.8 11.7
4 Japan 9.6 8.9 4.5
5 Maldives 8.9 5.4 6.4
6 Singapore 7.5 7.8 6.2
7 Italy 5.8 7.3 5.7
8 Switzerland 5.7 NA NA
9 Dubai 5.3 5.9 6.4
10 Hawaii 4.9 6.7 9

Source: Hurun Research May 2011

Preferred Domestic Luxury Destinations

2011(%) 2010(%) 2009(%)
1 Sanya 24.1 18.4 18.2
2 Hong Kong 18.1 14.5 10.2
3 Yunnan 9.7 13.8 19.4
4 Qingdao 6.7 3.9 5.8
5 Shanghai 6.5 6.8 3.8
6 Tibet 6.2 6 7.2
7 Macao 5.8 3.8 4.7
8 Dalian 5.6 5 4
9 Beijing 4.2 6.7 3.8
10 Hangzhou 3.7 5.1 6.9

Source: Hurun Research May 2011

It is well known that Chinese travelers are top spenders. According to the new Global Blue Report, Chinese traveler spending increased by 91% year-over-year, buying luxury products like clothes, jewelry, watches, cosmetics and fabrics.

image credit: shangri-la paris

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