With new visa rules making it easier for Chinese tourists to visit the United Kingdom, it is now more important than ever for hotels in Britain to cater to Chinese travelers.
The value of Chinese tourists to the U.K. is huge with a market already worth £1.4 billion, according to Hotel Owner. In fact, the average Chinese visitor spends £3,500 in Harrods on average per person per visit.
In order to capture a piece of this spending, knowledge of the Chinese traveler is a necessity.
Chinese outbound tourists can be split into two segments, those that travel as part of a tour group and those that travel independently. Because independent travel for Chinese tourists is a rather new phenomenon, they haven’t formed affinities for specific British hotels yet, which has created new opportunities for savvy hoteliers.
One way for British hotels to attract Chinese tourists is through social media. Nearly 40 percent of spending decisions by Chinese were the result of social media.
Though not a hotel, one fish and chip shop in Brighton showed the power of Chinese social media. The shop received a mention on WeChat several years ago and has seen a large number of Chinese tourist customers ever since.
Despite the apparent possibilities for British hospitality companies on Chinese social media, very few have embraced it. A survey of more than 100 hotels in Central London found that not a single one had an account on WeChat, one of China’s most popular social media platforms.
In addition to embracing Chinese social media, British hotel owners should focus on the complete digital experience. This includes having a Mandarin language micro-site that is registered in China, as well as improving search engine optimization in China.
Once Chinese guests arrive, it is important for the hotel to have signs in Mandarin, employees with at least a basic education in Chinese customs, and a Mandarin language point of sale that accepts China UnionPay.
image source: anirudh koul