Destinations, travel providers, and retailers are desperately looking for the secret to attract Chinese luxury travelers.
“Millionaires, the rising middle class and brand-conscious aspirational travelers from the mainland account for about 25% of all international luxury brand consumption,” reports Travel Daily News.
There are about 2.7 million US dollar millionaires in China, many whom are “under the radar,” according to China Luxury Travel Network’s founder, Lin Xu. They average three trips abroad each year.
Simply hiring Chinese speaking staff to overcome the language barrier is no longer enough. Companies need to scale the all-important cultural barrier. “The Chinese traveler wants to be handled by people who understand their culture, not just language,” said Xu. Chinese travelers spend about US$102 billion in 2012, of which US$57 billion come from online spend. Weibo and Wechat are the main traffic drivers.
“The West needs to better understand the decision making process among China’s travelers, including the role of women and extended families. Newly rich male executives may earn it, but their wives and girl friends often spend it.”
“China is modernizing, not Westernizing,” said David Thomas of Think Global Consulting. He noted that “affluent Chinese travelers understood that the West had good infrastructure but were puzzled with small things, such as why it’s difficult to get a caddy when they visit Australian golf courses.”
Thomas believed that this is one of the challenges when a “hierarchical society travels to an egalitarian one.”
“The key to success will be if travel experiences really suit China’s new consumer needs and trends,” said Xu.
photo credit: cod newsroom