Consulting China: How to attract Chinese tourists?
[See also our focus on tourism market in China]
During the long time of its history, China was seen as a closed economy with limited number of outbound travelers. Recently, the government officially declared support for foreign travelling when in January 2013 Chairman of the China National Tourism Administration, Shao Qiwei said: “The government, and particularly CNTA, will continue to promote the travelling of Chinese people abroad as we believe in the mutual benefits of collaboration.” Nowadays, with 9% average growth rate and rapidly increasing living standards, travel industry is gradually expanding offering overseas travel to Chinese customers. Shrinking middle class of China bring more and more people every year travelling abroad to luxury resorts and seacoast areas. As a result of openness of former communist country, a huge number of potential customers emerge thus bringing more revenue opportunities to foreign travel industries. It encourages foreign travel industries to think about how to attract Chinese tourists?
What do Chinese tourists want?
Before thinking about Chinese tastes and preferences and to think how to attract them, it is crucial to know what Chinese tourists are expecting from a trip. This approach of evaluating demand is important especially when dealing with Chinese travelers, who have specific preferences, mainly based on their culture. International tourism for Chinese people first of all means investment: for example, learning a new culture, improving self-esteem, or increasing personal prestige. To emphasize, prestige and respect is especially important for Chinese culture. It is often the case, that Chinese tourists are referred as customers of second sort, what discourage Chinese people to travel to many European countries. If they see any sign of disrespect, what contradicts to their culture and tradition, it is less likely that they will find this investment worthwhile.
Attract Chinese tourists by showing respect and understanding toChinese culture
Moreover, there are some features, which attract Chinese tourists around the world. Due to remote location of the country to Europe and US, the main tourist destinations, Chinese tourists enjoy short distance trips to Cambodia, Laos or South Korea. Themed holidays (such as carnavals or cultural celebrations) are also liked by Chinese tourists, who seek to discover new culture, its customs and traditions. As consulting survey shows, Chinese tourists tend to come back to the cities or hotels, where they were satisfied with service. Therefore, it is important for hotels and resort, who wish to attract Chinese customers, to show respect and high quality service so they can expect to see the same tourists the next year. So Chinese outbound traveler will be happy to see Chinese language information materials such as lunch menu list or sign guide around a hotel. Showing respect to Chinese culture as a whole through organizing traditional Chinese celebrations or showing current and historical connections will make Chinese tourist be more satisfied with service provided.
As mentioned earlier, openness of China to outbound travelling creates a large number of potential customers for European market. The tastes and preferences of Chinese tourists are different from those of Europeans; therefore, it makes more difficult for them to suit the tastes of Chinese consumers, which are traditionally based on respect and prestige, to attract Chinese tourists.
Daxue Consulting, consulting Shanghai