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Working with Chinese Outbound Tour Operators is Outdated in 2022

Updated: Jul 2, 2023

  • According to the statistics of China Tourism Academy, the outbound travel of Chinese tourists was approximately 140 million in 2018, with a 13.5% year-on-year growth.

  • China’s outbound tourism market is expected to reach US$ 365 Billion by 2025.

  • According to a report conducted by UN World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), China was the world’s largest outbound tourism market in terms of spending in 2018.

  • Tourism spending increase by 8% year on year to USD277 billion.

With the increasing affluence, Tourism, especially outbound tourism, has become more and more popular in China. Chinese tourists increasingly pay attention to high-quality services and better shopping and authentic experiences. The skyrocketing numbers of Chinese outbound tourism stimulate global destinations and local businesses to make great efforts in order to attract China’s outbound travellers. Local businesses in the world often work with Chinese tour operators to get Chinese tourists.

Why Outbound Tour Operators from China are so Popular?

In China, not many people can speak basic English when they are travelling. Because of the difficulties in communication between Chinese tourists and global-local businessmen, those Chinese who can not speak local languages, choose to join tourist groups organized by tour operators. Often those tour operators attract Chinese tourists with an extremely low price, thus the trip experiences are not very good.

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Bad experience during an outbound trip organized by tour operators

As previously said, Chinese tour operators lower their pricing in order to attract more travellers. But how will they be able to cover all of the costs? The solution is simple: by decreasing the quality of the vacation. As a result, Chinese tourists frequently have negative outbound travel experiences. They are quite anxious during the trip because they are urged to walk quickly, eat quickly, and get up very early in order to ensure that the team trip runs smoothly. These trips are incredibly short, leaving little opportunity for travellers to experience their vacation.

Those Chinese team travellers are little more than walking and photographing machines, which isn't ideal for the destination sites. They believed that Chinese tourists would provide excellent prospects for local businesses. Unfortunately, this is not the case.

The Chinese groups have their own Chinese-speaking advisors who are in charge of everything from the time guests arrive in the country until they leave. Tourists have no freedom because everything is scheduled ahead of time. Locals only benefit from it in the form of restaurant and motel fees. Tour companies strive to negotiate very low costs for hotels and restaurants as well. Because they have Chinese tourists, they can do whatever they want!

China’s new outbound tourism trend

Because of the OTA scandals and terrible trip experiences, organized group travel has created a rift between tour operators and travellers. Chinese outbound tourism has seen significant changes since 2016. Chinese outbound tourism is no longer dominated by group travel. Instead, "free and independent travellers" are the driving force.

In the past, Chinese tourists were enthusiastic about purchasing luxury products, boosting worldwide consumption. However, due to a plentiful supply of local luxury items and price transparency, the foreign shopping obsession is progressively fading.

Those new trends represent fantastic opportunities for local firms. Chinese visitors no longer want to be controlled; instead, they want to interact with locals, see what life is like in the real world, and travel freely and autonomously!

How to get Chinese tourists by yourself?

There are some tips for you to develop activities with Chinese tourists:

  1. Speak Mandarin or have someone speaking Mandarin/ translation device

  2. Create your own website (translated)

  3. Baidu SEO

  4. Be omnipresent on Chinese social media, especially WeChat

  5. Use those travelling websites that your target use

  6. Adapt the experience to limit cross - culturally communicative

1. Speak Mandarin or have someone speaking Mandarin

Language is a crucial asset for attracting Chinese visitors. Because Chinese buyers are distrustful, they seek as much information as possible before making purchasing judgments. They are concerned about the varied cultures and languages they would encounter when travelling abroad.

So, if they wish to travel abroad on their own, knowing that your organization has someone who speaks Chinese might help solve a lot of issues, or at least Chinese content, WeChat account. They will be persuaded and assured to choose your organization once they have enough first-hand knowledge in Chinese.

2. Create your own website to be more reliable in China

Your website is the portal between you and your target. Just like what has been discussed earlier in this article, Chinese people like to search on the Internet to find most of the information about what they are going to pay for.

Although Chinese customers are unlikely to book directly on your website because they are accustomed to paying through familiar e-commerce platforms and payment methods such as Alipay or WeChat Pay. However, your website's informative role remains valuable.

The website & WeChat can project a trustworthy picture of your company, which is critical for gaining Chinese tourists' trust. In China, brand credibility is essential for brand success.

3. Baidu SEO boosts your brand awareness

If you're in Europe, you can use Google's SEO to reach your marketing objectives. However, because Google, Facebook, Twitter, and other social media platforms are restricted in China, you won't be able to use the same strategy in Europe to target the Chinese tourism market. To launch a marketing campaign, you must adapt and learn to apply Chinese methods.

Baidu, a Chinese version of Google, is the country's most popular search engine. This tech juggernaut controls more than 70% of China's overall market share. Baidu is unquestionably your first choice if you want to undertake SEO in China to build brand recognition.

It's also crucial to remember that the keywords for your Baidu brand SEO must be properly chosen. Your SEO keywords are the words and phrases in your website content that allow your target audience to find you on Baidu. Well-chosen keywords can help you achieve a high ranking.

As a result, creating a keyword list is the first and most significant step in SEO optimization. To accomplish so, you must first understand your target audience's behaviours and social trends in order to ensure that your SEO keywords are extremely relevant to them.

Our agency is an expert in Baidu SEO, with its Chinese and Western marketing specialists. We can help you find the most efficient keywords for your successful Baidu SEO.

4. Be Omnipresent on Chinese social media

Mobile phones are widely used in China. The Internet first arrived in China in 1994, and in just 20 years, it has infiltrated every aspect of the country. Chinese buying habits have been revolutionized by fundamental changes brought about by the Internet and e-commerce. China's social media and social media-related e-commerce have recently experienced tremendous growth with now more than 1 billion monthly active users.

As a result, in order to attract Chinese tourists, it must be ubiquitous on Chinese social media. People are very sensitive to what they see on social media, and when they make a purchase, they tend to choose what they saw on the Internet since this type of presence familiarizes Chinese consumers with the brand.

What are the main social media channels for your brand awareness?

WeChat: N.1 social platform in China

When we think of Chinese social media, the first thing that springs to mind is undoubtedly WeChat. WeChat is the most popular Chinese social networking platform, with over 1.2 billion members.

WeChat, the Chinese version of Whatsapp, is far more than a chat software. People can use WeChat to send money, pay bills, book hotels, and follow KOLs, among other things.

WeChat has over 1.1 billion monthly active users, allowing you to gain large brand exposure, communicate brand culture, build brand image, and collaborate with precise targeting to allow more people to participate in brand activities and achieve product and efficiency integration. WeChat advertising is divided into three categories:

  1. Moments ads

  2. Banners ads

  3. Mini-program ads

Moments adverts are promotional content that appears in the WeChat newsfeed as friend content. WeChat subscriptions include banner advertising. Ads at the bottom of an article, in-article ads, and KOLs ads are the three types of banner ads. Mini-program ads advertise in WeChat mini-programs, as the name implies.

The mini-program functions similarly to an app, but it is integrated into WeChat and can be accessed without downloading. WeChat has mini-program versions of major Chinese e-commerce and social media sites since it is user-friendly and has a large user database.

Mini Programs represent clear-cut opportunities for brands to help solve audience challenges through these APPs; how-to guides, interactive games, guides while travelling/ fashion/ work... providing tips/ tricks/ hacks for important needs/ goals, next-level customer experiences.

Weibo: open microblogging platform

Weibo, China's largest social media platform, is a hub for KOL marketing. Weibo is open to everyone, unlike WeChat, which is rather "closed" as a community. As a result, it's an excellent location for mass marketing and buzz marketing.

There are also several categories of advertising on Weibo:

  • Weibo SEO

  • KOL advertising

  • Rewarded marketing

  • Interactive Marketing

Baidu SEO and Weibo SEO are comparable. It has the ability to drive traffic and expose brands to users. Collaboration with key opinion leaders (KOLs) or influencers to increase brand exposure is known as KOL marketing. On Weibo, a marketing technique involves giving away free products in exchange for users liking and forwarding promotional content. This is presently the most often used marketing strategy on Sina Weibo.

We need to integrate Weibo and WeChat marketing to keep a user and acquire a high CR. When a user encounters material on one of the sites in question, we leverage Weibo marketing to entice them to complete the transaction.

How Chinese make reservation for their trips?

E-commerce, social networking, and search engines in China are all distinct. As a result, China's online travel agency and information integration system are unique, with local companies such as "Ctrip," "Fliggy," and "Where to go" dominating the market. According to our findings, two-thirds of respondents use Ctrip to book flights and hotels, with Alibaba's Fliggy platform coming in second.

For Chinese travellers, websites like "Mafengwo" are a valuable source of travel information. Tourists can share their travel experiences on this platform. As a result, it's critical to have some articles about your brand that generate favourable feedback.

Cooperation with those platforms can bring you not only targeted traffic but also make your transactions easier.

To conclude on China Outbound Tourism

The goal of this entire post is to provide you with some beneficial knowledge regarding the Chinese tourism business and the marketing methods associated with it. Keep in mind that relying solely on oneself will not lead to success. Chinese tour companies are untrustworthy and out-of-date; nevertheless, with the growing trend of outbound travel in China and the Internet, now is your chance to attract Chinese tourists.

Chinese tourists have excellent Internet access. They are interested in social media and are eager to listen to the counsel of others. This group's marketing necessitates customized localization tactics. Chinese tourists rely significantly on word of mouth and online comments.

As a result, organizations that wish to attract Chinese visitors must ensure that they present on the correct platform, monitor and manage their corporate image, and avoid potential unfavourable reviews as soon as possible.

We can provide you with additional information on how to attract Chinese tourists, how to interact with these Chinese agencies, how to negotiate deals, and what you should and should not do. We have a lot of experience and have already helped 50 travel firms offer their products and services to Chinese travellers successfully. Send us a remark or schedule a free 30-minute consultation, and we'll explain how we can assist you with a customized marketing approach.

We are a marketing agency established in Western Canada with offices in Shanghai, Beijing, and Shenzhen, China, specializing in tourism travel and hospitality management for Chinese tourists.

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