BLOG: How can Western operators market their services to the Chinese traveler?


The outbound tourism industry in China is vast to say the least. Countless tour operators, travel platforms, social media accounts, etc. are all hustling to earn the attention – and hard-earned cash – of millions of Chinese travelers.

When confronted with this market that is evolving and expanding at break-neck speed, many Western operators often become overwhelmed by the seemingly endless options (and the price tag that comes with it) in which they could market their services to the Chinese traveler.

Considering that Western tourist operators often lack sufficient financial resources and knowhow to plan, organize and execute effective marketing campaigns in the target market, they often stay sidelined in the race for the patronage of the Chinese traveler. Those who do venture out in the Chinese travel market, often have no other option but to rely on Chinese third parties for exposure and income, with the strong possibility of being misrepresented, or even not being represented at all!

We’re here to tell you that it is perfectly possible for SMEs to reach the Chinese traveler, in a cost-effective and time-efficient way. Most importantly, it allows businesses to stay in control of their brand image.

Research has shown that (depending on age) at least 60% of Chinese travelers rely on online sources when planning their next trip. A substantial part of those online sources is occupied by social media. Seeing the increasingly important role of social media in China and the mobile-first revolution of the last few years, establishing an online presence on Chinese social media has become a must for any company wishing to increase brand recognition with the Chinese consumer.

While entering the China social media game can be a daunting endeavor, it can also prove to be – when done right – the best low-budget option with the highest change of ROI for small players. By establishing a dedicated presence on social media, you can present your services to hundreds of millions of Chinese netizens, and little by little build your brand and reputation, learn more about your customers, earn their trust and eventually, their patronage.

For purpose of navigating China’s online ecosystem, it might be wise to hire a China consultant or marketing agency that can assist you in every step of the way, from platform selection, registration, and setup to account management, content creation and execution.

As a final note, it’s not all about online. You should also allocate certain resources in liaising with Chinese tour operators and present your company to tourist organizations and other operators in the tourist industry in China, prepare your facility and staff for the inflow of Chinese tourists, and so on.

On 13 or 14 December 2017 MyChinaWeb organised two workshops about this topic. More information can be found on the following link.