Tourism: Be prepared to Welcome Chinese Group Travelers!

Aug 11, 2023 |
Up Your Marketing Game in China with Our Insights

On August 10, 2023, The Chinese Ministry of Culture and Tourism announced the lifting of restrictions and bans on group travelers, which have been in place in the wake of the pandemic. The opening applies initially to around 70 countries worldwide including Finland, Norway, and Sweden.

This decision is undoubtedly fantastic and long-awaited for all those involved in the tourism industry or otherwise affected by tourism. Unfortunately, these relaxations do not encompass all Nordic countries, but they do provide a direction, and we can likely anticipate more developments in the near future.

In this insight, we delve deeper into why group travel is so popular, what’s trendy and why Nordic countries? But foremost, how do businesses welcome Chinese Travelers, what to consider in a marketing strategy, and which digital platforms are most important to be present on?

This and more, enjoy our tourism insight!

Why travel in groups?

As China slowly reopens, travel-hungry Chinese tourists have been eager to explore the world! Many travel agencies, flights, and departures have been closed for a while, but as more and more people venture out, a sense of normalcy has gradually returned. However, one thing that has been limited until now is group travel.

Group travel is a prevalent concept worldwide, where travel agencies plan and organize trips, often with multiple stops in different countries and predetermined activities. One notable aspect in China is the Chinese people’s love for these group tours. In fact, before the pandemic, a staggering 55% of Chinese tourists traveled in groups. One reason for this, aside from culture and tradition, could be that many Chinese individuals are not accustomed to venturing out into the world. Many lack experience in international tourism, making group tours a convenient way to have everything planned and organized for them.

Though, have individual traveling increased its popularity but group travel is still predicted to be the most common choice.

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Same Same but Different

Even though Chinese tourists are once again exploring the world, much has changed since the pandemic erupted in 2019. Today, Chinese travelers are more aware, and an increasing number are seeking destinations beyond the typical “classic” tourist spots. Access to social media and the presence of Key Opinion Leaders (KOLs) inspire more unique journeys focused on authenticity, experiences, and nature.

More and more people want to venture out on their own, and in some cases, the allure of adventure surpasses the comfort of familiar surroundings. An authentic restaurant visit or a day in the mountains may be more appealing to experience and share than a visit to a capital city. As a participant in the tourism industry, don’t be shy to promote your niched concept – perhaps that’s what attracts the most interest after all?

What Draws Chinese Travelers to the Nordics

Fresh air, breathtaking wilderness, endless summer nights, the Northern Lights, and skiing – these are just a few examples of what Chinese tourism agencies highlight as they promote the Nordic countries to eager globetrotters.

While the Nordic countries might not be at the very top of the most popular travel destinations for Chinese tourists, they are a region that is getting increasing attention, and interest is steadily on the rise. A friendly culture offering unique experiences is perfectly timed. The chill of winter makes the peak season for Chinese tourism in the Nordic lands, spanning from May to September. But don’t underestimate the growing fascination with winter activities; feel free to market our colder seasons, it might pay off.

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Portrait of a smiling couple in the city, tourists visiting destination, summer trip exploring and eating an ice cream

Considerations in Your Marketing Strategy

Identify Your Target Audience

Previously, traveling outside of China held a certain status, but the pandemic has reshaped this landscape. Chinese travelers have rediscovered the joy of exploring within their own country, leading to a significant surge in status and offerings. This is expected to ripple into the global tourism industry, which now has the Chinese domestic market to contend with. To effectively market to the Chinese audience, you need to stand out and possess strong local knowledge. Identify your target demographic and conduct targeted marketing within that segment. The Chinese market is vast, but success lies in finding the right audience and doing so in a way that generates interest and a sense of authenticity.

Utilize the Right Channels

China has many digital platforms aimed to target Chinese travelers, everything from lifestyle platforms, and payment solutions, to specific “travel” platforms. Social Media and Travel platforms stand as vital sources of inspiration and make traveling easier.

Read more about China’s social media landscape and digital platforms here.

Be Prepared to Welcome and Handle Chinese Tourists

NBH has long experience helping companies to attract Chinese tourism, see our works, and for you to be prepared to welcome Chinese visitors we list the three most important platforms and important payment solutions.

Dianping: Your Travel Planning Companion in China

Dianping, which can easily be described as China’s answer to Yelp or Tripadvisor, is a Chinese online platform where users review and rate hotels, restaurants, and all kinds of services and attractions.

In China, trip planning requires accessible and familiar platforms due to internet restrictions. Dianping shines as the go-to app for travelers, offering abundant data across various destinations, from Nordic hikes to city experiences. Its uniqueness lies in being the top travel app in China, providing comprehensive information in Chinese, which aligns with travelers’ preferences and comfort.

In the realm of Chinese digital platforms, Dianping is no exception when it comes to offering an array of features and opportunities. Through Dianping, travelers can conduct research, find inspiration, and even make direct bookings, such as reserving hotel rooms or tables at restaurants they wish to visit. For travel destinations, this opens up avenues for gaining publicity both before, during, and after a trip.

Apart from setting up an account on Dianping, there are various methods to enhance visibility, such as launching campaigns, offering discounts, or partnering with Key Opinion Leaders (KOLs).

Curious to get to know Dianping?

Click into our complete NBH Guide to Dianping, here.

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Little Red Book – The go-to lifestyle platform

Little Red Book (LRB), also referred to as Xiaohongshu 小红书 and RED, stands as China’s largest social shopping platform with a distinctive focus on lifestyle and consumer engagement. Renowned for product reviews, beauty insights, fashion inspiration, and daily living snapshots, LRB has established itself as a fusion of Instagram and Pinterest. Its popularity makes it a prominent player in China’s social media landscape and a pivotal hub for both consumers and brands.

For the tourism industry, LRB presents an intriguing opportunity to share immersive travel experiences, destination highlights, and unique cultural encounters. Similar to its use by B2C brands, leveraging LRB’s visual appeal and vibrant user engagement can effectively captivate and connect with travelers seeking authentic and memorable journeys.

For those in the tourism industry aiming to reach Chinese travelers, establishing an official account on Little Red Book is essential. This step empowers you to directly connect with your precise target audience and expand your online follower community within China.

If you believe that Instagram is indispensable for your online marketing efforts in the West, a similar perspective should be held for Little Red Book when aiming to engage the Chinese audience.

Get to know Little Red Book better?  

Tap into our complete NBH Guide to Little Red Book

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WeChat: China’s No.1 Social Media Platform

WeChat stands as the foundational pillar for any company entering the Chinese market. This platform is essential for establishing your business presence in China, regardless of industry or sector.

Serving as a versatile hub, WeChat handles daily tasks and is the primary app for social interaction and communication across China. Evolving from a micro-messaging app, WeChat has become a Mega-App with virtually limitless capabilities. From networking and company account setup to payments and e-commerce sales, its functions are boundless.

WeChat serves as the ultimate arena for brands to establish brand positioning, enhance brand loyalty, and engage in one-way communication. This unique ecosystem has redefined the concept of an app, expanding its scope and impact.

Given its vast reach and overwhelming popularity, WeChat has become an indispensable tool for anyone seeking to engage in business or promote themselves within the Chinese market.

The potential of WeChat QR code

WeChat QR codes offer a valuable tool for the tourism sector. They can be used to provide instant access to travel info, booking services, attraction details, and multilingual support. QR codes also enhance dining experiences, aid navigation through interactive maps, gather feedback, and share promotions. They bridge offline and online experiences, connect with social media, and encourage user-generated content. QR codes amplify cultural insights and create a seamless and engaging travel journey for tourists.

Dive deeper into the potential of WeChat?

Find NBH Guide to WeChat, here.

Payment Solutions

Integrating widely adopted payment methods in China, such as WeChat Pay and Alipay, significantly enhances the travel experience for Chinese tourists.

WeChat Pay is integrated into the WeChat app, allowing users to link their bank accounts and make payments seamlessly within the app.

Alipay, developed by Alibaba, provides a similar service and is widely used for various transactions, from in-store purchases to online shopping. Both platforms use QR codes for payments, making them convenient and ubiquitous in China’s digital payment landscape.

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To summarize, for tourists to discover you, a strong digital presence is crucial. In China, numerous digital platforms can help attract new visitors to your business. NBH has extensive experience in assisting tourism companies and customizes strategies for each client.

Ready to reach the Chinese digital market?

Book a free consultation with NBHs experts to assess the right way forward for your company toward China’s digital market.

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