How to take a piece of the cake of the Chinese tourism market?

Figures about Chinese tourists no longer surprise anyone. According to the UNWTO, in 2017 they spent more than 258 billion dollars on their travels, which is almost twice as much as tourists ...

Figures about Chinese tourists no longer surprise anyone. According to the UNWTO, during 2017, they spent more than $ 258 billion on their travels, which is almost twice as much as U.S. tourists. In the text, we provide an overview of the key steps in bringing the tourist and catering offer closer to Chinese tourists.

Step XNUMX - Be "linguistically visible"

A Chinese tourist begins to experience their destination experience from the comfort of their armchair by browsing and reading your website. It would be desirable if they were the same in Chinese. We know what you're thinking now, but don't expect a google translator or similar tool to effectively bridge that language barrier.

Wondering why? Well because marketing-related content is written by creative copywriters. Usually, such content is imbued with satire, local dialect, and colloquial expressions in order to be attractive and to reach the reader. Translation apps are unable to decipher emotional expressions, or analyze whether sentences are funny or serious. They do not recognize words that are not pronounced in the original text, and are read between the lines, they do not suggest a better choice of words or expressions with the same meaning. Given these shortcomings, the end product of “electronically” translated texts is likely to be full of unnatural sentences and meaningless expressions that will leave a very bad impression on your brand.

Only skilled bilingual translators and editors can discover whether there are errors or inconsistencies in the original text, and equally mimic the emotional aspects and express the true intentions of the original writer. Transcription or translation that conveys emotions is called creative translation, and that’s what you need. You need to make sure that your original content is effective, credible, and that it conveys emotions in Chinese or any other language as well.

So, in an effort to get closer to the target market, and to encourage the next step to further research your website, and to complete the whole process by selling or booking, the goal is to have a good and "readable" translation of the site. With good creative translation, your target audience will be able to build an emotional connection with your brand in any language.

Step Two - Consider that China is the first country in the world in terms of mobile device use in the total population


Nowhere in the world are consumers used more with their smartphones and mobile apps than in China. The Chinese use their smartphones for practically everyday business and life - from everyday shopping, surfing local and global websites to news, communication and socializing in group conversations, etc. Chinese tourists search for news and information about distant world destinations, check hotel websites, weather forecasts and the like, on Chinese social networks and travel forums via their mobile devices. Most of them prefer to buy online, and everything from accommodation, plane tickets, train rides, local excursions… they are happiest when they do everything before they even set off.

Other items such as tickets for various events, car rental, restaurant reservations and the like are more likely to be purchased during the trip. And they want to make that purchase through mobile apps installed on smartphones.

Step Three - You need to know that China has blocked access to many foreign websites and online applications


Most Western Internet and network applications, such as Google, PayPal, Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and the like, are censored by the "Great Wall of China", in fact the Chinese firewall, which is why these pages are not visible in China. In China, there are more than 6 million applications developed for the Chinese market alone, and more than two hundred of them are used on a daily basis by the majority of the population.

The Chinese use applications for researching the Internet, making online payments, sending messages, video streaming, chatting on social networks and the like. In short, they have no need to use Western applications commonly used outside of China.

This actually means that the various online advertising campaigns present in Western markets in China are not working which will result in poor investments, i.e. there will be no return on investment in advertising. For hoteliers and caterers, for all profiles of tourism institutions and those who want to offer their lifestyle to Chinese consumers, the right strategy is to launch online advertising, video ads, notifications, and similar triggers that will result in sales through Chinese apps and websites. Such an approach will yield tangible results in the large Chinese tourism market.

Step Four - Meet an individual guest from China

The trend of Chinese tourists is that fewer and fewer of them are opting for organized agency trips in which the “guide flag” is followed. Instead, they want authentic travel and vacation experiences. An individual guest from China prefers trips that he creates himself and that are not tied to a rigid schedule. They are mostly members of the upper middle class with an average annual household income of more than $ 35.000. It is estimated that 30 million households in China have already crossed that threshold. 

For hotel and tourist destinations that want to attract Chinese travelers, providing information on key destination attractions such as “unique places to visit”, “what to do”, “day or night city tours” is of great importance, and if they meet this criterion most likely is that it will attract Chinese individual guests.

Step Five - Do you know why the Chinese prefer trips created exactly to their liking?

The growth of wealth in China has created a significant number of high-income consumers who enjoy refined taste and specially designed travel. They prefer individualized tours as well as unique and special travel experiences. In a joint report by the Chinese Academy of Tourism and Ctrip, individual travel bookings for the first half of 2018 recorded an increase of 300%. The Chinese individual traveler wants to immerse themselves in the local culture, unique architecture, and visit museums and historical sites, popular in the destination.

In order to attract individual guests, it is necessary that hotels, restaurants, lifestyle and retail facilities offer on their websites content and information about particularly interesting offers, cultural attractions, unique gastronomic experiences, relaxing and fun events and the like.

It is also important to take into account that special tourist packages are offered in accordance with the Chinese holiday calendar according to which tourist trips are most common. These are two terms of the year that you must not forget, and they are the Chinese New Year in February and the Chinese national holiday "Golden Week" in October. For trips to Europe and the US, both Chinese holidays coincide with the low tourist holiday season in Europe and the US, which is ideal. Promotional campaigns for these dates should be launched two to three months before each holiday.

Step Six - Enable online payments with Chinese Payment Gateways systems

According to surveys among Chinese tourists, 65% of them pay their expenses through mobile applications, while 77% of them are willing to spend more if they have the ability to pay via mobile applications. Therefore, it is recommended to activate an online payment gateway such as Union Pay, Alipay or Wechat Pay.

Union Pay is used in over 170 countries. Alipay and WeChat Pay are the two most popular online gateway systems in China, and also have partnerships with overseas networks. The Chinese use their mobile wallets for cash transactions, they are ideal for taxi rides, in restaurants or souvenir shops, which is often a problem due to the language barrier.


For hotels, caterers, lifestyle and retail facilities that want to enter the Chinese tourism market, the key is "language visibility". This primarily applies to content on your website that needs good transcription translations. In addition, promotion through social media campaigns and web platforms in the Chinese market is also crucial.

To be linguistically visible, this means that you will also prepare a series of Chinese versions of brochures and literature about places of interest in your destination, about your hotel, about your attractions. The same printed materials can be presented in PDF on your website or downloaded as PDFs for sharing on social networks or for printing printed versions.

Preparing most content in Chinese and for the Chinese media is mostly a one-time investment. Placing marketing and advertising campaigns based on the developed strategy of Push & Pull ads on Chinese websites and social networks are investments that require planning and monitoring. The result should be greater visibility of your promotional messages and your brand, and an increase in demand for your products among millions of future Chinese travelers.

These are the key steps that can help you attract the attention of Chinese tourists, in winning their hearts. A well-placed strategy will build your brand’s presence in this fast-growing market. Needless to say, the financial benefits are manifold.

Author: Andreja Gazdek, ProConcept




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