China is due to overtake the US as the world’s largest domestic travel market by 2030, with the country’s travel and tourism spending expected to increase by 15% every year.
According to data from TripAdvisor’s site in China, daodao.com, London is one of the most frequently researched destinations by Chinese travellers. A 2013 survey conducted by the Boston Consulting Group (BCG) revealed that the UK is one of the top “dream” destinations for young affluent Chinese travellers.
“China’s fast-growing outbound tourism market represents significant and unprecedented opportunities for businesses around the world,” said Lily Cheng, managing director of TripAdvisor China.
“Companies that deeply understand and cater to the preferences of Chinese travellers can differentiate themselves and win market share.”
Needs and expectations
TripAdvisor said the biggest decision factors for young affluent Chinese travellers when choosing a hotel are location, cleanliness and price.
Reputation is very important, with Chinese consumers trusting recommendations from people they know, as well as online opinion, when deciding where to stay.
According to a study conducted by daodao.com, Chinese consumers prefer to settle payment on arrival, and look for free in-room Wi-Fi connection and air-conditioning.
Hotels can also appeal to Chinese guests by offering small touches like Chinese tea, snacks and instant-noodles, said TripAdvisor.
“Language barriers and cultural differences are two of the biggest obstacles that Chinese travellers face when travelling abroad,” added Cheng.
“Businesses that offer various services and amenities that make Chinese travellers feel more welcome, such as Mandarin-speaking staff, travel guide information in Chinese, photos in menus, and acceptance of international cards like China UnionPay which are dominant amongst Chinese travellers, will stand a greater chance of attracting Chinese guests and winning them over.”
(Source: TripAdvisor-BCG Report: Winning the Next Billion Asian Travellers – Starting with China, December 2013)
Respect for Britain
TripAdvisor’s advice comes as YouGov China published results of a survey on Chinese attitudes towards Britain.
The survey of 1,944 Chinese adults revealed that 84% think the UK has 'some' or 'significant' influence on the world stage, with Britain third in the rankings of Chinese views on the most important leaders on the world stage.
What’s more, 68 per cent of Chinese adults said they would like to learn English, a much higher percentage than other world languages.
According to figures released by VisitBritain, the Chinese inbound market has grown faster in percentage terms than any other priority market for UK tourism. In the first half of 2013, spend from Chinese tourists increased by up 132 per cent to £181m and visits were up 21 per cent compared to the same period in 2012.
The government has launched a campaign to attract Chinese tourists, and confirmed at the end of last year that it will simplify visa rules for Chinese visitors, with a new 24-hour ‘super priority’ visa service due to be introduced from next summer.