After being named the most popular tourist destination for Chinese travelers on recent surveys by both Hotels.com and the Hurun Report, Australia has set itself apart as a bonafide hotspot in China’s booming outbound tourism industry. One company that has experienced this trend firsthand is Changyouaozhou (畅游澳洲, in English means “smooth travels in Australia”), an Australia-based tour operator that specializes in planning trips for Chinese high-net-worth individuals (HNWIs). With special services such as Ferrari bookings, luxury personal shopping appointments, and exclusive golf outings, the company clearly knows something about winning over Australia’s wealthy Chinese visitors: this year, the official China Outbound Tourism Research Institute gave the agency a bronze for service quality as part of the institute’s annual Chinese Tourists Welcome Award program.
In order to learn more about why Australia is so popular with China’s well-heeled travelers and what it takes to impress them, we talked to Changyouaozhou Founder and Director Miranda Lu via email.
What types of services does your company provide to clients?
Changyouaozhou is an award-winning luxury Inbound Tour Operator (ITO) specializing in tailored luxury itineraries for Chinese high-net-wealth individuals (HNWI). As we work in partnership with some of Australia’s premier and most exclusive hotels, restaurants, and activity providers, we are able to provide Chinese tourists with luxury itineraries, exclusive activities, and VIP money-can’t-buy experiences.
All of our itineraries are built around the three E’s: Exquisite, Experiential, and Exclusive. We ensure that every one of our VIP guests experiences an itinerary which includes these three elements. We do this by offering our VIP guests the option to include in their personal itineraries: private jet transfers, Ferrari and Lamborghini drive experiences, rounds of golf at exclusive members-only golf courses, invitations to private shopping sessions with the store manager of a Louis Vuitton, Bvlgari boutique etc., fine dining specifically designed to their taste by celebrity chefs, and personal soccer training sessions with world-class soccer players—just to name a few.
Our latest itinerary is based around the Spring Racing Carnival in Melbourne, which is Australia’s biggest horse racing week, and our VIP guests will have the opportunity to experience something unforgettable. Guests will enjoy access to VIP rooms to watch the races, dine at some of Australia’s best restaurants, and also stay in some of Australia’s most awarded luxury hotels. On top of that, our VIP guests will enjoy a personal styling day with Australia’s number one celebrity stylist Kelly Smythe and Suzy O’Rourke, who is Australia’s number one race wear designer. These two fashion professionals will ensure that our VIP guests will be the envy of everyone else come race day.
What are some top Australian destinations popular with wealthy Chinese travelers?
Sydney and Melbourne would have to be the two most popular destinations within Australia as they are both major gateway cities between China and Australia. Both cities offer a wide variety of activities to choose from, as well as Australia’s most luxurious hotels and two of the World’s Top 100 Restaurants. Cairns is also popular due to its location on the Great Barrier Reef, while Uluru is also seeing an increase in arrivals with more and more Chinese tourists looking for adventure.
Have you noticed any new trends among Chinese HNWIs in terms of travel preferences?
The major trend that I have noticed would be the change in the perception of luxury. Luxury used to be all about suites in five-star hotels, limousine transfers, and gourmet fine dining, all of which came with a very high price tag. However, luxury is now perceived as having something that someone else can’t. A perfect example of this would be an itinerary we offer which includes a wine tasting session with the chief winemaker of a world-famous wine brand where our VIP guests can taste wines that have never been available for purchase.
How does your company promote itself to high-net-worth Chinese clients?
Having an online presence in China is very important because social media is now the number one source of information for Chinese HNWIs when planning a holiday. We are currently in the process of developing our WeChat and Sina Weibo pages; however, we do currently promote our itineraries through our website, www.changyouaozhou.cn, which is in simplified Mandarin. We also have partnerships with several high-end luxury travel clubs in China who promote our luxury itineraries and exclusive experiences, both online and offline, to their VIP members.
How important do you think Chinese travelers will become to Australia’s tourism market in the next five to 10 years?
Chinese travelers are already crucially important to the Australian tourism market, and will only become more so over the next five to 10 years. Already the largest inbound market for total expenditure in Australia, Chinese travelers within the next 10 years will easily become the largest inbound market for visitor arrivals into Australia too.
As the Chinese middle class continues to grow at an exponential rate, the demand for luxury travel will only continue to increase. This will result in a demand for more unique and more exclusive luxury experiences. Luxury ITO’s like us who can tailor exquisite, experiential, and exclusive itineraries to the needs of VIP guests will only become more popular.