In the past, Chinese families stayed home during the New Year holiday but, in recent years, increasing numbers are taking advantage of the long holiday to travel both domestically and abroad. With 6.15 million Chinese people traveling abroad during the holiday in 2017, Chinese New Year has become a golden opportunity for tourism providers who can meet the needs of multi-generational travelers.
Focus on family travel
While the holiday used to be a time of family reunions and big feasts, due to the one child policy many families have become much smaller, making Chinese New Year less exciting to spend at home. To make things even duller, fireworks have been banned in many major cities around China.
To escape boredom and take advantage of the longest national holiday of the year, many young people are now choosing to ditch the cold winter weather and oppressive air pollution, taking their entire family to travel to warmer climates in the south of China or someplace abroad. During Chinese New Year 2016, 56 percent of young luxury travelers traveled abroad, with 90 percent of those traveling with family or friends.
It’s about climate and convenience
There are a number of factors travelers will take into consideration during the Chinese New Year.
The length of holiday, anywhere from 7-10 days, will have a significant impact on whether travelers will choose a long-haul, short-haul or domestic destination. Each year the length of the holiday varies depending on what day it falls on in the lunar calendar. Last year the holiday was 10 days long resulting in a whopping 6.15 million people deciding to travel overseas.
Since the holiday falls in the middle of winter, climate is often an important factor with many people opting for warmer locations in the south of China, Hong Kong or Southeast Asia. For those choosing long-haul travel, Australia and the United States are popular choices. And in recent years, countries such as the United Arab Emirates and Morocco have received a growing number of Chinese travelers due to relaxed visa requirements.
Most of all, convenience is key when traveling with family. Because young couples will have to take care of both their parents and their children, they want to choose somewhere that is easy to reach (ideally a direct flight) and has family friendly accommodations and activities.
Packages and promotions
Destinations all over the globe are trying to capitalize on Chinese New Year, offering specially designed packages and discounts. Last Chinese New Year, Travel San Francisco ran a campaign targeting holiday travelers that included promotions through Chinese online travel agency Ctrip. They also inspired consumers to visit by live streaming interesting neighborhoods, cafes, and sites throughout the city. World-famous hotels including the Burj Al Arab in Dubai offered Chinese travelers exclusive holiday rates.
This coming New Years’, as part of the Beverly Hills Chinese New Year celebration, several high-end hotels such as The Beverly Hilton, Luxe Rodeo Drive Hotel, Montage Beverly Hills, The Peninsula Beverly Hills and Waldorf Astoria Beverly Hills will offer special packages throughout the month of February which include discounted rates and customized amenities such as a hot water kettle with Chinese tea and in-room Chinese breakfast dining options.
Packages certainly don’t have to be bargains. Raffles Hainan, for instance, is offering a 1.3 million RMB luxury Chinese New Year experience, including dinner served in the presidential villa’s private dining room and a private party on a yacht, to just one group of up to eight people.
Get the basics right
For hotels and resorts looking to attract Chinese family travelers during the Chinese New Year, there are several things to keep in mind.
- Unless you want them hanging out in the hallways, provide families adjacent rooms with connecting doors or a suite with multiple bedrooms
- It is not necessary to create an entire Chinese menu, but do have some Chinese breakfast options available. While more experienced Chinese travelers often prefer local cuisine and new food experiences, both children and elderly Chinese travelers tend to be more conservative with their food choices
- Provide a wide variety of activities for all ages; all-inclusive beach and ski resorts are becoming increasingly popular