Expert: China’s Rapid Travel Market Changes Take ‘Months, Not Years’

Businesses with the goal of attracting China’s growing number of outbound tourists not only need to come up with a strong strategy tailored just for them, but must also frequently adapt to the quickly evolving market. That’s the conclusion on this month’s episode of CNN’s “On China”, which heads to the Beijing Capital International Airport to interview top China travel experts about what it takes to attract China’s rapidly growing number of outbound tourists.

In the video above, Martin Rinck, the Asia-Pacific president of Hilton Worldwide, and  Jane Sun, the COO of online travel booking site Ctrip, discuss vital importance of both providing special amenities to Chinese visitors and adapting to China’s quickly changing travel market.

According to Sun, providing special hotel services such as Chinese-speaking staff and tea kettles “absolutely” matters for attracting Chinese visitors. “The hotels with Chinese-specific services [are] ranked higher than the other hotels” on Ctrip, she says.

“You have to be authentic, but most importantly nowadays, you have to be flexible, because the market dynamics within China change within months, not years,” says Rinck, who states that understanding the psyche, culture, and habits of Chinese travelers is vital to attracting their business. For example, he discusses the swift ascent of mobile messaging app WeChat, stating that a business’s China social media strategy today “might be the wrong strategy tomorrow.”

In another segment shown below, the experts discuss stereotypes about “rude” Chinese tourists, which the experts believe are driven by cultural differences and the fact that many Chinese travelers are venturing abroad for the first time.

Finally, a third segment discusses Chinese travelers’ expanding horizons when it comes to travel destinations—and how they’re booking their trips. According to Rinck, Chinese tourists are becoming more adventurous every year. “I think of the 100 million that traveled abroad last year, 10 percent were interested in adventure travel” such as African or even Antarctic destinations, he said.

In addition, Sun notes that mobile technology is vitally important to the Chinese travel market. On Ctrip, more than 50 percent of online bookings are now mobile, showing that a mobile-optimized site is a must for China success.

 

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Industry Sectors, Travel