Chinese Lunar New Year, once a time for family and friends to reunite at home, has become one of the hottest times of the year for Chinese consumers to travel, both domestically and internationally. Anticipating a spike in tourism during the holiday, luxury hotels take the opportunity each year to push out Spring Festival-inspired marketing campaigns and special packages to attract more guests.
The China National Tourism Administration predicts that the number of people who will travel during the upcoming seven-day holiday (from January 27 to February 2) will reach 343 million, up 13.6 percent from the previous year. Another recent industry report estimated that overseas travel is set to break last year’s record by 9.8 percent. In order to cash in on this trend, it is important for hotel brands to come up with a marketing strategy that shows their understanding of China’s unique social media landscape, consumers’ habits, and cultural values.
Over the past few years, an increasing number of luxury hotel brands operating in China have started recognizing the importance of Chinese social media platforms, namely WeChat and Weibo, in building up their brand awareness and recognition among Chinese travelers. Each brand’s digital marketing strategy has evolved and adapted to the local market. This year, there are many hotels embracing a “mobile, social, e-commerce” digital marketing mix in their creative CNY campaigns as part of traditional promotional efforts, such as booking discounts and dinner packages, and some of them have taken a multichannel and interactive approach to reach out to and engage with Chinese customers. For instance, Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts, for the first time, took one of the most popular aspects of Chinese New Year, the hongbao, by launching a red envelope campaign on WeChat. The brand hopes that the red envelope game can ultimately direct followers’ attention to their overseas properties that also offer CNY celebrations. Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts allowed customers to book rooms and New Year’s Eve banquets on its flagship store on one of China’s major e-commerce sites JD.com.
Below is a round-up of seven Chinese New Year campaigns promoted by major luxury hotels in honor of the Year of Rooster:
1. Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts
The Canadian luxury hotel chain initiated an online red envelope game on WeChat in celebration of the Chinese New Year. The main goal of this event is “to invite the followers to explore different destinations, culture, and celebrations” offered by Four Seasons globally, John Hamilton, director of marketing communications at Four Seasons Asia Pacific said. WeChat users can find the game easily on the homepage. To play, users need to shake their phones to grab a red envelope. Every participant will have the chance of winning a two-night stay in one of Seoul’s Four Seasons Hotels. The end of the game shows users a list of destinations that have Four Seasons properties. The campaign is also being promoted on the brand’s official Weibo account.
2. Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts
On WeChat, Shangri-La China World Summit Wing Beijing is promoting a special offer on its executive rooms for 1,500 RMB (roughly US$218) per night during the period of January 27 to February 5. The brand also allows customers to book rooms and New Year’s Eve banquets offered by all Shangri-La hotels operating in China on its JD flagship store.
3. Waldorf Astoria Hotels and Resorts
The luxury hotel brand Waldorf Astoria, which was acquired by Chinese insurance company Anbang in 2014, has offerings associated with Chinese Lunar New Year at its locations around the globe this year. At Waldorf Astoria Shanghai on the Bund, customers can order from traditional Chinese menus and enjoy Chinese-themed afternoon tea. The Shanghai hotel will also host lion dance performances and give out lucky hongbao packets. La Chine, the Chinese-themed restaurant at Waldorf Astoria in New York City, has released special menus that feature “Jiang-Nan Style BBQ Chicken” to welcome the Year of Rooster. The restaurant also offers a wide variety of high-end Chinese baijiu, including the most well known Kweichow Moutai, during the period of Lunar New Year.
4. New World Beijing Hotel
New World Beijing Hotel is serving up a traditional dish called “Poon Choi” (pengcai) that originated during China’s Song Dynasty, in honor of the Lunar New Year. Poon Choi, which is popular in Hakka and Cantonese culture, features layers of fish, meat, and vegetables.
5. The Temple House
This luxury hotel in Chengdu launched a series of festive offerings this year, including a Spring Festival-themed afternoon tea with traditional Chinese cookies. The French restaurant within the hotel also provides Chinese-French fusion cuisine during the period of the Lunar New Year.
6. The Peninsula Hotel
In celebration of the Year of Rooster, the Peninsula Shanghai is offering a “Stay One More Night With Us” package, in which guests receive a complimentary second night’s stay. Meanwhile, the hotel is presenting a Paper-Cut Art Exhibition in collaboration of Shanghai-born artist Justin Shi as part of the festive offerings. The New Year’s Eve banquet service is also being offered in most Peninsula hotels across Asia as well as in Chicago and Paris, with numerous Spring Festival-inspired creative dishes being presented. In some of the locations, customers can enjoy traditional cultural performances, such as lion dances and fireworks.
7. Mandarin Oriental Hotels
Mandarin Oriental Hotel’s WeChat account is promoting special discounts on rooms during January 20 to February 13. Meanwhile, the brand has initiated an event that asks followers to leave their comments on what they want to do at Mandarin Oriental Hotel during the New Year. The best comments will be selected and awarded with a free two-night stay at Mandarin Oriental Hotels in any of the following cities: Sanya, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Hong Kong, Macau, Taipei, Singapore, and Bangkok.