The lucrative Chinese outbound tourism market needs local expertise and connections

Armani Hotel Dubai campaign case study from iClick

The skyrocketing numbers of Chinese outbound tourism mean the Chinese market represents immense opportunities of revenue growth for destinations and travel and related brands outside of China.

How skyrocketing are those numbers? Here you go:

Go back to 2001. Chinese residents made 10.5 million overseas trips that year. In 2017, they made 130 million trips abroad, an increase of 1,238%.

China also leads global outbound travel in terms of money spent. The overseas spending of Chinese tourists was about US$10 billion in 2000, citing the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO). In 2017, that figure rose astoundingly to US$115 billion.

China has grown from travel minnows to whales, leaping ahead of Western countries including the U.S.

Diverse interests make Chinese travelers all kinds of travellers

Traveling in groups and the more individualized ways of globetrotting like purchasing travel packages to travel independently and making all-my-own arrangements are more or less equally preferred by Chinese tourists.

Leisure was the top objective for Chinese tourists to travel overseas, followed by enjoying food, shopping, romantic getaway and adventure, as revealed by a Nielsen survey conducted in 2017. Simultaneously, going to exhibitions, musical performances or sports events, or unwinding at local bars or spas are increasingly chosen by Chinese tourists.

A survey tells us that outbound Chinese tourists spend the most on shopping regardless of destination, followed by accommodations and dining. The post-90s generation tends to spend more visiting attractions and dining, and those born in the 70s have relatively stronger liking for shopping and comfortable accommodation.

What, where and how Chinese tourists spend

Duty-free shops were the most popular shopping spot for over two-thirds of post-70s generation Chinese tourists. The post-80s and post-90s generation groups liked to shop in beauty stores and pharmacies. This is, however, not absolute. For example, in Japan, department stores and pharmacies are a lot more popular; in Taiwan, convenience stores and gift shops are more visited; in the U.S., luxury stores and discount retail stores stand out.

Apart from the usual factors of discount, price and quality, payment methods supported by local merchants crucially influence Chinese tourists’ spending decisions.

Want to engage with Chinese tourists? Tap into mobile and internet behavior

According to Nielsen, 65% of Chinese tourists used mobile payments lately, compared with just 11% of non-Chinese tourists.

To research travel destinations and plan trips, Chinese travelers make use of travel websites and blogs, as well as social media platforms such as Weibo and WeChat.

Being “China-ready” is not enough

iClick Interactive, the largest independent online marketing technology platform in China has helped numerous brands around the world to reach their target audiences effectively and timely using its proprietary marketing technology platform that reaches 98% of China’s online users.

Armani Hotel Dubai is one of the brands that have achieved digital success with the help of iClick’s data-driven approach.

Dubai has been gearing up to welcome the growing wave of Chinese visitors. Chinese nationals are eligible for a 30-day visa-on-arrival into the UAE, which gives Chinese travelers lots of convenience. Dubai attracted 91% of the Chinese tourists who visited the UAE in 2017.

The challenges

Armani Hotel Dubai is ready to take its sales to Chinese tourists to the next level with the facilities upgraded and operation efficiencies expanded. What it lacked was insightful understanding of Chinese travelers in particular the demographics that were likely to be attracted to their hotel.

Armani Hotel Dubai was challenged by the huge differences in the business practice, unique culture and language barrier in running digital campaigns in China.

The hotel needed a partner to fill the gaps. iClick came as its natural partner, with the know-how and experience to help guide its campaign to success.

Getting the Ps of digital marketing right

Trying to push through any marketing campaign in China without local expertise and connections will almost certainly get companies in a “twice (or manifold) the efforts (and money, of course), half (or no) the result” trap.

iClick tailored an optimal solution for the hotel to increase brand awareness and booking rate from China, which is the key market for the hotel.

Utilizing proprietary information and trade connections that took decade to nurture, supported by dedicated knowledgeable global and local teams, iClick assisted Armani Hotel Dubai in reaching their target Chinese audiences through China’s most popular mobile and Internet sites including WeChat and Weibo to improve reach and booking potential. Armani Hotel Dubai’s message was delivered to the desired segments.

Armani Hotel Dubai was happy with the following after partnering with iClick for their promotion in China:

Due to iClick’s unrivaled technological and execution strengths, the ads of Armani Hotel Dubai were delivered in an omnichannel manner, which raised the brand awareness and garnered interest between Chinese consumers. Subsequently, Armani Hotel Dubai saw a surge in conversion rate.

During the campaign, the Armani Hotel Dubai brand was connected with 87% of Chinese mobile users.

“Tapping into the China opportunities is the wish of every hospitality brand around the world but at the same time it could be a nightmare due to the huge differences in business practice, unique culture and language barrier. iClick is our top-of-mind choice as we don’t understand the market well but the team is very knowledgeable about marketing in China. They truly understand our business goals and help us immensely to expand our marketing channels. It has been an effective way for us to get Chinese travelers in such a huge market.”, Mark Kirby, general manager, Armani Hotel Dubai.

See a video interview of Mark Kirby as he describes what it was like to work with us.

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