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Bridging the gap: Mobile advertising’s role in increasing post-Covid Chinese tourism

By Maria Ramiro , Head of business development EU

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October 31, 2023 | 7 min read

As China's borders reopen, the travel industry anticipates the return of Chinese tourists, who now have new preferences for independent accommodations, local brands and mobile-based travel planning, making mobile advertising a crucial tool for engaging this digitally-savvy demographic, says Maria Ramiro (head of business development EU, Petal Ads).

China tourism

In the wake of China's borders reopening and the cautious optimism felt by the global travel industry, there remains a challenging terrain to navigate. Stepping into the post-pandemic era, the world eagerly awaits the resurgence of Chinese tourism – a key driver of the travel industry’s growth.

But the road ahead is not without challenges. Fluctuations in demand, uncertainties, and high airline ticket prices have added complexity to the industry’s recovery. To stay on top of their game in this dynamic market, brands must stay nimble. With consumers moving online, brands who embrace mobile advertising are the ones poised to truly thrive.

Chinese travellers: New expectations and preferences

In today’s landscape, we see a fresh set of expectations and preferences among Chinese travellers. A 2023 consumer report by McKinsey characterizes these post-pandemic Chinese travellers as hyper-digitized, experience-oriented, and exploration enthusiasts.

On the topic of accommodation, interest has shifted towards independent travel options, rather than international chain brand hotels. In fact, almost 60% of respondents prefer independent accommodation such as boutique hotels, B&Bs, and Airbnb – an 8 percentage-point increase since 2020. This stems from the rising preference for local brands, with Chinese consumers choosing them for quality, not just affordability. Moreover, these consumers are increasingly relying on online resources and social media to educate themselves about product offerings.

Wonder how travellers prefer to spend their money while abroad? Entertainment activities, culinary delights, and shopping are the top categories. These are the most variable and flexible spending categories, with opportunities to up-sell, as attractions, food and beverage, and retail players are well placed to create unique and unexpected offerings to spark spending in this area. By capitalising on the human desire for unique and unforgettable moments, these players have a golden opportunity to enhance the travel experience and convert casual visitors into enthusiastic consumers.

The role of mobile advertising

In the post-pandemic era, mobile advertising takes center stage in connecting with tech-savvy Chinese travellers. Chinese travellers are increasingly reliant on their smartphones for travel planning, booking, and exploration. Mobile advertising allows brands to tap into this group of digital natives and deliver personalized, location-based, and contextually relevant content that captures their attention. What’s more, mobile ads can provide real-time information, including safety guidelines and travel restrictions. This helps travellers make informed decisions, ensuring a smoother and safer journey.

The power of mobile advertising lies in its precision. Mobile advertising solutions empower brands to target specific audiences based on demographics, interests, and behavior. This means travel brands can craft messages that deeply resonate with specific traveller segments, ultimately enhancing engagement and conversion rates.

Bridging the gap

Petal Ads, Huawei's mobile advertising ecosystem, serves as a bridge for brand advertisers looking to tap into the post-pandemic Chinese tourism market.

The platform leverages Huawei's formidable presence in China. With Huawei ranked most popular in China (YouGov Global Best Brand Ranking 2022) and boasting a 47.4% market share in foldable smartphones, Petal Ads provides exclusive access to over 500 million Huawei active users in China monthly. These users include a significant number of high spenders with strong purchasing power, making it a great platform for brands seeking growth and a wider audience.

Furthermore, Petal Ads has a successful track record in sectors like tourism and retail, helping brands enter the Chinese market effectively by capitalizing on its extensive user base and market reach.

Perfect for brands who want a smooth transition from local to global markets, Petal Ads offers comprehensive support including language, visuals, setup, monitoring, campaign strategy, and optimization. With a dedicated team in Europe by your side, it is an effective tool for advertisers looking to thrive in this specific market.

In the post-pandemic Chinese tourism landscape, mobile advertising becomes the linchpin for brands to engage a fresh wave of consumers. Thriving in this era requires embracing advanced mobile advertising solutions to unlock the boundless, untapped potential of the Chinese tourism market – where opportunities await those ready to seize them.

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