Connecting to Chinese independent travellers before, during and after their trip
The Chinese outbound travel market is not only growing considerably, but also the profile of the Chinese traveler is going through a rapid and revolutionary change. As I have discussed in many of my previous articles, the rise of the Chinese Free Independent Traveler (FIT) means that this group is looking for more unique experiences. This group is also peculiar when it comes to its habits at home. They are extremely digital savvy. A smartphone is present in every aspect of the daily lives back in China. This rule also applies when it comes to traveling, and the journey of the Chinese FIT starts long before the actual trip. For tourism businesses or those businesses that would like to target this specific segment, there is a need to digitally connect with them before, during and after their actual trip.
Here are some best practices and tips to do so:
45 % of the Chinese FITs are searching for information about their travel destination via WeChat
Before their journey
This group is independent and does not rely much on tour operators to make the planning of their trip. Therefore, they actively look for most of the information they need online. Many foreign marketeer might think that the search engines play the dominant role in this important step, yet it is not 100% truth. 45 % of the Chinese FITs are searching for information about their travel destination via WeChat, the all in one Chinese application that the equivalent of Facebook and WhatsApp. They are looking for posts, pictures and travel experiences of friends, family and key opinion leaders (KOL) to get inspired and find out memorable spots worth visiting. Also, knowing that those spots were well appreciated by their fellow Chinese FITs gives them the sense of security and safety they need to make decisions. Accordingly, it is now more important than ever to have a localized and branded presence on Chinese social media platforms, such as WeChat.
It is very important to have the information optimized in Chinese language and according to their online user behavior.
During their journey
94% of the Chinese FITs state that the reason to travel to Europe is to discover local cultures and to find unique experiences, the best way to achieve that goal is often said to live like a local. More than ever they are looking for secret spots that are somehow out of the ordinary. They may find these spots by using travel platforms, such as Shake
63% of the FITs share their travel experiences on the same platform where they initially looked for the information, WeChat
After their journey
The journey of the Chinese FIT starts before the trip and it also ends much after it. It is in the comfort of his own home that this traveler will reflect on his journey and describe this trip more extensively and detailed to friends and family. By describing and talking about their previous journey intensively, the traveler will also have the eagerness to start planning for the next one! 63% of the FITs share their travel experiences on the same platform where they initially looked for the information, WeChat.