Welcome to this fortnight’s China Ready Now Round-Up.
Firstly, apologies for the lack of newsletters recently. I have been working on a project that I look forward to telling you more about shortly. In the mean time, I will be sending out this newsletter once every two weeks. To catch up with all that is new in Chinese tourism, here are 8 top stories I’ve been following.
- It is becoming easier and easier for online retailers to receive payment from Chinese customers, with US online payments giant Stripe now allowing merchants to accept WeChat Pay and Alipay (paywall). This is particularly important as China moves ever closer to becoming a cashless society.
- Ctrip is eyeing off travel assets in Australia and New Zealand, setting up an AUD 1 billion fund to invest in hotels, resorts and tourism-related businesses in a partnership with Bangarra Group and Inhope Investment (paywall).
- Darwin could soon join the list of Australian cities with direct flights to China. Cairns meanwhile has secured year-round direct flights to Guangzhou from December 2017.
- This is all in the broader context of an expected 200 million trips taken by Chinese travellers by 2020, up from 135 million in 2016. For Australia, this could mean our 1.2 million Chinese visitors in 2016 could grow to as many as 2.9 million within 3 years, according to a recent report from CLSA (paywall).
- Getting your head around WeChat is important for any tourism business, and Tourism Australia has made it easier, by uploading a series of presentations on WeChat from the recent ATE conference.
- Qantas is partnering up with Alibaba to sell flights to Chinese millennials (paywall). Qantas will soon have a flagship store on Alibaba’s travel website Fliggy. Fliggy is the third biggest player in China’s online travel market after Ctrip and Qunar, with a 14% share of all online travel bookings.
- One of the biggest source of Chinese millennial travellers is Chinese international students, who spend 380 billion yuan ($AUD 72 billion) abroad every year, according to Unionpay. There are over 150,000 Chinese international students in Australia, so you can understand why Qantas and others are choosing to target Chinese millennials.
- Hotels.com released its annual Chinese International Travel Monitor. Among the findings was that Australia’s popularity with Chinese tourists is sliding: we are now the third most popular destination for Chinese intending to travel in the next 12 months after France and the US. Last year we were number one.
One of the key take-aways for me from the Hotels.com Chinese International Travel Monitor was that language barriers continue to be major headache for Chinese travellers. Of the top 6 areas where hotels could improve their services for Chinese guests, 3 were language related. Having in-house Mandarin speaking staff was the second most important facility for Chinese guests, while Chinese language travel guides and Chinese language websites were the 5th and 6th most important features for Chinese travellers.
I’ll give you a recent example of the importance of having some Chinese-language content about your business. I recently showed a family from Nanjing around New South Wales for a week, and one activity they particularly wanted to do was a farmstay. They had researched online and found only one farmstay property which had put some Chinese language content on their website. Unfortunately for them, this farmstay was booked out on the dates they wanted (probably by Chinese families looking for a unique holiday experience). The moral of the story? If you have Chinese content on your website, you’re going to be putting yourself ahead of all your competitors – and increased bookings will come your way!
To get ahead of the competition with some high-quality Chinese language content, get in touch with us for a free consultation.
I hope you enjoyed this edition of the China Ready Now Round-Up. For more updates during the week on Chinese tourism trends and how to attract Chinese tourists, follow me on LinkedIn. And if you think I’ve missed anything important, please contact me.