What Do Chinese Travellers Want?

I have a cousin that lives in Shanghai and everyone knows that Chinese people love to travel but I’ve always wondered what the Chinese want when they are out traveling?

The short answer is:

  • Unique genuine places to go and stay.
  • Available Translation in Chinese
  • Modern and with great digital maturity
  • High standard and service
  • Great shopping

Let’s face it. Chinese travelers are now growing in number and sooner than later, their group is expected to dominate the travel industry.

It was revealed that these travelers are spending over $300 billion overseas every single year which makes them a strong force that cannot be simply ignored.

But despite the increased number of outbound travels, their average spending for each trip saw a decrease.

It is not really a big surprise considering the lower value of Yuan combined with travel becoming more and more budget-friendly for the general public.

What do Chinese travelers want, then? Before anything else, you need to ask yourself who you are marketing to and why.

The Chinese travelers originally started with their trips in large groups. However, these demographics moved to more independent travelers as more and more millennials now choose to travel without a tour package.

The independent travelers are those tourists that search for hotels, destinations, and culinary options all by themselves.

To give you a good idea, below are the top things that Chinese travelers want and expect from their overseas travels.

One-of-a-Kind Stay

As a result of the explosive of outbound tourism among the Chinese, airlines, destinations, retailers, and hotels have been working hard to successfully market themselves to these Chinese travelers.

There is a common misunderstanding that overseas Chinese travelers prefer experiences that are “Chinese” as much as possible.

Similar to other travelers of different nationalities, Chinese travelers particularly those traveling in independent or in smaller groups crave an authentic experience.

Most Chinese tourists are now traveling to some exotic locations in the hopes of experiencing local cuisine and culture.

Although the older generation of travelers still chooses to join tour groups, the whole world must be ready to see a larger number of millennials with higher purchasing power who are prepared to experience destinations like true locals.

Available Translation in Chinese

While the majority of Chinese travelers can speak the English language, most of them still find comfort talking using their mother tongue.

You can get an edge if you have a correctly translated version of the booking website of a hotel. It will guarantee that even those smaller independent players can convince travelers to directly book with them.

If you want to get a website translation, you need to hire an expert copywriter that speaks to the disposition of their culture.

It would also help to have a staff member on the site who is a fluent Chinese speaker available during the peak holiday season.

For hotels located in a place where it is impossible to find a native Chinese speaker, it would also be a good idea to have a translation app that the app can use.

It would be much appreciated if the staff can use apps such as Google Translate or Baidu Translate.

Quality Digital Experience

It is not a secret that China is among the world’s most digital economies. It has been reported that the digital economy of China is worth around $3.8 trillion and this still grows bigger by the day.

They were able to surpass the developed Western countries to turn into a mobile-first economy.

A big part of them has sidestepped some payment options such as credit cards to switch to mobile payments with Alipay and WeChat.

When traveling, the Chinese also expect their destination to have the same digital progress as what they are used to. Merchants and hotels in most of the renowned destinations such as Thailand are inviting Chinese travelers through the availability of mobile payment options.

As such, it has become common to spot Alipay available at most Thailand stores, making payments easier for Chinese travelers.

If you wish to get the attention of these Chinese travelers, it is imperative to have a Weibo and WeChat presence.

It would be great for hotels to also have a WeChat online support function for chat just like most of China’s hotels. Chinese don’t really like calling the reception or having a personal conversation as many of them choose to use a chatting platform.

Having a WeChat presence is essential since the Chinese operate in this digital ecosystem. It has its very own payment platform, search engine, games, apps, and group chats, not to mention that it also serves as the heart of their digital life.

Higher Recognition and Service Standards

With Chinese tourists starting to become more independent travelers, they also have changing expectations at the same time.

While it is a recognized fact that Chinese tourists like to have a kettle inside their room because they prefer hot drinks instead of cold ones, this standard has become more expected now.

Hotels can truly stand out from the rest when they provide excellent services, offer an unforgettable experience, and create delightful moments.

Chinese tourists, particularly millennials, look for moments worthy to be shared on their social media that catch their attention and make the trip even more special while generating more publicity for free among their family and friends as one can expect.

Unique Shopping Experience

The last, but definitely not the least, everyone in the world knows just how much shopping means to Chinese travelers.

Maybe this is because of the enticing lure of foreign products that are not readily available and accessible in mainland China. Once these Chinese travelers embark on their overseas trips, they have the tendency to look for and buy luxury labels as well as local souvenirs that they can bring home from their trips.

One of the easiest ways to create more personalized moments for them is to identify some of the best shops in the area and even suggest a few recommendations perfect for the local hunts.

This kind of effort will surely be appreciated not just by the Chinese travelers but even by tourists from other countries of the world.

Another tip when it comes to Chinese travelers (and just about everyone else for that matter) is that they love to feel that they’ve gotten a bargain! In other words, if there is an outlet or an outlet area nearby then you should try to arrange a visit.

There are a lot of fake products being sold in China so if you for an example live in a country where fake products are against the law (and that the police etc cares about it) then most travelers would love to visit an outlet that offers great deals and the knowledge that you get what you pay for.

Indeed, Chinese travelers are just like any other traveler. But as expected, they also have their own unique needs and preferences.

As such, knowing how to cater to them better can make a big difference in their overall travel experience.

Related questions:

What do Chinese tourists buy?

Among Chinese tourist the following products are very popular:

  • Local products that they often use as gifts to friends and family when they return home.
  • Exclusive high-end health products.
  • Quality products that they can’t find and buy in China.
  • Brand clothing.

How much does Chinese tourist spend in the US?

The last figures that I can find information that Chinese tourists spent more than 36 billion dollars in the US during 2018 (source).

How many Chinese tourists visit USA?

In 2018 there was a total of 2,9 million Chinese people that visited the US, and the most popular destinations in the US are New York, Washington DC, Los Angeles, and Hawaii (source).