Travel companies must prepare to roll out Red Carpet for Chinese travelers

December 13th, 2011

The #1 global trend listed for 2012 will be companies rolling out special services and accommodations for Chinese visitors, according to trendwatching.com.  In its recent article, titled “12 Crucial Trends for 2012,” it states that “in 2012, department stores, airlines, hotels, theme parks, museums, if not entire cities and nations around the world will roll out the red carpet for the new emperors, showering Chinese visitors and customers with tailored services and perks, and in general, lavish attention and respect.”

Why are companies making this effort to learn how to cater to Chinese travelers?

“Chinese residents made over 30 million overseas trips in the first half of 2011 alone, up 20% since 2010. For comparison, US citizens made only 37 million outbound air travel trips during the whole of 2010.”

In addition to a huge growth of sheer numbers of Chinese traveling abroad, Chinese tend to spend more money while traveling.  According to the Economist, “Chinese people often spend as much as 8% of their annual discretionary income on a single trip.”

Not only should travel providers be looking to customize experiences for Chinese tourists – this could be as simple as making sure that hotel room amenities include slippers and a pot to make tea – but also providing them with experiences that give them “bragging rights” or “face,” according to Hong Kong-based China Elite Focus. For instance, experiences which may not be possible in their own country, like a private tour of an Italian fashion house, wine tasting tours in well known wine regions like Bordeaux, or yachting in the Mediterranean islands.

But as much as Chinese travelers are looking for unique experiences they are also looking for comforts of home.  Many Chinese visitors to my hometown of Toronto are less interested in sampling unique Canadian cuisine as they are in finding a good Chinese restaurant.

But be wary when promoting local activities geared towards Chinese tourists.  While Casinos are  enormously popular, it is illegal to advertise gambling in China.

Resources:

Trendwatching.com 12 Crucial Trends for 2012

Chinese Tourists want Casinos, not Koalas

KPMG Report on China’s Luxury Tourists

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