As the world's most sought-after market, 1.8 million Chinese travelers visited the U.S. in 2013 and spent a record $21 billion, which was second only to Canada. However, in 2015 the number of visitors originating from China is projected to skyrocket to a staggering 4.9 million!
Independent hoteliers stand to make a hefty penny on the influx of Chinese millennial travelers and can no longer afford to ignore this segment.
Continue reading to learn three of the essential steps for attracting lucrative Chinese millennial travelers.
Step 1 - Can You Find Me Now?
The first step to attracting Chinese millennials is for the independent hotel to gain prime positioning on social media outlets. While social media may not be the instinctual choice, consider:
- 87% of people under the age of 34 checked Facebook for advice before making reservations and;
- 80% of travelers are more inclined to book a trip because a friend liked the page, instead of responding to a Facebook ad;
- 52% of Facebook users' travel plans were inspired or influenced by their friend's posts.
Independent hotels can use the following three tips to gain prime position for Chinese millennial travelers:
- The hotel should be listed in travel language guides because Chinese millennial travelers use these tools to plan trips and get around the city.
- Since Ctrip is the most popular Chinese distribution channel (OTA), independent hotels should undoubtedly be connected to Ctrip through their PMS and channel manager.
- In addition to Ctrip, it's important for independent hoteliers to maintain and develop an effective online distribution strategy regarding the more traditional online channels. Indeed, tourists are savvy and many will use channels that are popular where you are, such as Booking.com and TripAdvisor.
Step 2 - Make the First Impression the Best Impression
Once you actually get the Chinese millennial travelers to your independent hotel, it's vital to convert them into raving fans by providing stellar service. In lieu of word of mouth recommendations, Chinese travelers rely on the experience of fellow travelers who create reviews about their stay.
As a result, independent hotels must effectively leverage Facebook and other hotel review sites like TripAdvisor to their advantage.
A few tips to influence hotel reviews in a positive way are listed below:
- Home Connection. When Chinese millennials are in your independent hotel, offering Chinese TV channels and programs will help them feel right at home.
- The Key to the Heart is the Stomach. Offer your Chinese millennial guests a selection of Chinese menu options, like noodles or rice complemented by small amounts of fish, meat, or vegetables.
- Give Them What they Want. Since you know Chinese travelers will be interested in shopping tours and will possibly need language services, offer these services at the hotel to make it easier for them.
Step 3 - Lock in the Reservation
After Chinese millennial travelers have been attracted to the hotel website and their trust has been won thanks to favorable reviews, the final step is to close the deal and lock them in.
It's imperative to allow guests to instantly book online, whether through a booking engine on the hotel website or through an OTA.
Independent hotels should make sure their booking option accommodates Chinese millennials by:
- Converting room information, rates, and everything else into Mandarin (Cantonese is a plus)
- Providing rates in Yuan currency
By using the previous information, you will be able to effectively attract Chinese millennials into your hotel, balance your geographic mix, thus protecting your hotel from changes in your traditional target markets and secure your revenue stream from China and its exponential growth in travel spending.
If you have additional advice or educating experience you would like to share with independent hoteliers on this topic, please write a comment below.