Chinese tourists have changed a lot in recent years. With the growth of the middle-class class – and therefore access to greater power-spending – they have gone from organized group trips to a more sophisticated type of travel. Today, research is about authentic experiences in less mainstream places.
And which country is more suitable than Italy for those looking for this kind of tourism?
2020 will be the year of tourism from China to Italy. As reported by ENIT in May, with over 3 million arrivals and 5 million presences, Italy is the preferred destination for Chinese travelers, thus overtaking France, Germany and Spain.
In 2018, Chinese tourists spent double the amount of American tourists abroad with a total of 115.290 billion dollars. Furthermore, as reported by the China Tourist Academy (CTA), the per capita expenditure is about 800 dollars and the number of travelers has expanded in consideration of the fact that the population holding the passport has exceeded 10%.
We have already talked about how much WeChat can support in the search and selection of Chinese tourists at your facilities.
Still, what will make you really attractive in the eyes of a Chinese tourist? What could motivate them to suggest your structure on social media, to friends and acquaintances, generating a profitable flow of word of mouth?
Here you find our 10 tips to make your structure attractive for our oriental friends.
1. Research your customers in advance.
The average Chinese tourist plans the trip to Europe almost 3 months in advance, with 38% of travelers looking for potential destinations on social media. To be visible to this audience, you must be present on WeChat and Weibo. You can contact potential customers directly through your account or using accounts dedicated to tourism or belonging to travel agencies. We recommend publishing many videos on the activities that can be carried out at your facilities and using KOL and travel agencies to make this content accessible to a wider audience.
2. Make your guests feel at home.
Only 10% of Chinese people are able to speak English. Having native Chinese staff dedicated to guests is always a good idea if China is your target country. In any case, it is useful to learn some key phrases in Mandarin to understand frequent requests or to use social customer care systems on WeChat platforms.
3. Make the experience of your customers easy.
There are different ways of making the structure “China-firendly” from having a menu in Chinese, indications for guests in the mother tongue, QR codes connected to information on the structure containing the activities that can be carried out.
4. Know your guests’ eating habits.
The Chinese tend to have dinner very early – between 5.30pm and 7.30pm – and they usually share several dishes all together.
It is not unusual that you are asked to bring appetizers, first and main dish, all at the same time. Among the most popular dishes we find risotto, spaghetti, oysters and seafood including lobster, crab and other crustaceans. They tend to prefer hot dishes to cold dishes, or at least to balance the “temperature” of the dishes. Finally, a good review in Chinese social media is one of the best ways to attract tourists to your restaurant.
5. Facilitate payments.
Chinese do not use western credit cards and do not want to bring large amounts of cash, in fact payments in China are made almost exclusively via smartphone. Payments can be accepted through WeChat Pay and Alipay. These smart payment platforms are widely used in China and allow travelers to pay in their own currency and you to receive money in your bank account. All this will make your structure more attractive, but above all it will facilitate the decision-making process of spending when it comes to buy something.
6. Millennials are your target group.
Travelers between 25 and 35 are your target. This type of tourists is very confident and tends to book their trips independently, based on social media reviews and going beyond mass tourism in the search for local experiences.
Be present in the Chinese digital world, remember that Google, your site and most western social media are not available in China.
7. Stay connected with your customers.
Make WiFi available as much as possible so that your Chinese visitors can share their experiences in real time on social media – and thus advertise for you.
Be sure to monitor their comments and reviews, it is your ID in the eyes of the Chinese traveler and they will allow you to know exactly what to improve in your services.
8. Small benefits for great results.
Some details can make a difference for a Chinese traveler, such as the presence of a kettle in the room. The Chinese drink lots of hot water and not just to prepare infusions. According to ancient Chinese medicine, drinking a glass of hot water in the morning helps kick-start the digestive system. In addition, hot water drunk throughout the day helps blood flow.
Hotel toiletries are also a must, even the smallest hotel supplies them in China.
9. Don’t forget Chinese culture.
Some precautions can prevent you from looking unwelcoming:
- Number 4 in China has meaning of bad luck, try to avoid giving your guests tables or rooms with this number.
- Chinese society is quite hierarchical, the oldest being generally the decision maker. Talk to them first.
- Physical contact is not welcome, try to limit the greeting to the handshake.
- Give business cards or gifts with both hands.
10. Don’t forget the Chinese who are already in Italy.
We often forget that many Chinese people are in our country to study or work. This type of audience has access to Chinese and Western social media, and is extremely curious about the country in which they are located. Addressing your promotional campaigns to these tourists will allow you to expand your customer base.