As the world’s fastest growing major economy, China presents a large potential market to the leisure and tourism industry in the UK.
With travel proving to be the most popular hobby of the affluent Chinese, now is the time to consider what more we could be doing to attract this growing market.
In 2011, 150,000 Chinese visitors arrived in the UK, spending £240 million in the process. (Visit Britain)
But what makes the Chinese market the one to aim for?
With visa policies becoming more relaxed, an increase in disposable income and a stronger currency; the next two years will see the number of Chinese travelling internationally increase by 22% (L2ThinkTank). This means that by 2015 it’s predicted that 100 million Chinese will travel abroad, and with Europe topping the charts for the most popular destinations, it provides the UK with a significant opportunity.
So what are the target markets we should be considering?
In 2012 there were approximately 1.02 million Chinese millionaires, a 6% increase on 2011. (Hurun Institute) With travel proving to be the most common leisure activity amongst this target group, it’s not an audience we can afford to ignore.
Chinese millionaires spend an average $227,000 annually on tourism, accounting for 25% of their expenditures. (L2ThinkTank)
The Chinese middle class
This group accounted for around 300 million people in 2012. (Boston Consulting Group) Currently thought to favour the U.S, in particular L.A, the UK should take note of the efforts being made to attract these valuable visitors now that Europe is topping the charts as their most popular destination.
Mandarin translators and easy access to Chinese payment methods are just a couple of the new services provided to Chinese visitors arriving at the upscale Los Angeles Mall Beverley Centre. (Jing Daily)
So what are the main points to consider when targeting the Chinese tourist market?
By creating micro versions of your site, which have been translated into the most commonly used dialects; such as simplified Chinese for Mainland China and traditional Chinese for Hong Kong, you will open your website up to a far greater audience.
The homepage – It is important to include all the ‘major’ information on this page. For example, it could include information on what your company does, the services you provide, examples of your current clients and the awards and accreditations your business has achieved. Remember; don’t rely on readers to explore the complete site in order to find the most important details they are interested in.
Social Media – Not all the social media sites that we favour in the UK will be applicable to the Chinese market; sites such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube are currently banned in Mainland China, whilst in Hong Kong they are freely used; so take time to decide what will be included on each of your micro sites.
When targeting the Chinese tourist market, Google is not the only search engine to consider. SEO and other search efforts should also be tailored for the likes of Baidu and SO.com, which are commonly used, in order to drive as much traffic to your site as possible.
With the Chinese tourist market fast becoming a major target in the leisure and tourism industry in Europe, now is the time to focus our efforts on attracting these valuable visitors, using the most effective digital marketing tools available.