As Chinese outbound tourists travel more frequently and to locations outside of their comfort zone, competition to market to them can be quite the battle for French brands looking to be seen. These travelers are taking advantage of the luxury to research destinations on their own, and make travel plans around the experiences they discover from social media apps like Mafengwo.
And yet the number of destinations that appeal and the amount of Chinese travelers that venture still have a lot of room for growth. That means there’s great opportunities for French businesses to attract even more Chinese tourists, making travel marketing more important than ever to execute a cohesive brand awareness strategy from the start. Here are some must-use marketing tips local French businesses need to consider for attracting and retaining Chinese tourists.
Top 5 tips to attract Chinese tourists to French businesses
1. Social media is always key
If you don’t do anything else for attracting Chinese tourists, then super charging your social media marketing would be the number 1 strategy to utilize. Any Chinese social media is powerful for marketing, but it’s important to make sure to pick the platforms that identify with your brand voice. Platforms like WeChat, Weibo and Mafengwo can all be great for having your content and posts go viral when it comes to tourism marketing.
Many brands come up short by only creating accounts and posting about their product or services. It’s vital to go a few steps further by interacting with your customers through comments and posts, and offering rewards or group discounts. Chinese consumers value personalized services and it makes a lasting impression on them regarding your brand.
2. Take advantage of online travel agencies
Online travel agencies (OTA) can be quite expensive for smaller companies with low budgets. Some of the top agencies include, Fliggy, Ctrip, Qunar and ma eLong. A lot of well-known tour services take up ad space, making it even harder for smaller brands to showcase what they have to offer. If you have the budget, it is worth getting an ad with one of these agencies or at least listing your service on their online booking features.
These types of agencies are still used by older Chinese tourists and low income travelers. Older travelers tend to not speak English and will most likely need a tour guide. They also prefer to travel in groups due to fear of adventure or to utilize the cheaper price of group travel.
3. Use Chinese traveler forums
Chinese tourists are steadily becoming independent and can be categorized by income and location. They often use travel platforms and forums to find out everything they need to know about a travel destination. Mafengwo, TuNiu and DaoDao (Chinese version of TripAdvisor) are some of the most popular travel-based forums in China. These forums can be great for doing research and understanding what Chinese travelers are looking for during their travel adventures. All of these forums are in Chinese, but you can take advantage of Google translate or partner with a digital agency to help with all your marketing needs.
4. Partner with KOLs to attract Chinese tourists
Key Opinion Leaders (KOLs) provide their opinions on points of views, judgments and attitudes toward a product or brand. They reach their target audience through social media and can be used to jumpstart the success of your local business for attracting Chinese tourists. KOLs are well respected and can have a large influence when it comes to travel destinations. By providing more authentic content, KOLs can effectively raise brand awareness and drive sales.
5. Localize for the Chinese tourists
Chinese tourism abroad is only about two decades old. As disposable incomes continue to increase, Chinese travelers become savvier and expect their individual needs to be met. It’s important to implement in depth research to debunk and not waste marketing localization on Chinese myths. For example, some of the most popular searches from Chinese travelers include family fun, exploration, outdoor sports and food. You also don’t have to go as far as localizing your entire website in Chinese, but localizing some content can lead to attracting Chinese tourists. Things like creating a FAQ section in Mandarin or accepting Chinese forms of payments can be very beneficial for your localization process.
Other essential tips to consider
- Chinese tourists value businesses that localize their products and services. It’s essential to make payment methods such as Alipay and WeChat available to Chinese travelers.
- Take advantage of Chinese citizens that are already in France such as university students. Make connections with the Chinese student society to help promote your brand and open the door to the China market at a very low cost.
- Take note of Chinese holidays considering that they are not the same as Western countries. Chinese New Year and National Day are important holidays to consider. They are very popular times for Chinese tourists to travel and you should have promotional material specifically for these types of holidays.
- Use QR codes to stay connected with your customers and open up a gateway for them to gain additional information about your product or service. You can gain a ton of customer data from using WeChat QR codes.
Any of these tips can be used to attract Chinese tourists and make their overall interaction with your business more enjoyable. Even small things like having a Chinese menu or creating brochures in Chinese can lead to very good reviews about your business. Chinese travelers will continue to travel more frequently and more citizens will be intrigued to see what France has to offer.