15 July 2015
By Julia Panfilo, Trade Marketing Manager, Christchurch & Canterbury Tourism
Jie Li, one of our talented China Trade Team has recently returned from a visit to China, attending a series of sales calls in Chengdu, and larger trade events like Kia Ora South in Beijing and Guangzhou. After a positive and successful trip, we thought we’d share some of his key learnings about the China Market:
1. The ‘FIT’ is an ever increasing trend in China. This means great opportunities for products and destinations that are new to this market. Day-trip tour options are an ideal way to cater for this as traditional established itineraries become less popular.
2. Seasonality and regionality are being encouraged. This is to alleviate the shortage of hotel accommodation over the summer period, but we should also gather and share information on unique accommodation, farm stays and B&Bs etc. However… (next point)
3. Cost to travel to and around NZ is seen as expensive. This is regardless of the season, and can explain why tourists mainly come in what they consider to be the best season (summer) as it may be their once in a lifetime kiwi experience. Many international destinations offer substantially lower prices in low seasons which is something to consider.
4. Educational tours are very important. This is a great market to capture during the two-month-long summer holiday (July and August, which is NZ’s low season) for students, who traditionally travel to other destinations such as Japan and North America during these months.
Agents who attended the recent Top of the South famils and training have more confidence to sell the product and destination as a whole."
5. Length of stay over one week is outpacing the growth of shorter holidays. Chinese tourists who stay for 8-14 days has increased by 25% YE May 2016 compared to 23% YE May 2015. The rate of those stay for 1-4 days has decreased.
6. Work with Chinese Online Travel Agents to enrich the contents of online listings. Many RTO’s and individual operators are adding more detailed product information including short videos to increase the booking conversion.
7. User Generated Content leads to more sales in China. Online content by key opinion leaders and work-holiday visa holders make a great difference in influencing Chinese tourists' decision making.
8. Trade famils and training really does work. Those agents who attended the recent Top of the South famils and training have more confidence to sell the product and destination as a whole.