6 Tips & Tricks to design your products for Chinese tourists
Guest Post by Dr.Berenice Pendzialek, Specialist for Chinese tourists
I’m thrilled to be invited as a writer for the blog series about China ́s outbound tourism.
As mentioned in the first part of our China blog series, Chinese outbound tourism perspectives are positive and we are to see growth of visits to destinations worldwide. With this in mind, many tourism providers are encountered with the following question: How can I prepare my tours and activities for Chinese tourists? If you want to get a piece of the Chinese tourism cake, read the following practical tips that can help you create China-friendly products and make your clients (both Chinese newcomers and experienced travellers) feel welcome.
The tips are presented according to the tourism provider journey, explaining what should be done in terms of product adaptation before being in contact with the tourists, while welcoming them, during and after the tourism experiences. The two first steps are included in part 1 of this blog, and the latter two in the upcoming part 2.
Before the first contact – PREPARE
1. A story behind your product, experience or destination
Chinese tourists love storytelling. When creating content or a script for your upcoming tour, first include what is well-know about your product in general. And parallel to it, do some back research of what is known in China about your product. Are there any relationships between Chinese poems, collective imaginaries, news, Chinese celebrities and your product? Did the scenery of your destination appear in a Chinese movie or maybe it was described in a poem, like Cambridge King´s College willow in Xu Zhimo´s poem? These pieces of information, can make a difference and help Chinese tourists to create a closer relationship with your product, as well as to pay more attention to your explanations during the tour.
2. Design of itineraries
When designing routes/ itineraries, take into consideration that those inexperienced travellers would appreciate to have a small sample of experiences rather than in depth activities. For many Chinese travelling the first time to long-haul destinations, travel means status and prestige, which can be achieved with a “the more, the merrier” approach. However, it is important, to avoid hectic-overambitious itineraries. Moreover, do reserve time for regular bathroom and smoking pauses.
While putting together tours for experienced independent travellers, think “the more extravagant, the better”. Especially young Millennials and white-collar Chinese search for prestige and want to learn from their authentic adventures out of the beaten path. Themed tours like: Ski tours (due to the upcoming Winter Olympics 2022 to be held in Beijing), flower tourism, food tourism and river cruises are picking up momentum.
3. The feeling of getting the best out of something
Chinese travellers, especially those buying online, are keen on spending more time comparing prices and characteristics of a tourism product. Deal hunting is a national sport and for many Chinese tourists, especially those newcomers, prices play a more important role as the experiences per se. If you want to stand out from the crowd, you can offer cheaper add-ons, discounts or free gifts, besides your regular tour price, or opt for a basic product at the most accessible price with several add-ons. Multi-buys (3 for the price of 2) are also a beloved option. Do not forget about seasonal offers and discounts. You can put together campaigns during main festivities like Chinese New Year and National Day (For more on Chinese holidays have a look at Dragon Trail´s article).
Besides pricing, your product can be more attractive when accepting Chinese credit cards or mobile online payments like Alipay or WeChat Pay. With Regiondo you are on the safe side, since you can offer several payment offers including the ones mentioned above.
4. Chinese working style
If you have been to China, you can tell that fast and diligent are two words that describe how everyday life works. This mentality is also expected when buying and receiving tourism services abroad. Therefore, you might want to adopt a Chinese working style. Avoid complicated booking processes and be fast on your responses. Forget about 9-5 pm schedules and be prepared to respond 24-7. Call centres or a customer service WeChat account can work just fine.
1. Importance of Chinese language information
Language barrier is one of the main concerns of Chinese tourists when selecting a tourism product. To avoid misunderstanding, the safest bet is to have Chinese speaking staff. If not possible, make the effort to have some Chinese brochures or travel guides. Especially, when dealing with quite historical and abstract explanations, a good Chinese translation (not Google translate!) can help to accurately communicate your message. Moreover, if your program is conducted in English, you might want to learn some Chinese words just to break the ice. (Chinavia offers a signage database and other advice in this regard)
While providing Chinese language materials, it does not mean that Chinese travellers do not speak other languages, it is about giving face and acknowledge the importance of Chinese travellers in the international tourism scene.
2. Basic amenities
When having Chinese tourists arriving at your attractions/ meeting point offer them hot water. If dealing with small groups you can serve everyone directly, otherwise place a water dispenser. Many Chinese carry their personal thermos when travelling and would use the opportunity to refill. A step beyond would be to offer a small selection of good Chinese tea (loose not in tea blags). Green, black, flower or oolong are popular Chinese teas. Another welcoming idea is to taste small treats of local products while waiting for the tour to start.