Hilton Hotels and Resorts recently sponsored a research study by University of London on how the rise of Chinese tourists will change the European travel industry. It provides a solid look at the rise of Chinese tourism as well as some tactical recommendations to brands on how to attract, serve and retain these emerging consumers.
It’s also a great PR move by Hilton and demonstrates their forward thinking position in serving Chinese tourists around the world. Hilton recently launched their ‘Hilton Huanying’ program where they offer special services and amenities for Chinese travelers such as Mandarin service, in room slippers, in room tea and hot water and Chinese food choices at participating Hilton hotels. http://bit.ly/nX9a7Q
The report provided great statistics on the Chinese tourist in Europe. A few favorites:
- There were 57 million Chinese outbound tourists in 2010 (a 20% increase from 2009) — overtaking Japan as Asia’s largest source of outbound travelers.
- Chinese outbound tourists spent 35 billion Euros (up 14% from previous year). This is expected to grow 14.6% in 2011.
- Chinese shoppers spent 230 million Euros on Bond Street alone — an increase of 155% from 2009, spending an average of 696 euros per store visit.
- 30% of Burberry’s UK sales were from Chinese tourists (30%!!)
The report also provided some recommendations for brands to capture this growing consumer base. A few key takeaways:
- Digital is King. China’s luxury consumer is significantly younger than in other markets, and relies heavily on digital resources (including social media) to make their travel and purchase decisions. Brands need to take this seriously and adapt their digital and social media strategy to China’s highly unique landscape.
- Show face, speak Chinese. While Mandarin speaking employees are critical for some luxury consumers, having Mandarin speakers and information in Chinese goes further than just bridging the language barrier — its also a sign of respect to your Chinese customers and will go a long way in welcoming them to your place of business.
- Dig Deeper, understand the consumer. Just speaking Mandarin isn’t enough to fully realize your brand’s potential with Chinese consumers — dig deeper and understand the consumer and their unique preferences so that your brand can go the extra mile in pleasing them. They will reward you for your effort.
Read the whole blue paper here. hiltonsoasbluepaperenglish