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How to reach Chinese tourists? Facebook – No, WeChat – Yes!

If you want to reach Chinese travelers to market your products and services, Facebook is not the right place. The main services of Facebook, Google and Twitter remain blocked in China, as authorities continue to tighten their grip over people’s access to information.

WeChat is the most influential social media app in China, in order to reach and engage with Chinese consumers and ultimately drive sales. GlobalData’s report “WeChat Mini-programs”, offers an insight into how tourist businesses can capitalize on the new mini-programs launched by WeChat.

China is the largest outbound market in the world with 145.2 million Chinese traveling abroad in 2017. Outbound tourist flows from China are expected to increase rapidly within the coming years, fueling a rapid growth in tourist spending too. The colossal Chinese market gives rise to a host of business opportunities for tourist players around the world.

china intl departuresHowever, given substantial cultural and language differences, coupled with the idiosyncrasies that characterize the Chinese market it is often challenging for Western businesses to create marketing campaigns.

WeChat’s new mini-programs WeChat allow Western tourism players to reach Chinese consumers and engage with them in a more effective manner.

China’s growing middle class, along with the easing of visa restrictions around the world and more air connections are driving the outbound tourism boom. By 2021, China will remain by fat the first largest outbound market, with 61.2 million more outbound tourists than the US.

The growing willingness of Chinese to explore the world gives rise to a host of business opportunities for global tourist players. However, cultural and language differences often pose challenges to Western businesses while formulating marketing campaigns to target Chinese consumers.

Konstantina Boutsioukou, Associate Analyst for Travel and Tourism at GlobalData, says: “WeChat, with almost one billion active monthly users, has become embedded into the daily interactions and activities of Chinese people. Global tourism players must capitalize on the new features of WeChat to raise brand awareness and ultimately drive sales.”

WeChat Pay is the mobile payment unit of the social app. Of the 980 million WeChat users, it is estimated that 800 million are actively using WeChat Pay. Besides domestic payments, WeChat Pay can be used across 25 countries and it handles transactions in 13 currencies. A growing number of businesses and shops globally are considering signing up to WeChat Pay, to target high-spending Chinese tourists.

Boutsioukou concludes: “Though WeChat is a very promising channel to reach out to Chinese consumers, tourism boards must seek to form partnerships with Chinese travel agencies and ensure that they develop a detailed strategy, tailoring the content they publish to the preferences of the Chinese public.”

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