By The Nation
For Chinese visitors, key reasons for feeling welcomed in Thailand is due to the widespread acceptance of Chinese mobile wallets (64 per cent), sufficient translations/signage (41 per cent), and ease of information (40 per cent).
The survey conducted by Hotels.com showed that the new generation of Chinese travellers’ needs and preferences have changed.
Tour groups have grown to be outdated as Chinese travellers are growing to enjoy independent travel in Thailand.
They are more likely to travel on a free-and-easy basis, thanks to Thailand’s local delicacies, ease of visa application, quality of accommodation, and shopping paradise that greatly attracted Chinese travelers.
Thailand is still one of the destinations where they prefer to travel; with its famous local craft and products that Chinese travelers could shop (56 per cent) as well as number of unique and remarkable places to visit - such the Royal Palace is the number one landmark for Chinese visitors.
With a 12-per cent increase from 2017, Chinese travelers are important for Thailand tourism industry. A better understanding of evolving Chinese travelers’ need should put Thailand tourism industry on the pulse of the country’s biggest group of customers. Thailand tourism industry should maximize the benefits of understanding the changing taste of Chinese travelers, according to Hotels.com’s statement.
According to the research from Hotels.com, new and distant locations are on the agenda for Chinese travelers. While more than one third (37 per cent) of travelers still intend to visit countries they have been to before, they will go to different cities. Key locations in Asia are top of the list for these travelers such as Singapore, Japan and South Korea.
Chinese millennials born after 1990 are pushing the boundaries of international travel, increasing their travel expenditure in the past year by a staggering 80 per cent to fund social media-influenced trips full of edgy experiences, high tech accommodation, exotic delicacies and taboo ticket-items.
Keen to get down with authentic experiences, Chinese travelers are putting their money where their mouth is when it comes to spending choice – tasting exotic local delicacies (69 per cent) and scouring the streets for authentic local items (43 per cent) over shopping for luxury items (38 per cent).
Star-struck by global pop-culture, film and television (62 per cent) are now the main sources of inspiration for Chinese millennial travelers, playing a key role in attracting them away from Asian destinations, and to more far flung parts of the world for their thrills and frills.
Long-haul destinations will be this year’s trend for Chinese travelers. While Asia continues to be a popular destination, with 49 per cent planning to travel to Asian destinations during the next 12 months, far-flung destinations in Europe, Africa and the Middle East are the top new destinations for more than half of travelers for future travel.
Government and hoteliers can fill in the gap to improve any other important factors that Chinese travelers are looking for such as; advancement of QR code scan via WeChat, improvement of accommodation facilities; local transport arrangements, high speed Wi-Fi and customer services, and reservation methods for local experiences and activities. Those are key considerations that Chinese travelers expect when they are travelling to other countries.
Travel brag moments and selfies were a huge part of the Chinese millennial travel experience in 2017, with 65 per cent using the reverse camera angle to boost those likes and build their social brand. More than half (56 per cent) of travelers said they used selfies to express feelings. Social media (52 per cent) and video sharing (51 per cent) are also important to all age groups when deciding where to travel.
Nelson Allen, General Manager, Asia Pacific of the Hotels.com brand, comments: “While millennials were at the helm of social media influence and trends, the report found no generation was free from social networking’s undeniable draw.
“52 per cent of Chinese travelers overall were wooed by the power of the news feed, and a third of the older generation reported their travel decisions and behavior were influenced by their digitally-connected children”.
Johan Svanstrom, President of the Hotels.com brand, comments: “Every globe-trotter likes to feel welcome in a new country – it’s no secret we all crave human connection which is especially true when we’re in a new environment. We know from the CITM report Chinese travelers feel comfortable and most welcome in destinations when shop assistants speak Mandarin, Chinese mobile wallet is accepted, and there is signage they can understand.