By THE NATION
Preferring cashless shopping, they use e-wallet on major popular Chinese applications such as Alipay and WeChat Pay. They also live a digital lifestyle, starting from searching for information, making a hotel reservation, using hotel services, and making a payment to sharing their travel experiences on social media. To better serve this segment, Thai hospitality industry should adapt itself by applying innovation to accept digital payment, upgrade service standard, and address language barrier. The customers will then spread the word and as a reault, the industry will attract more customers.
Jason Lee, Marketing Director of Ksher Payment Co Ltd, shared the behaviour of Chinese tourists in the FIT segment and digital marketing guideline, by delivering a speech on the "Strategies for Conquering the China FIT Market" at the "Digital Marketing for Hotel Business: Critical Tactics for 2020" seminar, organised by the Thai Hotels Association. The event welcomed more than 150 hoteliers and marketers in the hospitality industry across the country.
According to the data, the ratio between male and female tourists in FIT segment is quite close, 48 per cent male and 52 per cent female. For the age range, the first rank is those between 25 and 30 years old, accounting for 28 per cent, followed by those younger than 24 years (22 per cent) and between 31 and 35 years old (20 per cent). More than 54 per cent of Chinese tourists have a bachelor's degree. Most tourists, 62 per cent, came from China's 2nd-tier cities such as Chengdu, Chongqing and Hangzhou while tourists from the first-tier cities such as Shanghai, Guangzhou, Beijing and Shenzhen account for only 16 per cent. In terms of spending, those spending 8,000 yuan per head per trip represent 47 per cent while travellers spending 6,000 yuan per head per trip represents 46 per cent. The key factor that triggers their decision to visit Thailand is the country's interesting activities, accounting for 91 per cent of all visitors. In regard to budget, only 73 per cent consider it as top concern.
Lee said: "FIT Chinese tourists have three major trends – Cashless, Paperless and Digitalise. Hoteliers should evolve, they can then adapt themselves to fully meet their needs.
Cashless: 64 per cent of Chinese tourists prefer to pay by e-wallet through popular Chinese applications, both Alipay and WeChat Pay, and more than 40 per cent never carry cash.
Paperless: More than 92 per cent of Chinese tourists use mobile phones and spend more than three hours a day on screen to search for tourist information such as accommodation, mean of transport, tourist attractions, restaurants and shopping areas. They also read reviews on mobile application instead of reading travel books and brochures or asking hotel staff.
Digitalised: Chinese tourists live a fully digital lifestyle, starting from researching, making a reservation, accessing hotel services, making payments, to sharing their travel experiences on social media.
"Hoteliers who want to penetrate the FIT segment should therefore adjust themselves faster. They should start from the most important thing, accepting the payment from e-wallet via popular Chinese applications, both Alipay and WeChat Pay. Moreover, they can apply innovation such as Remote Collection service on Ksher Boss application, which allows hotels to send their information, along with the details of remote payment. The customers can conveniently pay on the WeChat mobile app or pre-authorisation service, which asks the customers to make a deposit by scanning the QR code. When the customers check out, the hotels can check and deduct the actual costs before refunding them the deposit,” said Lee.
"Most Chinese tourists do not ‘speak’ English well, which is a major obstacle to the hotel service. Therefore, Ksher developed an operating system offering service innovation that improves the mode of communication. It connects the mobile apps of Chinese tourists with the hotels’ operating system to ensure easy communication via digital platform, reduce miscommunication, and increase customer satisfaction. The innovations include Smart Hotel Butler service, Mobile Menu and Multi-Language UI. In addition, it can analyse tourist data to further develop strategies and plans," added Lee.
This payment service is free for hospitality and retail businesses interested in using Ksher Payment’s financial transaction solutions to scale up their business with both Chinese and Thai tourists. No application fee is required.