New figures released by the Expedia group, the world’s largest travel company, reveals that demand from Chinese travellers visiting New Zealand rose by more than 40% in the first half of 2016, compared to the same period in 2015, with significant growth in mobile demand.
Teresa Matheson, Director of Market Management at Expedia New Zealand, said the continued sustained growth in the number bookings of Chinese international travellers presents huge opportunities for New Zealand hoteliers.
“Our group data shows mobile demand by Chinese travellers to New Zealand increased by over 35% in 1H 2016 compared to same period last year. In addition, booking windows on mobile were relatively healthy. We therefore urge our partners to ensure mobile is key to their distribution strategy and, through Expedia Partner Central, New Zealand hoteliers can create specific mobile deals targeted to the tech-savvy Chinese travellers,” she said.
China represents one of the fastest-growing international inbound markets for New Zealand. They are highly valuable for hoteliers for the following reasons:
- Chinese travellers pay one of the highest prices for their stays. The Average Daily Room rate is over a quarter more than that paid by domestic travellers (26%)
- Their booking window is nearly 2.1 times longer than that of the average domestic tourist
- Chinese travellers are more inclined to stay at luxury properties. Almost 70% stayed in 4-5 star hotels compared with just under 60% of domestic travellers
- Chinese travellers fill rooms evenly across every day of the week whereas over half of domestic New Zealand travellers tend to book rooms just for the weekend.
To help hoteliers capture more of the Chinese traveller market, Expedia offers the following tips:
1. Think mobile
According to the 2016 Chinese International Travel Monitor, produced by the Expedia group travel brand Hotels.com, 62% of Chinese travellers used a smartphone to book travel, up 10% on 2015.
Through Expedia Partner Central, New Zealand hoteliers can create Members Only Deals to highlight their offers to target more Chinese travellers. Hotels which participate in Members Only Deals will be featured to Expedia mobile app users and email subscribers, giving added exposure and greater visibility.
2. Know your audience
Chinese tourists often make particular requests in order to raise their comfort levels. The 2016 CITM report revealed 25% of Chinese travellers wanted hotels catered specifically for their needs, such as having Mandarin speaking staff and Chinese restaurants on site, UnionPay services or Chinese TV programs.
While safety, comfort, star rating, facilities and price are still top of the list of important factors, they dropped each five percent on the previous year.
Hoteliers that offer value-adds are encouraged to highlight additional offerings on the hotel content page through Expedia Partner Central. By doing so, these hotels gain a competitive edge in highlighting the best experiences available to Chinese travellers.
Some frequent requests Expedia has noted include:
- Use of UnionPay, which is by far the most preferred means of payment, listed by 66% of Chinese respondents in the latest CITM report
- WiFi access, which is the top-ranked hotel facility in the 2016 CITM report (23%) and the first time it’s been in the top spot, followed by in-house restaurants (21%)
- Mandarin-speaking staff
- Chinese signage and language assistance
- Advice regarding nearby precincts for luxury shopping or food and wine, and/or providing subsidised transport to these areas
- Hot drinking water
3. Plan strategic promotions
Chinese travellers are always on the go, but periods around Chinese public holidays tend to be particularly busy.
During events like the Mid-Autumn Festival (15-17 September), National Day (1-7 October) and Single’s Day (11 November), hoteliers can maximise demand by providing promotions and deals around certain busy periods. Early-bird and last-minute promotions are both likely to drive increased demand around these periods.
“We help hoteliers gain access to diverse travellers through our portfolio of travel brands comprising 200+ booking sites that generates 450+ million monthly site visits, crossing 35 languages in over 75 countries.” said Ms Matheson.