Australia welcomed more than one million Chinese visitors for the first time in a 12 month period. Attracting Chinese Inbound visitors presents fantastic opportunities along with significant challenges. Australian tourism businesses which understand and are willing to adapt to the needs of Chinese visitors would derive the biggest benefits.

Why tourism providers should be "China Ready"?

  1. Chinese expenditure grew to A$8.3 billion in 2015, up from A$5.7 billion in 2014.
  2. Chinese Visiting Friends and Relatives expenditure also broke above the $1 billion mark in 2015.
  3. Chinese students continue to flock to Australia with  136,097 students last year – up 13.3 per cent on the previous year.
  4. For the 2016 Lunar New Year 255,000 Chinese tourists will holiday in Australia and spend on average $5800 on food, accommodation and transport, and $2200 on shopping.
  5. Hong Kong remained Australia’s 10th largest inbound market based on visitor arrivals and was the 8th largest market when ranked on total visitor expenditure in 2015.
  6. In January 2015 the Chinese and Australian governments expanded their Air Service Agreement to allow more flights between the two countries.

How to tailor your offerings for the Chinese visitor?

  1. Update your website to be mobile friendly. In February 2015, about 1.29 billion mobile users had been registered in China ( equivalent to the sum of users in all European countries combined). Chinese travellers research and book their holidays on smartphones.
  2. Check that your website is not blocked by the Great Firewall of China.
  3. Submit your site to be indexed by Baidu. Baidu is NOT Google so you have to optimize your website for Baidu.
  4. Make a Chinese version of your website. The primary language of your website should be “Simplified Chinese - hanyu- pinyin”.
  5. Accept payments with UnionPay, Alipay, Tenpay, WeChat or bank transfer.
  6. Offer currency conversion tools or also display price in Chinese Yuan Renminbi.
  7. Sign up with chinese social networks like Weibo, Wechat or Tuniu since 99% of Chinese Internet users are registered on a social media site. They are also the world's most active social media population.
  8. Hire Chinese speaking staff. Sydney Bridgeclimb began a Mandarin-speaking tour in 2013 and bookings had increased 50 per cent.
  9. Offer cultural training for staff
  10. Display signs in Mandarin
  11. Create brochures for Chinese visitors
  12. Place ads in local chinese newspapers
  13. Establish partnerships with local Chinese travel agencies
  14. Accommodation providers can:
    1. Get into CTrip's “Chinese Preferred Hotel” (CPH) programme - Conversion rates for CPH properties compared with the non-vetted hotels are 15% higher.
    2. Offer in-room free Wi-Fi and in-room electric kettle.
    3. Offer chinese snacks mini-bar additions like green tea and dry noodles.
    4. Provide two more pairs of slippers as is customary back home. One pair each for the bathroom, bedroom and living room.
    5. Keep a list of restaurants that offer Chinese breakfast.
    6. Chinese visitors love shoppping and bargains. Offer free pickup drop off from popular shopping centers.
    7. Over 92% of Chinese tourists prefer to stay in hotels that provide Chinese Language Television Programs. 

Case Studies:

  1. Hilton's Haunting program (roughly means “welcome” in Mandarin) program provides added amenities for Chinese travelers at 110 Hilton properties in 30 countries worldwide. Bookings for rooms with Huanying amenities grew 15.3% in 2014 over the previous year.

    Hilton pushes out Huanying messaging on WeChat, and it has partnered with Chinese celebrities and brands on Weibo to drive exposure around the program. There’s also a dedicated Hilton Worldwide Chinese website produced in Mandarin.

  2. How David Jones and Myers geared up for the $500m Chinese Lunar New Year spending spree