Travel branding in China

Travel branding remains a global phenomenon for promoting a positive image of countries or places in the process of globalization. Travel branding in China is based on a rational approach to the development of territories.

Potential of traveling branding in China

Data Source: chyxxx, Number of Chinese outbound trips

Travel branding in China has a substantial potential. China has the largest number of outbound tourists in the world, 155 million. In addition, China’s global share of outbound travel, which was only 1% in 2005, will account for one-fifth of world travel by 2023. This is closely related to the social changes that the country has experienced over the past decade.

Chinese tourists are now a gold mine for many travel companies. Chinese tourists often travel overseas to popular travel destinations such as Canada, France, USA, UK, South Korea, and Japan. Other destinations include Thailand, Cambodia, the Philippines, Morocco and Vietnam. The new trend is that group travel is declining in favor of individual travel as Chinese tourists seek more adventure and unique experiences.

Source: Press reports; McKinsey Global Institute; Pengpai News, popular outbound countries

Features of travel branding in China

Generally, Chinese tourists do not book flights or hotels on any platform. Therefore, it is important to gain access to the Chinese market by placing ads on platforms such as Xiaohongshu, Douyin and Weibo. For example, Baidu offers a wide range of advertising opportunities for businesses. However, advertising on Baidu requires a lot of information in order to comply with the regulations of the Chinese government.

Data Source: daxue consulting, platforms where Chinese travelers share travel content

One of the best ways to find out what the Chinese are really looking for is to visit the Chinese travel forums. TuNiu is currently the most popular of these travel discussion forums. Even a little information can be helpful as Chinese tourists are very difficult. This is why electronic platforms are essential for branding travel in China. It is important to translate your website content into Chinese. Website content, promotions and articles must be tailored to the target audience. Chinese tourists don’t necessarily enjoy the same things as Western tourists.

One of the most important aspects of social media marketing is that you can interact with other Chinese users. By responding to user comments and messages, you can build strong relationships with potential customers.

Source: daxue consulting, digital marketing channels for tourism promotion

The main online travel agencies in China are CTrip, eLong and Qunar. The two biggest competitors in recent years are Qunar and Ctrip. Advertising space on these websites is limited, and large hotels and travel services make it difficult for small businesses to access them.

How to create travelling branding strategy in China

The initial stage of the travel branding in China is to create differentiation strategy. Market research involves the following areas: geographical location; competition; the presence of a developed infrastructure.

The research results allow Doxaganda team to determine the most promising strategy for creating a successful branding in China.

An essential stage in the developing a strategy is the study of the main competitors who own the largest market share and are the most dynamically developing their activities in this market. Doxaganda team also will research characteristics of the most popular services offered by competitors, their activities to create a positive reputation and image.

When developing a travelling branding strategy in China our specialists strive to create a set of visual signs, ideally, they carry a semantic load (symbol, color, slogan, pictures, etc.) and allow you to establish a connection between your travel brand and customers.

The branding product creates in the imagination of consumers a lot of associations (images) that are unique for each person. It is common for people to attribute human and personal characteristics to the things that surround them. That is why building the creation of right brand character in China is very important.

It is important to consider holidays for travel branding in China  

The Chinese do not have the same vacation periods as in the West. China has several major holidays throughout the year. Although there are many long weekends throughout the year, there are two main vacation periods:

The first is the Chinese New Year. During the Chinese New Year, most people in China go home to celebrate with their families, but more and more choose to travel.

The second holiday is a national holiday when tourists prefer to go abroad.

KOLs for travel branding in China

Using KOL is a powerful marketing tool in China. Many KOLs have thousands of followers on Chinese social media. They will share your messages with their fans and write articles about your travel brand.

Customers loyalty is crucial for travel branding in China

Of the entire range of tasks facing a travel brand in China, one of the most important is being different from others, the achievement of competitive advantages. Research and practical experience show that now a successful travel company must have a travel brand strategy aimed at building customer loyalty.

For that, you have to emphasize that you are not trying to sell the “most expensive” tour but that you are taking care of the quality of your client’s vacation. You must be sure that the tour that you have selected is the best one for a particular client. Therefore, do not spare time for monitoring – you must be 100% sure of what you offer – only then the client will believe you and turn into a regular customer.

Affiliate sales are a good way to attract customers – look for nearby places or points of sale, where your target audience can be. Coupons for discounts, flyers, certificates or even just booklets will also have a long-term effect.

Moreover, you should always be interested in how the client’s vacation went on his return from the trip. It is also very useful to remind of yourself at least once a month through mailing lists, SMS-mailing, phone calls or mail (in the form of a certificate for a discount). There can be a huge variety of reasons to remind of yourself.

The impact of COVID-19 on travel branding in China

Data Source: Tai Media APP, Sina Finance, number of Chinese domestic trips in 2020

The damage to China’s tourism industry due to the outbreak is equivalent to the loss of 1 trillion yuan of GDP.  Chinese tourists are contributing to the tourism industry in many countries. For example, in 2018, Chinese tourists represent over 70% of total tourism in Hong Kong and Macau, similar to over 25% of total tourism in Thailand, Japan, Vietnam and Korea. The impact on these economies will be catastrophic if the coronavirus outbreak lasts three to six months.

During the COVID-19 outbreak, many scenic sites and museums used live coverage to increase exposure and attract tourists, which attracted many visitors. Even after the outbreak, the live stream can still be watched by the elderly and people with disabilities, and can also be used as a preview before traveling.

How Doxaganda will help you with travel branding in China

Doxaganda can help you to go through the process of creation of brand strategy for your travel brand. It includes the analysis of competitors, finding the right name and logo, and many other services.