Attract China Blog

Different marketing strategies for different types of Chinese tourists

August 16, 2017

Chinese tourism is booming. In fact, Chinese citizens crossed the country’s borders 136 million times last year. Chinese tourists spent $215 billion in 2015, and although 2016 statistics aren’t available, most experts predict that this number will be even higher. Tourists from China, however, aren’t the only group American companies should be marketing to. The U.S. is home to nearly five million people of Chinese descent who are now American citizens.

When marketing to Chinese tourists, you need to keep in mind that there are differences between those from the United States and those from overseas. While the two groups have some overlap, they also differ in several ways. Marketing strategies targeted towards one group will not necessarily succeed in grabbing the attention of the other.

If you want to attract Chinese tourists to your business, you need to pay close attention to these differences which will determine how effective you are at attracting and retaining  members from both groups.


Spotting differences between overseas Chinese tourists and local Chinese tourists

In order to effectively market to the two different groups, you need to understand how to tell the two groups apart. You can typically distinguish overseas Chinese tourists from local Chinese tourists by the payment method shoppers use. A tourist from overseas will typically pay with a Chinese credit card, while a local Chinese tourist will pay with an American credit card.

An even easier way is to simply ask. A local Chinese tourist will typically respond with a U.S. place name, while an overseas Chinese tourist will answer “China” or with a city in China.

Understanding different desires

Each group is looking for something different. Overseas Chinese tourists are typically looking to have an “American” experience in its most general sense. They are unlikely to distinguish differences between cities in the United States since American culture, in general, is already different from Chinese culture.

Chinese tourists from the United States, on the other hand, are usually looking to experience the unique culture specific to each U.S. city or town. When traveling to New York City, for example, tourists want to experience New York and not America. Sure, they are still interested in seeing the Empire State Building or One World Trade Center, but getting off the beaten path is important to them too.

In general, local Chinese tourists from the U.S. are more likely to plan to travel on their own, since they want to enjoy city specific foods and experiences. They typically view themselves as a little more independent when it comes to travel, whereas overseas Chinese tourists will often travel with a group and be predisposed to sticking with a prepared tour group itinerary.


Distinguishing preferred marketing channels

Overseas Chinese tourists and American local Chinese tourists use different websites and online platforms when booking travel. Overseas tourists use Wechat, Weibo, and other popular Chinese apps.

In contrast, local Chinese tourists usually speak English and are more accustomed to American platforms, so you can reach them through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and U.S. travel and culture websites. They may also use services like Weibo and Wechat to communicate with relatives, so keep this in mind as you are developing your marketing strategy.

Overseas Chinese tourists differ in many ways from their American-based counterparts and by understanding the differences between each group, you can successfully market to each.

For more tips regarding travel, tourists, and the tourism economy let us be your guide.

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