10) Reaching Chinese Consumers www.visitbritain.com/ukindustry Deciding, planning & booking patterns Decision making / destination progression Recent qualitative research found that key sources of information when planning international travel are word of mouth, the Internet (used at the active search phase with “CTRIP” being one of the most successful online travel companies) and TV (NTO advertising, travel programmes, general programming, e.g. Korean soap operas). Chinese consumers are bombarded with messages about travel from print newspapers (with enormous travel sections), outdoor media (e.g. moving LCD posters, subway / elevator ads) and ads in the windows of travel agents. Travel exposure also acts as a springboard to other destinations: “I saw an Egyptian display in a museum in France – I’d like to go to Egypt”. Research suggests that there is a leisure travel progression through destinations (from domestic, through Hong Kong / Macau to Short Haul, Mid Haul, Long Haul) – largely linked to cost, distance and crucially perceived accessibility. It is no co-incidence that the USA and non- Schengen destinations (like the UK) appear at the very end of the progression. We know from discussion on visas that the more successful applications you have had will influence future consideration – and this perpetuates the need to achieve “easier” visas first. Group tours / reliance on travel trade Chinese consumers are required to book through a licensed agent for ADS leisure travel. Agents are the key to the ADS visa issuance process. Government delegations and technical visits are not required to book through a CNTA approved agent. Most Chinese tourists book their holiday through an agent and travel by tour groups, especially when travelling to Europe for the first time. Prior to ADS, only those who are travelling to Britain for study, business and VFR purposes (with a letter of invitation) could apply for a visa individually. ADS group visas must be bought via a travel agent. Group tours and agents are popular with travellers because they make travel stress free and convenient and offer some element of cocooning for new and difficult destinations (especially with language barriers). Recent qualitative research (September 2005) suggests that consumers like to book through larger, better known operators (“famous ones”) as they are considered more reliable. Indications are that the Chinese nationals who have more travel experience and no language barrier would prefer to travel by themselves after booking accommodation and air tickets. The number of bookings online for domestic travel is increasing, but not so much for international travel as yet. Chinese consumers require information in the Chinese language (simplified version) Travel Trade Knowledge of Britain Chinese travel trade knowledge on Britain is limited. UK packages sold in China are either London/Britain being a part (1-2 days) of a multi European destination tour or a weeklong Britain tour visiting landmark attractions (very often only photo stops outside). The experience in Britain usually is just a characterless combination of photo stops and shopping – unimaginative and standardised. Tourists are unable to appreciate Britain fully. However there are indications that consumers themselves perpetuate the situation by wanting to see as much as possible in as short amount of time as possible. In recent focus groups, although they expressed an interest in relaxing and savouring cultural experiences, when asked to design ideal itineraries these were invariably exhausting! “A trip to Britain will be rushed and tiring but valuable”. In recent qualitative research with Chinese UK-ADS accredited agents, we found that they see Britain as somewhat different from continental Europe – which on one hand is positive in that it is a differentiator, on the other it relegates Britain as a second string choice for those wanting to savour “the essence of Europe” in one trip. As with consumers, the trade have a lack of general knowledge about Britain and what knowledge there is – is somewhat dated (foggy London, bowler-hatted gentlemen). Britain also has some catching up to do with other European countries in terms of the number of packages in which it features. Currently Liechtenstein is included in more packages, and for every tour that includes Britain, – four include France. Pricing Consumers are price conscious and competitive pricing is a feature in the market. Differences in available packages tend to be on price rather than what the package includes. Some agents have started to launch high-end programs. Media Habits Travel information is becoming increasingly available through a variety of media: the Internet, travel magazines, books and television programmes. VisitBritain’s Online Best Prospects research (2005) found that Chinese prospects did the following at some point on a DAILY basis: When we asked them to choose the most frequently accessed media Read local newspaper 79% Access national websites 76% Watch local TV channels 72% Watch national TV channels 71% Watch cable / satellite channels 65% Access international websites 65% Read national newspaper 53% Listen to national radio 46% Listen to local radio 44% from the list, the top 3 were: international and national websites, and cable / satellite channels – indicating a very outward focussed consumption pattern. Access international websites 33% Access national websites 26% Watch cable / satellite channels 10% Read national newspaper 9% Watch local TV channels 9% Watch national TV channels 7% Read local newspaper 5% Press Trips VisitBritain hosts press trips each year, escorting selected journalists on each trip. Hosting possibilities are available and if you are interested in becoming involved, then please contact our Press and PR department. VisitBritain also hosts many individual press visits over the course of the year, aiding journalists from publications with over 100,000 circulation and those that have definitive assignments.
10) Reaching Chinese Consumers continued Media Sources National Newspapers China Daily (English) 21st Century Business Herald (English) The Economic Observer China Business News National Business Daily Nanfang Daily Oriental Morning Post Modern Weekly Yangzi Evening News Xinhua Daily Xinhua Daily Telegraph Global Times People's Daily China Times Economic Daily International Herald International Business Daily The Economic Observer CAAC Journal Beijing Newspapers Beijing Youth Daily Beijing Times Beijing Daily Messenger Beijing Evening News Beijin Daily The Beijing News Beijing Morning Post The First Shanghai Newspapers Shanghai Morning Post (Shanghai) Shanghai Times (Shanghai) Oriental Morning Post (Shanghai) Xinmin Evening News (Shanghai/also national) Major Ladies’ Magazines Elle Bazaar Metropolis BIBA Rayli Pretty Rayli Goo Vogue Cosmopolitan CosmoGIRL Major Men’s Magazines Metropolis Esquire Men’s Health MANse The Outlook Magazine MAXIM Magazine FHM Travel Travel + Leisure World Traveller Ctrip Magazine National Geographic Traveler Travelling Scope City Tourism Traveler Voyage Tourism Magazine Global Travel Euro Travel Air Travel China Travel News Travel Weekly China TTN China TTG China Online Environment With the fast growing media and Internet industry, information is more widely available within China. The ETC estimate that 9.5% of Chinese have Internet access (2005). However, there are different figures from different surveys. According to Internet World Stats (March 2005), there were 94 million (7.3% of the population) Internet users in China and according to the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) there are 176 million (13% of the population) Internet users. It is estimated there will be at least 250 million Internet users in China by the end of 2005. According to VisitBritain research (2005), amongst ‘Online Best Prospects’, international websites represent the most frequently used media (33%), followed by national websites (26%). The majority (90%) of these “Online Best Prospects” would consult the Internet if planning a trip to Britain and 73% would consult a travel agent / tour operator. Some popular travel related websites in China include: sohu.com tour.sina.com.cn / travel.sina.com www.163.com (NetEase) CHINA