Chinese travelers are the travel market’s most-wanted segment, all because they are the world’s biggest spenders.
Back in 2013, China generated 1.8 million arrivals in the US – and with a forecasted 4.9 million Chinese visitors for 2015, China is definitely a market small accommodation providers cannot afford to ignore.
Here is how you can make your small hotel visible to Chinese travelers in their search to find and book accommodation.
Get found by Chinese travelers
To attract Chinese travelers, your small hotel needs to be listed as one of their options when they’re doing their online research.
For example, let’s say a Chinese millennial traveler has made the decision to visit your area because their friends posted pictures of their holiday on social media.
This scenario is not far-fetched when you consider how popular Facebook is for travel.
The online search would start with looking at small accommodation properties online. For Chinese travelers to notice your small hotel, this is what you need to do:
- Connect your small hotel with Chinese Online Travel Agents (OTAs), so your guests can find you. Ctrip is the most popular OTA, as it dominates the Chinese travel market.
- List your small hotel in Chinese language travel guides, these are used as resources by Chinese travelers to navigate around cities and plan their trips.
- Include traditional online channels in your distribution strategy. Independent tourists are more savvy, and are likely using online channels that are popular where you are – such as TripAdvisor and Airbnb.
If you have an online reservation system like Little Hotelier, it should connect you to Ctrip so that your inventory is automatically synced. This means you won’t have to update it manually, and you’re at low risk of being overbooked.
Make a good impression
If you’ve piqued the interest of your Chinese traveler, the next step is to make a good first impression through online reviews about your property.
Without a face-to-face word of mouth recommendation, Chinese travelers rely on other travelers to leave authentic online reviews of their stay at your small hotel. This is why small accommodation providers must leverage hotel review sites like TripAdvisor and Facebook to their advantage.
Some reviewers go into a lot of detail when describing their stay, including details about the personal touch a staff member displayed, for example.
When Chinese travelers see that all of your latest reviews are positive, they will feel confident that when they get to your small hotel, they will be well taken care of.
You can even take it one step further by tailoring your offering to serve Chinese travelers. Some tactics you can use:
Cater to their appetite
Have a selection of foods on offer from their cuisine with Chinese menu options, such as rice or noodles complemented by small amounts of meat, fish or vegetables.
Connect them to home
Let your guests feel right at home with Chinese TV programs or channels in their rooms.
Give them what they want
Upsell services like shopping tours and Chinese language services, as Chinese travelers are well-known for their interest in luxury shopping while overseas.
These kinds of personal touches encourage Chinese travelers to feel welcome and leave a glowing review of your property.
Lock in the reservation
Once you have attracted them to your site and have won their trust through reviews, it’s time to reel them in and close the sale.
You should allow your guests to book online instantly, whether it’s directly through your small hotel’s website, or through an OTA.
On your own website’s booking engine, it’s important to:
- Make sure your website and direct booking engine converts information, rooms and rates into Mandarin and Cantonese.
- Allow Chinese travelers to see the rates in Yuan currency.
With all these helpful tools, the Chinese traveler can make a direct reservation at your small hotel with ease. If you have a solid hotel booking engine in place, your small hotel’s commission-free reservation will be delivered into your front desk calendar and your room inventory will update automatically across all your booking sites.
If your booking engine doesn’t support this, try Little Hotelier’s all-in-one front desk and online reservation system. With Little Hotelier, small hotels can easily reach and book Chinese millennial travelers. Not only does it manage your property, but it allows you to sell your rooms online and through hundreds of booking sites – including Ctrip, China’s most popular OTA.