By Hotels.Com on August 13, 2018
KUALA LUMPUR : Recent research from Hotels.com™ has revealed that Chinese millennials born after 1990 are pushing the boundaries of international travel, increasing their travel expenditure in the past year by a staggering 80 percent to fund social media-influenced trips full of edgy experiences, high tech accommodation, exotic delicacies and taboo ticket-items.
Star-struck by global pop-culture, film and television (62%) are now the main sources of inspiration for Chinese millennial travellers, playing a key role in attracting them away from Asian destinations, and to more far flung parts of the world for their thrills and frills.
Nelson Allen, General Manager, Asia Pacific of the Hotels.com brand, comments: “While millennials were at the helm of social media influence and trends, the report found no generation was free from social networking’s undeniable draw.
“52 percent of Chinese travellers overall were wooed by the power of the news feed, and a third of the older generation reported their travel decisions and behaviour were influenced by their digitally-connected children”.
Japan fever hits China
Japan replaces Hong Kong as the most popular destination for Chinese travellers this year, with millennials making up the bulk of the visits (68%). The ease of getting around in Japan, with its sophisticated Shinkansen network and growing air connectivity to China’s major cities, is one of the biggest pull factors for Chinese travellers (54%), followed by the ability to use Chinese mobile payment system such as Alipay in the country (42%).
The availability of Chinese speakers overseas is also a big factor, with 46 percent of Chinese travellers citing the wide availability of shop assistants who speak Mandarin as the biggest factor that makes them feel welcome in Malaysia.
While continuing to be popular, Southeast Asian destinations are experiencing a slight fall in Chinese tourism this year, with Thailand and Malaysia experiencing ranking drops. Malaysia is the 17thmost popular destination for Chinese travellers this year; it was 11thin ranking according to last year’s survey, while Thailand, last year’s third most popular destination, fell to the eighth place this year.
Malaysia still emerges as a millennial destination for Chinese travellers, with 76% of the Chinese visitors being millennials, compared to Singapore (68%), Japan (68%) and Thailand (66%). This signifies its appeal amongst Chinese millennials, who might be looking for different experiences from that of their older counterparts.
The rise of foodie vacations
Food plays an important role in influencing Chinese travellers’ decision. 74 percent feel that tasting local delicacy is their favourite activity in Malaysia. The trend of foodie vacation among Chinese travellers is also prominent in other Southeast Asian destinations such Singapore (80%) and Thailand (80%), and European destinations such as Italy (83%) and France (79%).
Rise of ecotourism
Malaysian beach destinations are experiencing a surge, with Langkawi (17%) and Kota Kinabalu (13%) together attracting close to one third of Chinese visitors to Malaysia. Kota Kinabalu is popular as the gateway to Sabah’s diving destinations and Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine National Park. Chinese travellers are attracted to Malaysia’s unique ecotourism attractions (60%), which explains the rise of Langkawi, known for its UNESCO Global Geopark at Kilim and unique black sand beaches.
Apart from exploring natural wonders, Chinese millennials love live music, and 47 percent intend to come to Malaysia to attend a music festival. They are in for a treat, as various acts from Khalid to Charlie Puth are coming to Kuala Lumpur over the next six months.
Chinese travellers’ edgy trips are not complete without unique accommodation. Staying in atypical accommodation was important to over half of travellers, who opted for out-of-the-box and independent hotels with local flavour (55%) over star ratings. Another 33 percent booked boutique hotels, 23 percent eco-friendly hotels and 21 percent hotels with cutting edge technology.
Chinese millennial travellers also have different accommodation preferences compared to the non-millennials. In Malaysia, Chinese millennial travellers are big fans of serviced apartments (61%) and resorts and villas (52%). The non-millennials still prefer hotels, with only 43 percent choosing serviced apartments and 29 percent preferring resorts and villas.
Digital connectivity and efficiency are key accommodation features for Chinese millennial travellers. Co-working spaces (39%), voice-activated technology (38%), virtual reality booking (38%), robotic customer service (32%), mobile phone operated room access (31%) and social media live lounges (26%) are all desired additions to their accommodation.
Tips to hoteliers
While Asian destinations took out six of the top 10 most welcoming countries for Chinese travellers, with Japan leading the pack, there are still areas for improvement. The ability to QR code scan via WeChat and acceptance of mobile phone payment were particular points for development for Chinese travellers. Meanwhile booking and reservation methods were not up-to-scratch for a third of travellers and local transport arrangements along with Mandarin speaking guides and hotel staff were also areas for improvement.
Johan Svanstrom, President of the Hotels.com brand, comments: “Every globe-trotter likes to feel welcome in a new country – it’s no secret we all crave human connection which is especially true when we’re in a new environment. We know from the CITM report Chinese travellers feel comfortable and most welcome in destinations when shop assistants speak Mandarin, Chinese mobile wallet is accepted, and there is signage they can understand.
“Accommodation providers can get excited about the new wave of edgy and energetic Chinese traveller, tapping into this lucrative market by catering to their ever-curious travel desires. It’s all fun and freedom for the future of the Chinese traveller, and Hotels.com can’t wait to come along for the ride!”
Top ten destinations visited by Chinese travellers in the past 12 months:
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Top ten destinations where Chinese travellers feel most welcome:
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Top ten destinations Chinese travellers are excited to visit for the first time in the next 12 months:
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