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Chinese tourism increases - offering affluent new market for potential for hoteliers worldwide

The continued, sustained growth in the number of Chinese international travellers presents huge opportunities for the global tourism industry and hoteliers, reveals the Hotels.com Chinese International Travel Monitor 2015. According to Hotels.com’s latest major annual study, tech-savvy, younger and more affluent Chinese form a substantial part of the 20 percent growth in outbound mainland Chinese travellers, reaching 107 million in 20141. The report also highlights the need for hoteliers to cater to Chinese travellers’ needs such as Chinese-speaking staff, Chinese-language tourist guides and dedicated websites.

Credible insights from travellers, hoteliers and proprietary data The fourth edition of the Hotels.com™ Chinese International Travel Monitor (CITM) provides detailed insights into how outbound travel movements by mainland Chinese are impacting the global travel industry. It combines data from more than 3,000 Chinese international travellers and 1,500 Hotels.com accommodation partners globally with Hotels.com’s own data and other third-party research.  

Increasing influence of ‘millennials’
The Hotels.com CITM identifies the growing influence of Gen Y travellers – the so-called tech-savvy ‘millennials’ aged 18 to 35. Fifty-nine percent of hoteliers surveyed say they’ve experienced an increase in Chinese guestsaged 35 or under in the past year and they expect this trend to continue to grow. The growth is especially strong in the Asia Pacific region, where 78 percent of hoteliers reported an increase.  

The rise of the Chinese luxury traveller
Another feature of this year’s results is the growing financial muscle of the top 10 percent of travellers in terms of overseas travel spend. On 13,800 RMB (£1,467) per day including accommodation, they parted with four times more money than that of the average traveller, who spent 3,324 RMB (£353). However, this pales into insignificance in comparison with the top five percent of spenders, who shelled out over six times more than the average 20,896 (£2,221), indicating the emergence of a ‘super-luxury’ class.  

Tech-savvy with a preference for booking online
Using the internet to research and book overseas trips has become the norm for Chinese travellers, while the use of mobile phones for planning and booking their travel has skyrocketed. In the past 12 months, 80 percent of Chinese travellers have used an online device including mobiles, desktops and laptops to plan and book travel, compared with only 53 percent in 2013. Half of all Chinese international travellers now use apps on their smart phones to plan and book trips, up from just 17 percent the year prior.  

Hotels.com responds to the rise of Chinese international travellers Recognising the growing importance of the Chinese travel market, Hotels.com launched a Chinese-language website in 2009. A range of bespoke Hotels.com apps for smart phones and tablets is also available in simplified Chinese, while popular Chinese third-party online payment solution Alipay have been introduced as a payment option for Chinese customers.  

Abhiram Chowdhry, Vice President and Managing Director Asia Pacific for the Hotels.com brand, said: “Hotels.com’s latest report reveals several themes emerging, not least the expanding influence of Chinese ‘millennial’ travellers, an increasingly more affluent Chinese traveller, and the explosion in the use of technology, in particular mobile, as part of the accommodation research and booking process. Many Hoteliers have already recognised the benefits of free Wi-Fi as well as Chinese-language information and booking websites.”   

“Several themes emerge from the latest Hotels.com report, not least the expanding influence of Chinese ‘millennial’ travellers, an increasingly more affluent Chinese traveller, and the explosion in the use of technology, in particular mobile.”

Other key findings of Hotels.com CITM:
·       According to the number of rooms booked on the Hotels.com Chinese website in 2014, the top three countries which Chinese travellers visited were the USA, Thailand and Hong Kong. The UK featured in 12th place, however positioned in third place out of the top 10 European destinations to visit, behind France and Germany in first and second place respectively.
·       Australia, Japan and France are the top three countries Chinese travellers intend to visit in next 12 months.
·       According to Hotels.com booking data, in New Zealand, Sweden and Argentina, Chinese travellers were the biggest spenders on hotel accommodation in 2014.
·       The top 10 percent of Chinese travellers spent an average of 2,723 RMB (£289)  per night on hotels alone.

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