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Aussie Hoteliers Hone China / Asia Strategy as Market Shifts from Groups to Affluent FIT’s

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Hotelintel.co’s first official Australian event which took the form of a hotelier Morning Brief entitled ‘Hospitality in an Asian Context for Hoteliers Down Under‘, held at the Avani Central Melbourne Residences property in downtown Melbourne.

Following on from the success of a presentation entitled ‘The Chindian Tourist Economy’ (Chinese and Indian) conducted by Hotelintel.co’s founder Wimintra Raj earlier this year for international hoteliers and stakeholders in the tourism industry, today’s Hotelintel.co morning brief provided insights to Australian hoteliers that not only introduced Hotelintel.co to industry professionals Down-under, but also provided information and an idea exchange where Australian hoteliers could find new ways of capitalising on the growing Asian visitor market in Australia.

We are excited to be working closer with hoteliers and tourism & hospitality industry professionals in Australia as we move into 2020. There is remarkable growth in Australia’s tourism sector and between 2019 and 2021 there will be several big names in the hotel world looking to enter into the Australian market and secure themselves a piece of the pie. Hotelintel.co will be keeping a vigilant eye on the hotel landscape downunder and work with hoteliers to provide insights that will help them run their businesses better.” – Wimintra Raj.

Why is the Asian / Chinese Market Important to Australian Hoteliers?

In 2019, Australia has seen 9,343,989 visitors arrive to-date [^1], with 4,991,068 (53%) of those visitors coming from Asia. As you dig further into those numbers, you will see that 2,478,620 (27%) are from Mainland China and 1,417,769 (15%) are from India. Of the Chinese, around 200,000 of those arrivals are international students, with 107,000 of the Indian arrivals also being international students. Between tourism and education – two of Australia’s most important economic drivers and two markets that are dependent on hotel and residence businesses, China and India need to be seriously considered and managed when it comes to the marketing and services provided by properties to ensure that maximum return on investment is achieved, while still preserving and growing other existing local and foreign markets.

What is Changing?

In the past when you think of Chinese tourists, you might be tempted to think of a fluffy toy bobbing up and down on the end of a stick held by a Chinese speaking tour-guide as they herded hordes of tour groups at lightning pace on and off of coaches trying to fit in as many famous sightseeing landmarks as possible during a whirlwind package-tour. Where only two years ago Chinese tour groups made up over 60% of Chinese tourists, by the end of 2020, it is anticipated that close to 70% of Chinese tourists will be in the form of ‘Free Independent Travelers‘ or FIT’s, who do their own due diligence, itinerary planning and booking using the myriad of online services available in China.

Visitors from the mainland are spending more time in Australia, with the average Chinese visitor spending around 41 days per trip down under.

Not only are Chinese visitors spending more time in Australia, but as increasing numbers of these upwardly mobile FIT’s start to plan and book their own itineraries of where they will stay and where they will spend, they are ultimately spending more money on local businesses in Australia, compared to pre-packaged spends where many of the tourist dollars made their way back to China (see Zero Dollar tour packages).

Where the average tourist from the USA spends AUD$5,132 during their stay, the average Chinese visitor spends around AUD$7,665 which is almost 50% more. Chinese visitor spending to date in 2019 has reached AUD$15.3 billion dollars which has grown by 3.8% when compared to the same period last year.

What Can Australian Hoteliers Do to Capitalise on Increased Asian Free Independent Travelers (FIT’s)?

Despite the growth in Chinese and Indian business in Australia, and despite Australia having a large resident population of people from those countries, many hotels admit that they are failing to engage as much as they would like to with China and India. Hoteliers mentioned that in many cases, lack of skills, knowledge and resources meant that local marketing teams are out of the loop when it comes to marketing to and engaging with local audiences in China and India. Given that the majority of Chinese travelers do not use Instagram, Facebook or Youtube, Thursday’s Hotelintel.co Morning Brief provided an opportunity to share with hoteliers, possible strategies that would help target higher yielding FIT’s through popular marketing channels in China including WeChat, QQ, Little RED Book, Tik-Tok and Meituan as well as how to tap into the Chinese ‘Wang Hong 网红’ or ‘Key Opinion Leader’ ecosphere who are an all-important ingredient when it comes to connecting with Chinese audiences.

Standard Hotels’ Kavi Kirpalani also shared with the audience how The Standard have successfully started to work with Chinese audiences, and opening opportunities to Chinese travelers that were previously thought to be ‘not popular’ with the Chinese.

“With our property recently opening in the Maldives, many people were telling us that Chinese guests wouldn’t be interested in scuba diving. Despite this intelligence, we started running dive classes with Chinese instructors and to our surprise, scuba diving has now become a popular activity with Chinese guests. It’s all about providing new and different experiences to the new generation of Chinese travelers in a way that keeps it still in reach and safe for them to try. Having a Chinese speaking instructor made all the difference” said Kavi.

Hotelintel.co looks forward to expanding its reach across Australia, New Zealand and Pacific in 2020, working as a conduit for hotel and travel related intelligence for industry professionals.

Who is Hotelintel.co

Hotelintel.co is a B2B online publication founded in 2013 by Wimintra Raj that provides quality intelligence to hoteliers and stakeholders in the hospitality and tourism sectors. Because of this Hotelintel.co has become the place that hoteliers turn to, to quickly understand the latest trends and solutions that will give them a competitive edge.