Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Xiaohongshu is most consulted by Chinese travellers, whose travel sentiments are improving | TTG Asia

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Chinese outbound travellers polled by Dragon Trail International (DTI) and ForwardKeys six weeks before the May Day holiday reveal emerging trends on preferred information and booking source and type of media, and new attitudes towards spending.

According to Sienna Parulis-Cook, director of marketing and communications, DTI, the key takeaways from the latest survey are as follows: Chinese social media and e-commerce platform Xiaohongshu is the leading source of destination information; video content has the deepest impact; the traveller is price conscious but is willing to spend; outbound travel intent is much higher than in 2023; there are more plans to venture beyond Asia; and the perception is the world is safer than before.

Xiaohongshu is favoured by the Chinese as a source of destination information, while content related to cuisine, scenery and culture gets the most attention

In ranking channels used for destination information, Janice Meng, market research analyst, DTI, said Xiaohongshu was top at 52 per cent, Douyin 43 per cent, Ctrip 37 per cent, and tying with friends, family and acquaintances, and 36 per cent bloggers and key opinion leaders.

Elaborating on booking channels, Meng noted 60 per cent would pick domestic platforms likes Ctrip and Qunar, 38 per cent via travel agents and social platforms like Xiaohongshu and WeChat; 27 per cent directly on official airline and hotel sites; 23 per cent with offline traditional travel agencies; 22 per cent with domestic review-sharing platform like Mafengwo, 21 per cent on international booking platform like Booking.com, and 17 per cent on online traditional travel agencies.

She noted current attitudes on outbound travel spending show 58 per cent “considering carefully to get the best value for money”, and 14 per cent choosing products with the best price.

Parulis-Cook added: “Chinese travellers are definitely price conscious right now, are seeking value for money, and actually see outbound travel as delivering better value for money compared to domestic trips, especially during Chinese national holiday periods.

At the same time, Meng pointed out that 11 per cent of respondents said they would choose the best products and services regardless of cost and, and another 11 pet cent said they were willing to increase their budget for better experiences.

Based on international departure ticketing data as of early-April. Nancy Dai, China market expert, ForwardKeys, cited demand from China for European destinations was being driven by affluent travellers

Dai said the percentage difference for premium travel in 2Q2024 vs 2Q2019 was only minus three per cent; and the top-three destinations of Geneva increased 105 per cent, Copenhagen 55 per cent and Madrid 49 per cent.

In summing up which overseas destination marketing initiatives had the biggest impact among those polled, Meng shared the top three destinations were Thailand, Singapore and Japan; Douyin, Xiaohongshu and TV for platforms; cuisine, scenery and culture for content; and video, live streaming and advertisements for delivery preference format.

Popular reality shows also succeeded in familiarising Chinese audiences with overseas destinations, like in the case of Iceland featuring in the TV show Divas Hit the Road, Meng added.

There were 1,015 survey responses and Parulis-Cook pointed out that 56 per cent of respondents were female.

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