Tuesday 28 January 2014

Five Innovative Ways Your Travel Company Can Have a Lucrative Chinese New Year!

With the Year of the Horse almost upon us, EyeforTravel's Global Conference Director Emily Assender shares some tips for targeting the Chinese traveller:

If you’re keeping abreast of travel news across the Asia-Pacific region, you will no doubt have seen headlines: ‘Chinese Tourists now the biggest source of travel spending’ (BBC); ‘Rapid increase in number of Chinese travelling abroad’ (Asia Report), ‘At 97 million and growing, China has most outbound tourists’ (China Daily). 

As headlines focused on the Chinese traveller continue to dominate, all travel companies have reason to celebrate the Chinese New Year this Friday. But how can you make sure your travel brand is on the Chinese tourists’ radar in 2014 and beyond? 

Here are five ways your travel company can engage with Chinese travellers:

1) Engage through local social media channels and put mobile first 
Never mind Facebook and Twitter, the Chinese are highly active on local social media channels such as WeChat, Weibo, RenRen and Baidu. To put this in perspective, it took Twitter 1,400 days and Facebook 1,600 days to reach the ‘100-million active users’ milestone.  For the mobile messaging app ‘WeChat’, however, it took just 433 days.  Not only does this demonstrate how active the Chinese are on social media, it also highlights that the mobile channel is key to engaging with an extremely lucrative target market. According to the China Network Internet Information centre, 464 million citizens access the Internet via smartphones or some other wireless device. Another plus for Chinese social media is that integration between different platforms is possible; unlike Twitter, for example, it is possible to create defined Weibo channels that integrate with other social media tools such as WeChat.  

2) Offer the Chinese traveller ‘a breath of fresh air’
Pollution has been worsening in China for many years, but last year it became unbearable. In October 2013, in the Chinese city of Harbin, pollution levels were 15 times the levels deemed safe by the World Health Organisation. The police even officially declared that they would not fine motorists for jumping a red light, as the traffic lights could no longer be seen due to smog.  Pollution has developed a major push factor, driving former domestic tourists out of the country whenever they can afford it.  Actively market your destination or travel brand as an escape from these environmental problems, and you may just rouse interest from Chinese travellers. Some airlines are already looking for opportunities. China Eastern Airlines, for example, recently added two more flights to Honolulu, providing a total of five weekly flights out of Shanghai. And in April, Hawaiian Airlines will launch its own Beijing-Honolulu direct nonstop service.

3) Position your brand as place to escape the madding crowd 
Overcrowding is another push factor for Chinese tourists to leave the country.  Golden Week, a week-long public holiday at the beginning of October, came under fire this year, even from official Chinese media. Criticised as a ‘Golden Mess’, Chinese tourist destinations were reportedly overselling tickets throughout 2013, which led to drastic overcrowding at some sites. On the plus side, Golden Week delivered revenues of $36.5 billion to China’s economy. With incomes rising, tourists are looking at outbound destinations to avoid overcrowding at home. Position your brand as a place of peace and tranquillity, and you could harness some of this travel spend.

4) Rethink the package tour 
Off-the-shelf package tours became unfashionable with Chinese tourists in 2013. In fact self-organised trips and customised tours are on the rise. Personalisation will become increasingly important and now is the time to get creative and understand your target audience. This is especially true given the widening age range of the Chinese traveller. Not only are more young people are travelling more than ever before, older and today more affluent pensioners are also venturing beyond Chinese borders and have more time on their hands to spend in a destination. This could be meaningful for cruise operators, for example. 

5) Campaign for change 
On a final note, if your destination makes it difficult for Chinese tourists to obtain a visa then now is the time to start campaigning for change. In Europe, for example, Chinese travellers must apply for two visas – a Schengen one to visit 26 countries and one for the UK. Research by the lobby group, UK China Visa Alliance, recently warned that just 6 per cent of Chinese coming to Europe bother obtaining the additional UK visa. This could mean your brand could be missing out.  

For more insights into how your company can penetrate the rapidly growing Chinese tourism market don’t miss this year’s Travel Distribution Summit, Asia (27-28 May, 2014, Singapore). 

Thursday 23 January 2014

Win Discounted Passes for EyeforTravel@Mobile World Congress 2014!

We're very excited about teaming up with Mobile World Congress to present the only focused 2 day mobile strategies conference to be held at MWC.

To share the excitement, we're offering two heavily discounted passes to attend EyeforTravel@Mobile World Congress (Feb 25-26, 2014).

Access to the conference will also give you access to MWC main exhibition area (valued at €750) and the mPowered keynotes, giving you access to a full 4 day event (24-27 Feb.) including the 2 days of our mobile in travel conference (25-26 Feb).

Details on the Discounted passes: 

We are offering two discounted passes:

1. One €800 discounted conference pass, and
2. One €400 discounted conference pass

What You Need to Do to Win:

Entering the competition is simple, simply tell us how you see mobile changing the way the industry works right now, be it for travel distribution, marketing, social media, revenue management or pricing.

We're looking for your insights into how you feel mobile will disrupt and change the travel landscape.

The deadline for entries is February 1, 2014.

How to Enter: 
  • Twitter: Simply tweet us @EyeforTravel with #TravelMWC in your tweet. You can include a link to your longer submission as well. 
  • Email: Email Mariah Assuncao (mariah@eyefortravel.com) with your submission with the subject 'EyeforTravel@MWC contest'

Enter now! Remember, you lose 100% of the shots you don't take. Good luck!

The fine print:
  • The discount applies to full price on any conference price of your choosing. 
  • Accomodation and travel is not included. 
  • The discount is not transferable to other EyeforTravel conferences.
  • EyeforTravel reserves the right to disqualify entries without notifying the entrant
  • Terms & Conditions apply

Wednesday 22 January 2014

Voting Opens For 3rd Annual Mobile Innovation in Travel Awards

Recent EyeforTravel research found that 37.3% of global travel consumers prefer to start their travel research via a mobile device (smartphone or tablet).

It’s therefore no wonder that many travel brands have decided to act fast to position themselves to take advantage of the ability to target customers on the move and not risk leaving them to find their competitors. 

Deciding where to invest in mobile for maximum return still poses a major challenge right now for e-commerce and product development directors.   It is a costly decision and there are numerous pitfalls to avoid.

The rush to go mobile is on and we are seeing some fantastic innovative approaches from travel brands.  It is however easy to fall into the pitfall of entering into mobile just to tick a box rather than truly understanding the important role it will play in travel consumer behaviour and transactions now and in the future‘ says Gina Baillie, GM, EyeforTravel Ltd.

EyeforTravel is seeking to reward those brands who are investing intelligently in mobile right now and paving the way for the rest of the industry to follow. 

As an industry we are actually already falling behind in the mobile space.  Those brands that are risking their valuable time and resources now, are helping to drive through mobile innovation across the industry and in our view deserve to be rewarded,’ continued Baillie.

EyeforTravel’s 3rd annual Mobile Innovation in Travel Awards will take place in San Francisco, March 17th and sees numerous travel brands put forward their mobile apps, mobile user experience, solutions and overall mobile strategies.

KLM, Wyndham, Hilton, Revinate, Club Med, Kayak, TripAdvisor, Accor, Worldmate, Checkmate, IDeaS, Net Affinity, Marriott, Hotels.com are just some of the brands to be nominated.

The nomination stage is now closed however online voting is now active until February 28th.  The industry is invited to vote for their favorite initiative.

The awards will be held as part of EyeforTravel’s Mobile Strategies for Travel conference, March 17-18, an event which is co-located with EyeforTravel’s popular Social Media Strategies for Travel conference (now in its 7th successful year).  

Check out who’s nominated, have your say and vote for your favorite entrant here.

For all enquiries on this theme please contact:
Gina Baillie, GM, EyeforTravel Ltd., gina@eyefortravel.com