Speaking Tuesday 8 November at World Travel Market, the leading global event for the travel industry, China Outbound Tourism Research Institute Director Professor Doctor Wolfgang Georg Arlt said the new type of tourist is far more likely to be interested in niche product than before.
He added: “Now for the first time you have a chance to get hold of extra Chinese customers who might be more interested in your product if you package it right and sell it right.”
Arlt said the new consumers were emerging as a result of the country’s increasing wealth with many now simply wanting to relax, have an enjoyable experience and do things like shopping rather than simply join large groups of sightseers.
Dragon Trail Co-Founder and President Jens Thraenhart agreed, adding: “Chinese consumers are being moved towards an experience-based model rather than a price-based model.”
Arlt added the new tourist will be far more resilient should the Chinese economy crash which is expected, largely because of its ongoing property boom.
He said companies dealing with Chinese travellers need to ensure basic elements such as Chinese signs and brochures are available.
Thraenhart added with 80% of outbound Chinese travellers researching their trips online, it is vital for travel companies wishing to be taken serious in the market to have a Chinese-friendly website with Chinese text.
Thraenhart said companies also need to consider mobile technology and micro blog to develop a multi-channel marketing plan to target the market.
While European Tour Operators Association Executive Director Tom Jenkins said the Chinese market was a strong one, he warned of their negotiating skills.
He said in 2003 his members were able to charge an average of €71 per person per day but this had been driven down to €48 in 2011.
“Those guys know how to negotiate and they know how to negotiate like nobody else does,” he added.