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Technologically advanced Chinese consumers are driving changes in travel marketing and sales

25 October 2017

A new Skyscanner report The Road Ahead in China suggests that “…the travel industry will need to evolve to support the needs of Chinese consumers for simple and seamless transactions…”


  • Chinese consumers are far ahead of those in other countries in the use of mobile technology, particularly with regard to payments and customer service.
  • They are comfortable with mobile shopping, and becoming increasingly so.
  • They have the world’s greatest choice of apps that support online shopping.
  • 50% use social media for research and to get purchase recommendations, and 31% have initiated purchases via links promoted in social media.
  • In China, digital is becoming a platform for brand building and customer engagement.
  • 45% of Chinese consumers shop via mobile at least a once, vs. the global average of only 11%.
  • 70% say real-time, personalized offers are very important to them.

Specifics for travel and tourism:

  • The growing middle class in China is looking for new international travel experiences.
  • IATA expects China to become the world’s largest aviation market by 2024.
  • Chinese airlines are expected to buy and put into service 3200 new aircraft over the next 10 years.
  • Although Asian destinations are now most popular with Chinese travelers, long-haul destinations in Europe and North America are becoming increasingly popular, in part as a result of relaxed visa policies.
  • KLM and Finnair have begun to use WeChat for customer service and payments.
  • Copenhagen and other overseas airports have begun to use wayfinding technology to help Chinese visitors find their way around their terminals.

Actionable items in these findings for tourism destinations and businesses wishing to attract visitors from China include:

  • Have a strong advertising/marketing presence on mobile devices and in social media.
  • Make getting customer service and making international payments fast and easy on mobile devices.
  • Start using Chinese social media platforms and mobile apps.
  • Learn what about your destination or business would most appeal to Chinese visitors, and promote those features.
  • Get key marketing collateral, ads and signage decently translated into Mandarin.
  • Make it clear that you welcome Chinese visitors with open arms.

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