The term, “China ready” has become a buzz word in the tourism industry over the past 12 months as hotel chains, casinos, airports, attractions, shopping centres around the world strive to gain and increase their market share of Chinese outbound travellers.
Many of these organisations are providing menus, information briefs and websites in Chinese language, as well as Mandarin-speaking staff. Yet Trevor Lee, Managing Director of TravConsult, says these simple steps must be implemented carefully and correctly to avoid offending Chinese tourists and losing business and market share to competitors.
Illustrating his point with some key examples, Lee says that simplified Chinese language, which varies between Mainland China, Hong Kong and Singapore, must be written in the correct style in order to appeal to potential customers.
Another major issue that will make or break a business in this market is F&B. Chinese food must be cooked according specific tastes which is something western chefs usually fail to achieve. “So employing the right chef or contracting the right restaurant to provide for your Chinese customers’ tastes and meal needs is crucial to their overall travel experience,” said Lee. TravConsult’s General Manager, Lilly Choi-Lee, reinforces this by adding; “If you want a happy and satisfied Chinese tourist and customer, provide them with good Chinese food at least once every day and the rest of their travel should go smoothly.” Getting the food right will help travel businesses gain a repeat customer and more importantly, word-of-mouth recommendations which continue to strongly influence the travel purchase decisions of Chinese consumers.
While these are key issues to bare in mind, tourism providers must above all, be ready to adapt. Choi-Lee emphasises that, “It is crucial that tourism businesses focus more on the fact that Chinese tourists are evolving and changing rapidly as too are their levels of expectations increasing.”