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Episode Info:

Tourism marketing China is an extremely hot topic around the globe. China is the world’s biggest outbound tourism market and the number of Chinese outbound tourists account for about 10% of international tourists.

In todays milestone episode we are speaking with George Cao, Co Founder and CEO of Dragon Trail Interactive a travel focused digital marketing agency based in China. We spoke to George about 6 months ago in episode 23 and that was our most popular episode so thought fitting to ask George to join us again so we could discuss and wrap up 2015 from a China Tourism Marketing perspective and look towards 2016.

 

Trend 1: Long Haul Travel from China is growing at a much faster pace than short haul travel. To destinations like United States and Canada as well as Japan and Europe.

Trend 2: Independent travel is growing at a much faster rate than group travel - and this has been the case for a while.

 

 

Did we see increased competition from long haul destinations this year and people taking this market more seriously?

At the 6 minute mark George says the opportunities are there for long haul and even lesser known destinations like Israel are getting involved and becoming popular.  Very interesting to listen to this part of our chat.

"The market is looking for alternative destinations....they are now looking for more interesting places to go, for different experiences - so destinations like Israel are popping up on the radar screen."

And this is leading to air capacity increase to these destinations. Listen in from the 7.30 minute mark.

What were some of the significant activities that happened across social and digital that has an impact on tourism marketing into China?

Mobile has truly become first and this is having a huge impact. SO INTERESTING listen in from the 10 minute mark for details on how including QR Codes, iBeacon and WeChat.

The travel companies are realising the importance of offline traffic in marketing. Very strong growth in O to O. This means online to offline.  "...and the enabling technology for this is mobile...". Listen in from the 10.30 mark to go into detail about this. Great stuff.

 

Discuss some of the newer features of WeChat including their e-commerce capabilities.

There was a good study that was released in August this year that surveyed 18,000 Chinese Outbound tourists. Nearly 75% of Chinese tourists are influenced in the choice of destination by social media.

Is an official Chinese website still as important if destinations or businesses want to get serious about marketing in China or is social media making it less relevant? Tune in for the answer.

The focus of Dragon Trail is to allow destinations and suppliers to reach Chinese consumers but now they are also enabling the travel industry to train travel agents through the China Travel Academy program.

Also brand new to launch for Dragon Trail is Dingla (Booked) a B2B marketing platform to enable brands to market to the travel trade.  It has the ability to reach out via online webinars delivered through WeChat, can also manage roadshow activities, people can register and you can manage your trade relationships on this platform. There are lots of more elements to grow the B2B relationship and trade activities.
FINAL ADVICE: "Really look closer to home. Do not put 100% of your focus on the internet in China. Do really look at what you have like the offline guests who are visiting you and think about ways to engage these people - because now you can - because every one of them has a smart phone and has WeChat and other mobile apps. Really engage them and turn them into your brand advocates. Spend a significant amount of time thinking about how to engage these people. " George Cao - Dragon Trail
 

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