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How to promote a luxury resort to Chinese tourists?

Overview of the Chinese Luxury Outbound Tourism Market

In the past 20 years, Chinese travel more and more and is looking for the most beautiful experiences possible, without really caring about the cost. Indeed, the income of Chinese has exploded (from 8.300CNY in 2000 to 90.500CNY in 2019) and it has directly impacted their desire to travel outside of China with 10,5m Chinese traveling overseas, rising to 149,7m in 2018, multiplied by 1,326%.

COTRI (China Outbound Tourism Research Institute)

Nowadays, Chinese tourists have money and they are willing to spend it in order to experience outstanding holidays: Chinese tourists spend the most with expends of $277.3bn in 2018, against $144.2bn for the US travelers, according to the UNTWO (United Nations World Tourism Organisation)..

The increase of their income combined to their attraction for luxury and ambition to travel the world, make them the perfect consumers for luxury accommodations and experiences.

According to COTRI (China Outbound Tourism Research Institute), the favorite destination for Chinese travelers in 4 & 5 stars resorts are:

  • Italy
  • Philippines
  • Thailand
  • Indonesia

Chinese and luxury tourism

All of these destinations are very attractive for their culture, their gastronomy, and the diversity of proposed activities. Also, we can find wide possibilities of luxury hotels, especially in Thailand where we can find many big entities of luxury resorts which often have more than one location:

  • Four Seasons resort (Chiang Mai, Koh Samui, Chiang Rai)
  • Six Senses (Yao Noi, Koh Samui)
  • Phulay Bay Krabi (a Ritz-Carlton Reserve)
  • Rosewood (Bangkok, Phuket)
  • Mandarin Oriental (Bangkok)
  • The Peninsula (Bangkok)
  • SO Sofitel (Bangkok)

All of these names are very familiar and therefore very attractive to the Chinese tourists who trust them. The trust them because they know them for their prestige and high quality of services. Those are worldwide known entities and are also established in China.

How to promote a luxury resort to Chinese tourists?

In order to promote a Luxury Resort in China, you need Online presence

The Chinese are very specific because they spend a lot of time online. They are using platforms and apps which occur only in China. Western platforms are neither allowed nor popular. This is why it is essential for your luxury resort to be present on the local platforms such as:

  • Wechat
  • Fliggy (Alibaba)
  • Mafengwo
  • Baidu

To be successful, the content provided on all of these platforms has to be particularly good looking. The reason is that Chinese tourists are looking for places where they can take breathtaking pictures, where they can show the outstanding place they are staying at, and therefore the amazing trip they are having: taking pictures and showing them is a major part of the journey.

Furthermore, Chinese customers need to be reassured. They want to avoid risks and uncertainty, this is why the review section of the website is one of the most important. Chinese trust the pictures, but they trust the feedbacks they see, even more, and they need to see good and many reviews to trust the place and finalize the booking.

Wechat: An Adequate platform to Promote Luxury Resort to Chinese Tourist

It is the most commonly used social media in China, as a messaging app, as a payment app but also as a booking app. Indeed, every company should have an official account. A potential customer would follow you to get the latest news. But also get access to your WeChat mini-program (a version of the website optimized for mobile uses and Wechat).

With Wechat mini-programs, you can offer your followers the option to book directly from their WeChat and much more such as:

  • Book an excursion
  • Buy your hotel products
  • mini-games
  • Destination introduction
  • Order food
  • etc

Wechat Group to promote luxury vacations

Create travel enthusiasts group and do community management and share:

  • Travels tips
  • Info on point of interest and destination
  • VIP deals/ exclusive deals
  • Customers experiences
  • Live-streaming Invitation
  • etc


Fliggy – Alibaba

Alibaba has developed its own booking app, Fliggy which is available from the Alipay app (commonly used in China, mainly for payments, but also to order food, to order a taxi, to book flights, train tickets,…). On Fliggy, the customer can easily look for a hotel with the pictures, useful information, and more important: the average rating and the reviews of the hotel.

Fliggy also offers live streaming so the users can virtually visit a museum and public places, especially located in Europe, which is very efficient in the process of Chinese customer to check their destination. Therefore, offering this kind of live stream presenting the facilities, the rooms, the building, and the neighborhood would be a very good way to promote your luxury resorts. Once the customer is charmed, he/she can easily book a hotel room directly on Fliggy. The transaction will happen immediately thanks to the paying system of Alibaba, Alipay, connected to the mini program.

C-Trip: Number 1 Chinese OTA to list your Luxury Resort

This app is mainly used by the Chinese customers to book flight and train tickets but there is also a hotel section which works really well. There is in the filters the possibility to display only the luxury resorts which is a good tool to reach directly the HNWI (High Net Worth Individual)

Mafengwo: Show off your Luxury resort Undercover on Forums

Mafengwo is a Chinese website (travel forum) where people share their travel experiences with each other. There are more than one million entries of travel guides and over five million ratings and reviews, so Mafengwo provides many pieces of information on hotel, flight, travel routes,… for travelers. Since 2012 they have integrated booking services, both western and Chinese (Booking, Agoda, Ctrip, eLong), and due to the content which is always updated and the number of reviews, the traffic is very important on this website and it is one of the keys to reach the customers as a luxury resort.

Mafengwo had in 2019 over one million user-generated travel guides with over six million ratings and reviews, providing travelers with an insider look into hotels, shopping, weather, landmarks, routes, visas, insurance, and more.

You can find many many articles written by travelers and therefore the users. Those are usually incredibly detailed, including pictures and instructions on how to make the most of a trip in the area the article focuses on.

For each destination, there are information such as tips, photos, suggested itineraries, and personal comments provided by other travelers.

Baidu: The Base for Tourism Marketing in China

It is the Chinese main search engine so it is essential as a luxury resort to have your website referenced on Baidu. Why? So that Chinese travelers can easily find you on the internet. At this point, if a tourist is looking for your website, it is that he is almost sure to book.  He does not need to be reassured anymore (he would not trust the reviews coming from your website directly, but would prefer the one coming from other platforms which could be more trustworthy to him), but he would like to see what you can offer in every aspect:

  • The facilities and additional services
  • The diversity of the rooms available
  • More precise pictures and information on small details

Also, he would check the prices. Keep in mind tho, that most of the time Chinese would rather book from on OTA because it is often cheaper. They can get special offers and the paying system is more convenient with apps like Wechat and Alipay. Even though in terms of booking a luxury resort, the price is not an issue, the customer is still looking for the lowest price for the best option That is why you should not expect a high booking rate via your website.

How to make sure Chinese tourist Choose Your Luxury Resort

The prestige of the hotel is very important, as much as the reviews and the aesthetic of the pictures. Customers should be able to project themselves taking pictures in those places.

chinese luxury tourist on a boat

In a more practical aspect, it is necessary to be able to accept mobile payment because it is commonly used in China. Chinese customers are not used anymore to cash and credit cards. If you can offer Wechat pay and AliPay to facilitate the transactions of your Chinese customers, they will be more willing to spend money because the way of paying is familiar to them.

Don’t be Shy with the Luxury Etiquette for your Resort

When staying in a luxury resort, Chinese customers are expecting to have luxury holidays and therefore expecting to buy luxury goods. In 2018, one-third of the expenses of the Chinese travelers was dedicated to shopping and especially luxury. Therefore, being able to provide corners of luxury brands or even shopping hunter to go purchase the luxury good for the customer would be a real value-added, especially since the Chinese customer is often more focused on the luxury good itself than the purchasing experience, as it would be in the western culture.


To conclude on How to Promote Luxury Resort in China

Finally, below are some of the key elements you need to keep in mind to attract Chinese Consumers to your luxury resort:

  • Unique experiences
  • Tailored excursions
  • Outstanding activities
  • Social Media worthy Pictures Spot

Feel free to contact us to discuss further the best way to market luxury resort in China. We can help you register on any OTA, build you a solid reputation, and make sure you’ll always be the first one to rank on Baidu.


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