Treat Chinese travellers with respect and you will be rewarded, according to destination marketer Yi Ta Chng.
The Chinese like VIP entrances and personal recognition if they have visited a place before, Chng told the World Food Travel Summit in Gothenburg, Sweden (September 23).
Chng said Chinese overseas visitors are curious and adventurous when it comes to trying foreign foods and experiences. But respect is key.
It’s worth taking this market very seriously. The Chinese travel market is worth $100 billion and by 2015 visitors numbers are expected to exceed 100 million, the summit was told.
Chng, based in Shanghai, said destinations needed to consider the decade Chinese visitors were born in. Those from the 1970s lived in the aftermath of the Cultural Revolution and tended to be conservative. Tourists from the 1990s had experienced two decades of unparalleled economic growth and were bullish.
However, all age groups like to be treated with respect when visiting overseas and demand recognition for China. Chinese are very proud of their economic success but “there is a bit of an inferiority complex. They think the Japanese look down on them.” It’s a bad move.
Chng said Chinese revel in an “unabashed commerciality.” It is common to speak about your salary and talk about the value of your home or car. It’s not bragging – it’s just a marker for recognition of hard work.
Chng told delegates Chinese travellers love social media: “Showing where they have been and what they have bought is almost a national sport.”
So if you’ve got a great product i.e a destination, a restaurant, or a drink, and you market it correctly to Chinese holidaymakers, you will be blogged or placed on social media outlets to one of the world’s biggest tourist markets.
Restaurateurs shouldn’t be bashful or reticent about asking Chinese travellers to taste unfamiliar foods. “Chinese will try everything. They are very curious. Don’t be shy about pushing more exotic cuisines and flavours on them,” said Chng.
Just treat them with respect.