Hotel operators and events organisers who don’t actively encourage tourists from mainland China could miss out on the opportunity of the century, especially in the luxury and “super-luxury” end of the market.
That’s evident from this year’s Chinese International Travel Monitor, recently released by online booking giant Hotels.com.
One of the revelations in the 2015 edition, the fourth, of the annual report into China outbound tourism is the growing financial muscle of the top 10% of spenders.
On average they shell out RMB 13,800 (AUD 2,817) a day, more than four times the spend of the average Chinese outbound traveller. But the top 5% spend even more: an astonishing RMB 20,896 (AUD 4,265) a day – indicating the emergence of a “super-luxury” class of traveller.
“Hotels.com’s latest report is a reminder for countries like Australia to pull out all stops to accommodate Chinese travellers and tailor their services for this market, as the potential is huge,” says Katherine Cole, Regional Director, Australia, New Zealand & Singapore for Hotels.com.
Katherine does not exaggerate. According to a Bank of America Merrill Lynch forecast, outbound Chinese travellers could number 174 million in four years’ time, spending about US$264 billion annually. That compares with around 107 million travellers in 2014. The forecast revenue is roughly equivalent to the GDP of a developed country like Singapore. “Clearly, the Chinese dragon is still building steam,” says Abhiram Chowdhry, Vice President and Managing Director APAC for the Hotels.com brand.
Australia came out on top, for the second year in a row, as the most desired destination for Chinese travellers to visit in the next 12 months. Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane were named among the world’s top 10 cities they intend to visit.
Millennials’ growing influence
The report reveals the growing influence of Gen Y travellers, tech-savvy “millennials” aged 18 to 35. Fifty-nine per cent of hoteliers surveyed say they’ve experienced an increase in Chinese guestsaged 35 or under in the past year and they expect this trend to continue.
Meantime the use of mobile phones for planning and booking travel has skyrocketed. In the past 12 months, 80% of Chinese travellers used an online device including mobiles, desktops and laptops to plan and book, compared with only 53% last year.
The top three countries they actually visited last year were the US, Thailand and Hong Kong. The top 10% of spenders paid an average of 2,723 RMB (AUD556) per night on hotels alone.
Top 10 countries Chinese travellers say they would like to visit in the next 12 months
To read the full report, visit www.CITM2015.com.