From my own experience with Chinese markets and Thailand’s hotel industry in the past few years, I believe almost every hotel wants Chinese guests but are at times lost in the labyrinth of information on how to promote and position their brands to the inbound tourists from China. More than once, hotels do not know the exact Chinese customers’ journey or discovery or conversion (how did they find your hotel/restaurant/brand). Generally, it will be top tiered OTAs like Ctrip who send them the bookings. Here are my 5 succinct takes on where things stand, and what to watch out for, as we prepare for 2021…
1. Weibo is good to have but focus on other repositioned channels. People are only using Weibo for reading news and following the superstars they like. Wechat cast a wider net but however, it is not so easy for hotels in Thailand to promote on Wechat if you have a limited budget. Attracting a good volume of followers starting from scratch, the growth and result will be too slow for comfort.
2. Douyin and Little Red Book are trending, and so should you Show off the stunning photos of your hotel or panoramic views on Douyin (Tiktok) and Little Red Book (Similar to IG), Chinese tourists love to show off to their family and friends back home and they capitalise on these 2 apps. Create a TREND and build a story of your beautiful hotel and begin the journey of guests discovery here.
3. Don’t just use Bloggers and KOL, they are a part of the big picture. This channel is good for short term ROIs and to share news of your promotions. The long term strategy you should be pivoting to is your Search strategy: Baidu SEO & Red SEO. When your potential visitors/guests search “Best 5-star hotel in Bangkok”, you want to be there.
4. Dianping is for your restaurants Food & Beverage is a key revenue contributor in all hotels. Get your restaurants in your hotels trending, and you will soon see a line of Chinese tourists! The good news is that promoting your restaurants to Chinese tourists is relatively easy and achievable with Dianping App (similar to Wongnai). It does not require a huge budget too.
Dianping mobile app is location based and Chinese tourists do capitalise on it during their stay in Thailand when searching for what to eat! Comments and ranking are very important. If you rank high in the list within a 5 kilometer radius, Dianping will feature your restaurant for FREE! This exposure will yield you the foot traffic and new leads into your restaurants.
5. The Winning Formula Optimising your presence on in-trend platforms like Little Red Book ensures that your potential guests see your stunning photos. Pair up with your DIANPING score and good comments to match up with your reviews from Little Red Book. Tech savvy millennials will check for both comments (Dianping) and Trends(Little Red Book) from other users for the honest opinions from real Chinese diners and following the trends from others they see on social media.