China Marketing Blog

China Tourism: How Baidu Can Help Marketers

Misha Maruma — Fri, 07/04/2014 - 16:21

Baidu logo

Previously I blogged about what marketers need to know about the tourism industry in China. I want to follow that up by specifically looking at how Chinese travellers use Baidu when planning a trip.

Some interesting information from Baidu’s Data Centre clarifies some of my previous insights into how Chinese tourism is developing. An analysis of travel-related search data from 2013 highlights how Chinese tourists research and plan their travels online.

 

The top 12 travel-related search keywords on Baidu in 2013 were:

2013 tourism industry-related search keywords on Baidu

  1. Travel Destinations
  2. Local Destinations
  3. Maps
  4. Travel Guides
  5. Tickets for Attractions
  6. Word of Mouth / Reviews
  7. Shopping & Souvenirs
  8. Landmarks / Scenery
  9. Pricing
  10. Food / Restaurants
  11. Hotel / Accommodations
  12. Travel Agencies

 

This information helps to make clear that Chinese travellers increasingly use social media, word of mouth, and traditional media to inform themselves before they travel.

As global brand marketers look to attract Chinese consumers to use their services both domestically and abroad, this information can significantly help them when preparing a strategy.

Let’s look at how some of the search terms above compare to the information I used in my previous blog about Chinese tourism.

 

6. Word of Mouth / Reviews

Previously I stated that:

“In the last two and a half years, 42% of all global luxury hotel reviews were written by Chinese tourists. Chinese traveller reviews posted about hotels more than doubled in 2013 to 800,000. There was an overall growth in reviews in China, up 89% in 2013 alone.”

This is supported by the Baidu data. Chinese travellers are guided by reviews they read. It’s true that, “Netizens have increasingly become inspired by social media, internet word of mouth, and traditional media to gain new experiences abroad.”

I think this is also related to following search term:

 

12. Travel Agencies

In my previous blog I made the case that:

“88% of Chinese traveller reviews in 2013 were posted on online travel agency sites. The travel booking site Qunar’s review volume jumped 419% and its review share in China reached 5% in 2013, up from 2% in 2012.”

Again, the Baidu data suggests that Chinese tourists will search a variety of travel agencies, and therefore the reviews posted on them, before they purchase a trip. This insight is invaluable to marketers hoping to understand why Chinese tourists make the choices they do.

 

7. Shopping & Souvenirs

Previously I asked the question, why do countries want to attract Chinese tourists? My answer was:

“More than 80% of Chinese tourists say that shopping is vital to their plans, compared with 56% of Middle Eastern tourists and 48% of Russians.”

The Baidu search data helps to clarify this point. Marketers looking to attract Chinese travellers need to be aware that a major driver for Chinese tourists is to be able to go shopping.

 

11. Hotel / Accommodation

The final take out from the Baidu keyword search data is about hotels. I used a study that suggested:

“Chinese domestic travellers far prefer Chinese brand hotels over international brand hotels. For domestic Chinese travellers 48% either only consider or prefer Chinese hotel brands.”

It would seem from the Baidu data that hotels are an important part of the equation when Chinese travellers plan a trip. Although this data doesn’t make clear if the searches are for Chinese brand hotels, it is still clear that hotels are a key part of the planning process for Chinese travellers.

 

Other Baidu data

Two more insights from Baidu’s Data Centre neatly complete the picture around Chinese tourism. The first relates to the age of Chinese travellers. I wrote:

“This new wave of Chinese tourists is sophisticated, knowledgeable, technology-savvy and young.”

Baidu’s data backs this up. The chart below makes clear that over three quarters of the travel-related searches on Baidu are by people between the ages of 20 to 39.

Baidu Data Centre age of tourism search related keywords users

 

The final insight to take from Baidu’s data is that:

“Today, more than 80% of Chinese travellers research and educate themselves about destinations and brands online. A third are now organising their own travel, spending more and staying longer in each of their destinations.”

Baidu Data Centre holiday search times

 

The data shows spikes in travel-related search activity around domestic Chinese public holidays. It’s clear from the Baidu data that when there are holidays, netizens like to research, plan and book trips themselves using information they find online.

 

Do you have any experience of dealing with Chinese travellers abroad or in China? I’d love to hear your experiences. Please share your thoughts… 

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Comments

I've come across a lot of UK marketers who still think google.cn or bling is the way forward because the Chinese tourists are visiting the UK. Try explaining to them that the Chinese will still continue to use Baidu when they are in the UK.

Many cannot think outside of the cultural box.

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