The world is changing
Chinese Millenials are defining travel as they account for nearly 60% of all outbound travelers and 93% of them consider traveling an important part of their identity. Millenials’ travel patterns are a reflection of who they are as a specific demographic group, different to their more conservative and thrifty elders ; They are more ‘hedonistic’ in their willingness to spend money to indulge and pamper themselves and slightly less price sensitive. They are looking for meaningful, adventurous and exciting experiences. (GFK)
International trips are predicted to rise by 25% over the next three years, while adventure trip, polar expeditions, and road trip travels are predicted to increase by 52%, 38%, and 75%, respectively. At present one in eight tourists to Antarctica is Chinese while Finland’s Lapland region last year recorded a record 92 % rise in overnight stays by Chinese visitors. Meanwhile Chinese demand for adventure travel is causing a shortage of skydiving instructors in New Zealand. Other adventures that Millenial independent travellers are interested in include zip-lining over Volcanos, riding in a hot air balloon, abseiling or caving, and tubing, water sledging or river surfing are top on the aquatic wish list (designhotpot.com)
They are increasingly independent in their travels ; the 25-35 years olds tend to be semi independent ; traveling several times a year and planning some organized programs while keeping overall independent, 20 – 25 years olds travel by themselves and are open-minded about staying in hotels that might not cater for their specific cultural needs. The youngest contingent (18-20 years old) are willing to stay at hostels and backpacker-type accommodations. There is a growing search in this age group for “authenticity” and local experiences as they travel and discover the world.
They are hyper connected ; Young Chinese travelers are digitally savvy and highly involved in sharing experiences on social media platforms. 50% use travel booking sites (the three most popular being Ctrip, Qunar, and Tuniu) and they rely on review sites when planning their travels. When at their destination, WiFi is a key amenity for 63% of Chinese millennials surveyed and for 70% of 18 to 20-year-olds.
However, with all their differences. Millenials still need to be seen through the wider lense of the Chinese traveller. First of all, Chinese do travel more often than others in groups of 2 or even 3 generations. Cruise liners, for example, typically have to contend with Chinese guests that span several generations. This is when it becomes handy to focus on communalities such as food predilection and other dining habits as well as the ubiquitous love of shopping,
While nature and hiking as well as culture are on the rise as a travel motivation, amongst millenials, “good shopping experience “ still comes in third place as an overall reason to choose a destination.
It is also worth noting that the Eastern concept of service and hospitality is more hierarchical and service focused than it is in our Western egalitarian societies. In general, Chinese travellers do not really like to rough it. According to tour operators in Africa, while some Chinese travellers clamour for walking and canoeing safaris and request sleep-outs under the stars, mostly Chinese clients prioritize staying in comfortable accommodations, having the flexibility to choose if and when to go on an activity.
And just as Chinese millenials conform to certain wider Chinese cultural norms at the macro level, they also divide into specific sub groups when taken under the micro loop.
Author Profile – Felicia Schwartz
Felicia has pursued an international career in branding working for global communication agencies such as Ogilvy and Dentsu. Her work took her from her native Austria to France, the U.S. and eventually to China, where she spent 13 years and specialized in strategic planning and consumer insights.
Currently based in London, Felicia helps brands and companies understand the Chinese consumer through cultural insight research and achieve effective business objectives through cross-cultural intelligence training. She has worked extensively with HR teams, delivered business skills courses as well as global mobility workshops including to youth. She has experience across a number of sectors such as automobile, luxury, cosmetics, retail and fast moving consumer goods.
She counts the UKTI, EDF Energy, OpenJaw technologies, Jaguar-LandRover, Renault-Nissan, Valeo, Bayer, GSK, Bicester village, Publicis Advertising, AURA and the IPA (Institute of Practitioners for Advertising) amongst her clients.
Felicia is a graduate with Dean’s list merits, from Duke University in North Carolina, USA. Felicia then obtained her Master’s degree from Sciences Po, the prestigious Institute of Political Science in Paris, France.
She speaks fluent German, English, French and Mandarin Chinese.