The past month of May has been busy for a lot of Chinese students in the United States, as they welcomed their parents for the graduation ceremony and embarked on a family travel right afterwards.
Shifting values lead to new travel trends
Just a few years ago, it was not common to see Chinese families touring in the U.S. together. Families didn’t have the luxury of money or time or both. However, as the wealth of Chinese families keeps growing, more and more parents choose not to miss the important life moment of their kids, especially when there is only one kid in the family. Meanwhile, having traveled for such long time and distance, most parents would also like to take the opportunity to explore the U.S. and create some valuable family memories.
FIT is rising, but not end call for travel agencies. With the children having lived in the States for years, the job of planning the trip naturally falls onto their shoulders. While free and independent travel is widely perceived as a way to provide the best traveling experience, the trivial work of searching travel information, booking hotels and transportations also puts pressure on the students as they are already busy looking for jobs after graduation. This is the chance for travel agencies to provide customized services.
Landmarks remain as top destinations, while travelers seek less common attractions. Big cities like New York and Los Angeles are still a must for a lot of Chinese family travelers, not only because they somewhat represent the U.S. to the Chinese, but they also have a large number of Chinese students. For the 2013-14 academic year, USC has attracted a total of 3,673 Chinese students, with the number is still subject to grow. Other than the must-seen places like national parks and the famous theme parks, more Chinese are seeking less common destinations like small town and countryside where they could enjoy the fresh air, have some precious peaceful time and have an in-depth look at the very different American country lifestyle.
Get your business China-ready
Know your appeal to the Chinese. Whether it’s exclusive luxury shopping, fine dining experience or the unique countryside feeling, Chinese travelers are looking for something they can’t find in China. Although shopping and sightseeing remain the major activities for Chinese tourists, visiting small towns and participating in water sports have witnessed a rapid growth of over 4%, topping the list of 2014.
Liaison with Chinese students. As the “America expert” in the family, students play a critical role in family travel. Maintaining a good relationship with Chinese students groups like CSSA (Chinese Students and Scholars Association) could help your business get in front of the list.
Accurate and fluent Chinese materials. From the website to maps and directories, having professionally translated materials is a way to make Chinese travelers feel at home, as well as avoid confusions. When catering to mainland Chinese customers, make sure to provide simplified Chinese rather than traditional Chinese.
Chinese social media presence. Not only Chinese students, parents would often use social media like WeChat and Weibo to search information. Just like marketing on Twitter and Facebook, building a presence on social media has become ever important to your business.
Although graduation season has nearly passed for many semester-based schools, the big ceremony for quarter-based UC system and Stanford are still around the corner. Being in California, the most popular destination for Chinese travelers, has already given local destinations a great advantage, it only takes that one extra mile to stand out from the crowd.