Many tourism destinations and travel businesses around the world put their marketing to China on the back burner during the pandemic. Now that borders have reopened and recovery has started, what do you need to do first? Will your pre-pandemic marketing still work? One way of answering this is to develop a refreshed strategy for 2023 and beyond. But first, you need to get down to basics. For example, does your Chinese website still open in China? Before you come up with Chinese social media content ideas, are you sure still have access to your accounts?
Dragon Trail’s Chinese Tourism Recovery To-Do List is an essential starting point for destinations and brands to check they’re ready to reengage with the world’s largest tourism source market, starting with an inventory of digital assets.
During the pandemic, many overseas tourism brands paused their WeChat and Weibo marketing, or significantly cut back on content. Those looking to get active again – even those who did continue to publish content over the past years – will need to conduct some maintenance.
□ Find out who the administrator accounts are for all of your social media platforms (including WeChat, Weibo, Douyin, Little Red Book etc.). Check if these accounts are still valid.
□ Check that the annual verifications of the accounts have been carried out.
□ Check to see if there is any out-of-date information in the automatic replies for different platforms.
□ Check to see if the custom menus on WeChat and Weibo are still valid. Are there any broken links that need to be redirected?
□ Search for your mini-program through the WeChat “Discover” menu to check if it can be found and accessed.
□ For hotels and restaurants, check to see if there are any closed properties listed in the mini-program and remove them if so.
□ Update images and videos. Incorporate high-quality images, videos, and other multimedia to showcase the destination and attract users.
Maintaining your Chinese website may not have been a priority over the last three years. But if you did previously invest in developing this resource, now is the right time to check if it can even be accessed by Chinese users.
□ Check that the domain can be visited in mainland China.
□ Check that the ICP (Internet Content Provider) license is valid. The ICP license allows your website to be visited legally in China.
□ Check whether the SSL certificate is out of date.
□ Check the website for outdated content. Update it as soon as possible.
□ Update relevant information on entry and exit policies (for destinations), and update FAQ content related to Chinese visitors.
□ Check the Chinese title, keywords and description of the website and update the information as necessary.
For more than three years, Chinese travel agencies were banned from selling outbound group and package travel. During this time, many travel trade professionals left the industry, or switched their focus to domestic travel. In 2023, you’ll need to rebuild your B2B network, and reeducate the industry about your destination or product.
Click here for information and case studies on our B2B marketing services for the Chinese travel trade.
□ Re-launch media activities on B2B channels in China.
□ Update your B2B contact database by running digital campaigns or offline road shows.
□ Launch new Chinese B2B training programs to introduce new travel resources and activities.
□ Re-establish your network in the Chinese B2B market by attending offline or online travel events or exhibitions.
Moving beyond basic maintenance with (relatively) quick fixes, reengaging with the Chinese market in 2023 should ideally include a review and reappraisal of your strategy and positioning.
□ Identify your target market. Should it be the same as pre-pandemic? Or should you make adjustments based on the status of group travel, market trends, recovery forecast etc.?
□ Understand your brand image. You can do this in a number of ways. One would be by conducting a digital audit of Chinese travel platforms, social networks, and online searches. Beyond this, find out even more through consumer and trade research.