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Q1 2024 WeChat Rankings Report

The first quarter of 2024 saw interesting changes to the WeChat leaderboards, with certain destinations and brands moving up dramatically since last year. Find out which accounts and categories stood out in our Q1 report.

Dragon Trail’s WeChat Rankings Report for Q1 2024 examines and analyzes the performance of six categories of travel brands on WeChat: national tourism organizations (NTOs), destination marketing organizations (DMOs, referring to regional and municipal tourism boards), airlines, cruise lines, museums and attractions, and hotels.

The first quarter of 2024 saw some interesting changes to the leaderboards for several categories of WeChat accounts, with certain destinations and brands moving up dramatically since last year. These shifts come from changes in posting frequency as well as content strategy. We also see the comeback of China’s outbound cruise market reflected in WeChat readership of cruise line content. 2024 promises to see the continued recovery of China’s outbound tourism, and we also look forward to a more dynamic marketing environment on WeChat.

NTOs: Saudi makes the list, Singapore promotes red envelopes

One noticeable change on the list of top 20 national tourism boards is the Saudi Tourism Authority, ranked 12th. It’s the first time for Saudi Arabia to feature on the leaderboard – they ranked 31st in 2023. This rise up the rankings has come about thanks to a major increase in activity, with 23 posts in Q1, compared to just 20 in all of 2023. Saudi Arabia’s most-read WeChat post, with 4,382 views, is about a new episode of the Chinese travel TV show Divas Hit the Road filmed there.

(Left to right) Divas Hit the Road in Saudi Arabia; must-try Spanish cuisine; red envelopes from Singapore

Ranked 8th for total views, Singapore Tourism Board had the highest average views per post, mostly thanks to the nearly 50k views they received for their Chinese New Year red envelope promotion – an annual event that’s always popular. Other articles with the most views this quarter included a post on the diverse climate and standout foods of Spain, a guide to Austria’s salt mines, a 2024 event calendar from the Tourism Authority of Thailand’s Chengdu office, and a guide to this year’s cherry blossoms from the Japan National Tourism Organization.

DMOs: Los Angeles reconnects, Greater China stays strong

Ranked 29th with only 15 WeChat posts for the whole of 2023, the Los Angeles Tourism Board made a comeback to the platform this quarter with 30 posts, pushing it up to 9th place for total views. LA’s most popular article announced the resumption of Shanghai-Los Angeles flights by United Airlines.

(Left to right) Los Angeles shares good news about flights; Milan highlights the best seasons to visit; Okinawa gives away free bus tours and locally made soaps for Chinese New Year

Also moving up the rankings this quarter is Milan, ranked 20th in 2023 and 4th in Q1 2024, with one very wide-reaching post on Milan throughout the seasons. Okinawa moved from 18th in 2023 to 10th this past quarter, more than doubling its average views per post. With more than 14k views, its Chinese New Year giveaway was particularly popular.

Top outbound destinations for mainland visitors, Hong Kong and Macau remain at the top of the rankings table. Hong Kong’s most-read posts were both about digital red envelopes for Chinese New Year, while Macau’s monthly performance guides were the destination’s top content.

Airlines: Big discounts attract big audiences

The rankings of international airlines were quite stable this quarter, without many standout posts or account activities. In fact, average views per post were 17% lower than in Q1 2023. The most-read posts were mostly published by AirAsia and featured huge discounts – tickets from RMB0 and RMB88, and a post-CNY promotion on airfares to Thailand from RMB138. The most-viewed post from All Nippon Airways was a spring ticket promotion, with a cherry blossom theme.

Cruises: The market bounces back

The Chinese outbound cruise market is bouncing back in a very promising way so far in 2024, and we can see this reflected in the WeChat performance of international cruise lines. Average views per post in Q1 2024 were 128% higher than during the same period one year before. Royal Caribbean International’s posts attracted the most attention, with several summer 2024 promotions and early bird specials on 2025 sailings from Tianjin to Japan and South Korea each receiving more than 70k views. With nearly 66k views, Viking Cruises’ top post offered free return airfare to Europe for those who booked European river cruises this summer.

Museums & Attractions: Disneyland dominates, Chinese connections boost museums

As we saw in 2023, Hong Kong Disneyland tends to totally dominate the attractions category. In Q1 2024, it accounted for more than 86% of the total content views for the entire category. Its most popular posts celebrated Chinese New Year (+100k views) and the 81st anniversary of Chip and Dale (97k).

Connections to China always help attract attention to museum content. The British Museum received more than 4k views for a post promoting a lecture by the curator of the “China’s Hidden Century” exhibit, which was livestreamed over WeChat. Another London museum, the Victoria and Albert got more than 3k views for an article about young Chinese enamel artist Li Yinglong, who recently had three works acquired by the V&A for their collection.

Hotels: Melia moves up

Melia Hotels International moved four spots up the rankings in Q1 2024 from 2023 to 4th place, increasing average views per post by 71%. Melia is one of the few top international hotel brands on WeChat that tends to promote overseas properties more than domestic Chinese ones, so a greater interest in hotels outside China might contribute to their success. Their top outbound-oriented posts also featured celebrities, with actress Zhao Zhao Yi in Thailand, and husband and wife Nie Yuan and Qin Ziyue enjoying a romantic getaway to Milan. Lastly, Melia also ran giveaways throughout the quarter, which probably further boosted viewership.

Chinese celebrities promoted overseas getaways to Melia hotels in Thailand and Milan

InterContinental and Marriott continue to top the rankings table and publish the most-viewed articles. InterContinental received more than 50k views each for posts about a partnership and giveaway with Hainan Airlines, a points promotion to celebrate the opening of their 700th Chinese property, and special packages to see singer Jacky Cheung perform in Shanghai. Marriott’s top post, with nearly 50k views, featured red envelopes and Year of the Dragon WeChat stickers for Chinese New Year. Ranked 3rd for the quarter, Four Seasons published a particularly popular Valentine’s Day promotion, featuring KOLs and enticing photos from Four Seasons restaurants around mainland China, Hong Kong, and Macau.


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