Monday, May 27, 2013

What can you offer Chinese tourists? - China Weekly Hangout

English: Rolex Oyster Perpetual Sea-Dweller DE...
English: Rolex Oyster Perpetual Sea-Dweller DEEPSEA (Ref. 116660) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
'What do Chinese tourists want?' is the question we deal with at the +China Weekly Hangout coming Thursday 30 May. But we also want to turn around the question and ask participants from different countries what they can offer to Chinese tourists, apart from the standard feature of Chinese food, casino's and luxury good paradises.
So, I will ask participants on the China Weekly Hangout, what makes their country stand out from others, when it comes to service their Chinese visitors.
Roy Graff of China-Contact, one of our speakers on Chinese tourists, has promised to join from Singapore with the latest insights he is speaking about at the  travel distribution summit Asia.

Over the weekend - on the road to Milan - I had a stop at factory outlet Foxtown near Lugano in Southern Switzerland with a group of Shanghainese, and could first hand notice how fast also this market is changing. Foxtown is half an hour from Milan, offering 160 stores with luxury goods, largely clothes. Since I heard our speaker Wei Gu tell at WSJ that only three percent of the Chinese have a passport (and I checked, the figure is correct), I have started to look at those tourists with different eyes. This is not China's emerging middle class, these are China's rich, explaining why Chinese tourists spend much more per head on international trips, compared to tourists from other countries.
But it makes sense not to see those Chinese tourists as one group, but take a more differentiated approach. My Shanghainese friends in Lugano talked in a derogative about brands like Burberry and Rolex, who offered they luxury goods against heavy discounted prices. Those brands (and many others) developed into commodities. Which might still serve them well, if a lower margin means more value, but it is a slippery road.
Francis Gouten, a veteran in luxury goods, explained earlier this month again to WSJ's Wei Gu, that discounts should not be on the agenda of luxury goods. Perhaps he should have talked to my Shanghainese friends in Lugano: they want to have the exclusivity of a good brand, but haggling is in their genes. They would storm first into a shop to check the bargains. )But really special goods, like Eben watches, would do well too.)
It might explain why Chinese buy themselves silly on their international trips, but mostly travel in cheap travel groups, staying at discount hotels.

In short, enough to discuss coming Thursday.

You can still register here. Do note our slightly adjusted broadcasting times to facilitate Australia and New Zealand: 4pm Beijing time, 10am CEST and 10pm in Sydney.
If there is enough interest, we might host a second session for the US time zones.

Participants in the hangout will get an invite. Otherwise, you can leave questions and remarks here or at our event page until the event starts. During the event you are welcome to send your questions and remarks over twitter, Google+ (add hashtag #CWHCWH) or at our YouTube channel. You can watch the hangout here or at our event page.

Last week the China Weekly Hangout discussed the changing labor force, with +Dee Lee (Inno), running a workers' hotline, NYU-professor +Heleen Mees and China entrepreneur +Sam Xu . Moderation by +Fons Tuinstra of the +China Speakers Bureau.

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