Is the world ready for Chinese tourists anytime soon?

This is a follow-up article from my last article “Revenge Traveling will happen. The question is when?

After I published my last article, I got a few people asking me. “Many parts of China was lockdown since late January for like two months. They still have the money and interest to travel?”

Let me give you an interesting example to explain this. During COVID-19 outbreak since late January in China, everyone is wearing a mask. Imagine if you are wearing a mask, what beauty product will see an immediate negative impact in sales? Yes, lipstick. But wait. The lipstick sales only dropped for a few weeks, then it saw a V-shaped rebound in mid-February.

This is the “revenge spending” psychology I talked about. Because of COVID-19, 49.3% of Chinese females believe in “Live the Moment” and spend the money now on what’s worth to spend. Only 15.2% of Chinese females said they will be more conservative and save up money. Credit source: EZ-tracking

Travel abroad is on Chinese top wish list to do post COVID-19. And they will spend the money and continue to travel. But now, the next big question is, is the world ready for Chinese tourists? Will hotels even welcome Chinese tourists when they can travel and stay at your hotels?

I overheard a few hoteliers mentioned something like if Chinese tourists come again, their staff will be scared that Chinese will bring in virus again. Rationally looking at just numbers, now since COVID-19 is a pandemic, it really does not matter what nationalities can bring in virus again.

But perception is everything. Even I myself as an overseas Chinese will shamefully admit I try to stay away from Mandarin-speaking Chinese when I was in Australia for the whole month of February. So I will not blame others for having this psychological barrier to overcome and it will take time, some time to overcome. I understand.

But let’s face it. China outbound tourism is not going to go away. It will continue to be an important market segment for hotels. Like we do not discriminate Middle-Eastern travellers post-MERS (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome) outbreak, I just think whoever is more open-minded to come out quickly from the psychological barrier, the sooner the rebound can happen at your destination, at your hotel.

As a positive person (just don’t know why I am writing all these controversial articles in 2020), I hope industry leaders from top-down can help to ease the tension between your staff and Chinese tourists. I will be so sad if I check in to a hotel and felt unwelcome. We are in this together to fight COVID-19 and to help our beloved industry to get back on track ASAP.

Allow me to do a little advert here. In view of many travel and tourism, jobs are at risk, my company would like to do something to help. We will prepare and conduct some learning series on China Outbound to upgrade the skill set of industry associates that may have some idle time now. Module one is “How to Best Serve Chinese Tourists”. Maybe a good first step to encourage your front line staff to participate to lower any potential resistance post-COVID-19?

Compass Edge is a company offering online solutions to independent hotels. It is a niche service provider offering cost-effective branding solutions for overseas hotels to establish an online presence for the booming Chinese FIT market. It can also provide customers with an Internet Booking Engine, meta-search integration, GDS distribution and Channel Manager in its portfolio of solutions.

This article was written by Anita Chan, CEO of Compass Edge. Anita has an extensive travel industry experience and has worked all over the world with leading companies such as Four Seasons Hotels and Delta Hotels, as well as in corporate offices and technology service providers. Before joining Compass Edge, Anita worked as Regional Director for a leading OTA in Asia, as Global VP for a leading digital agency, and as VP Asia Pacific for Small Luxury Hotels of the World.

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