Breaking into China. Where to start?

In the third of our blogs about the Top 5 Challenges in Attracting Chinese Tourists to the UK, I look at probably the biggest barrier to action : ‘I don’t know where to start’.


China is a huge country with unfamiliar geography, laws, customs, language, media landscape and travel industry structure. It is hardly surprising that we find it difficult to know where to start and we’re naturally worried about delivering return on investment for our budgets. However, if simple steps are followed, risks can be minimised and progress can be made.


Step 1 : Define your objectives and set your budget

As with any other marketing plan, start by defining your objectives and align them with your budget. How many Chinese visitors do you want to attract over the next 3 years, and how much budget do you have available to support these efforts? It doesn’t matter at this stage whether your objectives and budget are realistic – that will be ironed out later – but it is good to have the numbers in mind.


Step 2 : Define your target market

Who is your Chinese customer? Is your product most attractive to the group market or the fast growing independent traveller? What age and demographic is your customer? Will they be travelling alone or as a family? You can start to define your Chinese market by understanding the Chinese customers you are already welcoming.


Step 3 : Product

Think very carefully about your product and identify the elements you know work for the Chinese market and those you are unsure about. Are there changes you need to make?


Step 4 : Validate your assumptions

Validation is a tried and tested process which benefits all businesses and brands at any stage in their development. Take your product information (in your case, your sales presentation or your brochure) and present it to your target audience (probably Chinese tour operators or online travel agency staff). Ask your audience for feedback and act on it. Read more about how to validate your product in the Chinese travel market.


Step 5 : Build your marketing plan


Now you have a better idea of your target audience, the validity of your product, and your Chinese strategy, start to build your plan. This is where you may need to revisit your targets and your budgets to reflect what you have learned.


If you would like help with any of the 5 steps discussed, please do not hesitate to get in touch and we will be happy to walk you through any or all of them.


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