There are around 130,000 students from mainland China and Hong Kong studying in the UK, making the UK one of the most popular countries in the world for overseas study. During their degrees, students explore beyond their university towns and share their experiences with their fellow students, and their friends and family back in China, primarily using social media. We were keen to find a way to engage this large group for the benefit of our tourism clients, and to leverage their activity on Chinese social media.
Many universities have a Chinese Student Society which provides a strong network for students and support during their time away from home. The Presidents of these societies have access to various communications platforms, including well-followed WeChat accounts, Weibo and the Society communication outlets. They also have great personal networks. We felt that these senior members of the Societies would be our prime influencers.
Last weekend, our inaugural Chinese Student Society VIP Fam Trip took place in Brighton & Hove. We worked with VisitBrighton to organise a fun-packed weekend for the Presidents and Vice-Presidents of Chinese Student Societies from five UK universities; Kings College London, Bournemouth University, University of the West of England, Lancaster University and the University of Birmingham. The students and their partners had a fantastic time exploring the city, eating out in restaurants such as the award-winning vegetarian restaurant, Terre à Terre, and the seafood restaurant, The Regency. They visited some of Brighton’s iconic sights such as the Royal Pavilion, the Palace Pier, Brighton Beach and the vintage shopping areas of the North Laine and The Lanes. As students, they also made the most of the nightlife of the city, enjoying live music, pubs, clubs and even a karaoke bar. All their experiences were photographed, photoshopped (as is common practice in China!) and shared through their Societies’ and their own social media networks and in online blogs.
Here’s what they got up to:
After arriving at the Old Ship Hotel, the group headed to the award-winning vegetarian restaurant, Terre à Terre for a meal hosted by Julia and Katie from VisitBrighton and Helena and Sara from China Travel Outbound. They were keen to know all about the city, its bars and clubs and, very importantly, where they could find the best vintage clothes shops. Map apps on their phones made it very easy for us to pin shops, bars and places of interest. After a delicious meal which they really enjoyed, the group continued on to the Mesmerist Pub to see a live band then on for a spot of karaoke at Jade.
Next morning, the students were free to explore Brighton and its sights. They visited the Royal Pavilion where they marvelled at its Chinese-influenced décor, and enjoyed the arcades and rides on the iconic Palace Pier. Many of them also visited Sea Life, the world’s oldest operating aquarium. And, of course, shopping in the vintage North Laine, Lanes and Churchill Square were top of the list for others. In the evening, the group came back together to enjoy a meal at the ever-popular seafood restaurant, The Regency, before experiencing Brighton’s vibrant nightlife.
After breakfast, a walk down the seafront then time to head home. However, the sun was shining and it was such a beautiful day that some abandoned their train timetables and stayed a few hours longer to make the most of the city.
If your city is interested in working with Chinese Student Societies to promote your hotels and attractions on Chinese social media, please contact us to discuss.
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