How to validate your product proposition in the Chinese travel market

In my last post, I suggested you validate your business or your brand proposition to make sure it is desirable, feasible and viable. To do this, you will need to speak to your target audience; either large numbers of Chinese consumers (probably impractical) or, more realistically, a number of Chinese tour operators.

If you have been reading our blogs, you will know that getting a straight answer from an extremely polite Chinese counterpart can be a challenge. You also need the contacts to arrange meetings with prospective Chinese partners in the first place. So how might you go about doing that?

Option 1. For your next sales meeting, forget the selling.

This may seem almost impossible to do, but next time you have the opportunity to sit in front of a Chinese tour operator don’t tell them how great your product is. Ask them what they think and listen to their feedback. Use that feedback to shape your product and your marketing strategy.

Top Tip: Use a Chinese interpreter with industry experience who will probe their responses and translate their answers for you, not just into English, but also into helping you determine the truth behind the smiles.

Option 2. Go on a mission.

If you want to hold meaningful meetings with targeted tour operators (those who have the right customer base for your product), you will need more time than can be offered through back to back meetings at exhibitions and events. We offer tailored, individual missions to Beijing and Shanghai.. These give you the chance to research your market, understand your business partners and their customer base, and explore the marketing opportunities for your brand.

Top Tip: Large tour operators have offices in more than one city. If you are on a sales mission, you might visit them all, but if you are primarily interested in research, you probably only need to visit one top tier city.

Option 3. Do your research.

If you are not able to spare the time or money for a mission, or if you are really just ‘testing the market’, a low cost option might be a research project. We offer topline research reports for new entrants into the market, or for brands looking to launch new products. These are backed up by primary research with selected tour operators in China. This approach can not build personal relationships in the same way as a personal sales mission, but it is a low cost test of the market and will help you determine your next steps. Prices start from just £500 ex VAT.

Top Tip: a survey is also a good way to introduce your brand and seek the all-important co-operation needed for a successful partnership with the Chinese travel trade.


China Travel Outbound offers sales missions to China with prices starting from £2,500 ex VAT. These fit in with your schedule, and are tailored to your requirements and target audience. Read more about one of our recent missions, tailored to the luxury market, here.


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