Pre-Travel Targeting Strategy for Chinese Tourists: Building awareness and fostering relationships 

It is well-known that Chinese tourists travel in droves during February (Chinese New Year) and October (Golden Week) each year. Capitalizing on this, many brands launch advertising campaigns that target Chinese tourists during these holidays.  

However, it is also known that Chinese tourists plan their trips 2-3 months in advance. Therefore, it makes sense for brands to also target Chinese tourists in the 3-4 months prior to the big travel times of CNY and Golden Week, especially because audiences are bombarded during these times. As such, the months leading up to the holidays are a critical time to build brand awareness and foster consumer relationships 

Here, we discuss a targeting strategy for the 3-4 months before China’s massive travel holidays 

Targeting Chinese Tourists Before the Big Travel Holidays 

1. Understand your audience, and create a clear customer profile 

This is a critical first step. You must understand who will buy into your brand and purchase your products and services. The clearer your customer profile, the more effectively you can target your ads. 

A customer profile is more than just personal information, like age, interests, consumption levels, relationship status, etc. It is also mapping and tapping into relationship networks, like friend groups, preferred apps, frequently visited venues, other brand interests, etc.  

To create a customer profile, you can launch a survey or quiz on social media or use different digital platforms to analyse your audience base. 

2. Advertise on different social platforms to foster potential customers  

Once you’ve mapped your customer profiles and understand your audience’s unique needs, you can launch a firstround advertising campaign 2-3 months before the Chinese holidays. Leverage different social media platforms and use targeting tactics, such as WeChat Moments ads, programmatic ads, Baidu PPC, 广点通 (Guang Dian Tong, a Tencent advertising network), etc. The goal during this time is to increase impressions and brand exposure, arouse audience interest, and make your brand top-ofmind. Your ads should promote the products and/or services that you offer during the peak travel times. You can also incorporate other related promotional information to attract audience attention. 

3. Launch digital marketing campaigns for high-potential customers 

Two weeks after your first-round advertising campaign, you’ll have tangible insight on your audience’s needs based on their demands during your campaign: which products they browsed and which services they requested. From this, you can create a more accurate customer profile to target with a follow-up digital marketing campaign 1-2 months before the Chinese holiday. During this digital campaign, you can rely on the insights you gained from the first campaign to retarget high-potential audience groups and exclude underperforming audience groups to help you reach your sales goal.  

Digital ad strategies during this time can include membership cards, coupons for products, tickets, and/or services, early-bird or online prices for booking services, limited edition pre-travel purchases, etc. 

4. Launch interactive online games or other specialpromotion campaigns 

After your first and second pre-travel targeting campaigns, you should have several high-potential audience groups. But now is not the time to coastthe holiday is coming! Brands must keep enticing consumers to stay top-of-mind. So, what can you do? 

The final pre-travel targeting campaign can include interactive games, which provide greater promotion opportunities and keep the purchase passion alive in your audience. Games also help brands explore and expand audience connections/friends for new potential customers.   

If you have a limited budget for your campaign and therefore cannot create an interactive game, you can instead provide a final limited-edition special promotion for high-potential audience groups. 

Targeting is the foundation of advertising. To target, marketers must understand their audience and give them enough lead time to buy into and trust your brand. To target Chinese tourists, putting the time and resources into a good pre-travel targeting strategy can save budget in the long run while obtaining strong sales leads prior to the peak travel times of CNY and Golden Week. 

Would you like to target the Chinese tourism market? Get in touch.  

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