Social Media Marketing in China for Hotels

An overview of the present status and how to get involved

By Larry Mogelonsky President & Founder, LMA Communications | February 10, 2013

The world's most populous country and the second largest economy as of this writing, China is exceedingly difficult to ignore. To many Westerners, the nation is still largely a mystery and widely misunderstood behind antiquated perceptions of their government, censorship laws, outsourcing and many others. For hoteliers, all this can perplex to the point of noninvolvement.

Lest you forget that where there are people, there are eager travelers, and this bastion of humanity is no exception. Outbound tourism from China has already risen significantly in the past 20 years since they reopened their borders to the capitalist world. Given the causal relationship between prosperity and travel as well as the nation's stable economic forecasts, this trend is bound to continue. However, a broad rallying cry does not preclude the hard work and tact you'll need to penetrate China's curtain, never mind the startup costs of adapting to the nation's internal social networks and hiring Mandarin-fluent personnel.

At first glance, it may seem as though China is a segment best left for the big boys, the major chains with enough disposable cash to set up dedicated teams for this task and go through the obligatory trial-and-error learning curve. However, it doesn't take a marketing guru to see that reaching over a billion people can be very lucrative, and for this platitude alone, independent operators and management firms should consider methods of heightening brand awareness in the heart of Asia.

Plant the Seed

With a teeming population that is increasingly affluent and a booming technology industry, it makes sense that China has the most social media users on the planet with over 300 million citizens accessing the internet for this purpose. The nation is also considered to have the most active 'netizen' base per capita with a nationwide average of 46 minutes per day spent online and over 95% of metropolitan Chinese people who traverse the online sphere also involved in social networks. Moreover, it's indicated that this isn't a millennial phenomenon; adults within the prime, cash-laden demo of 55 to 64 are equally if not more active online than US users between the ages of 25 and 34.

Even with these astoundingly favorable stats, it still begs the question: Why bother? For one, staying away is a lost opportunity to grow your business in this emerging and diversifying market. But will your efforts and resources actualize a numerically positive ROI anytime in the near future?

Choose a Social Network!

The social network you are looking for is not available.

Close

Hotel Newswire Headlines Feed  

Joe Bocherer
Gaurav Varma
Jessica Leigh Levin
Sherry Heyl
Lisa Cain
Jay Hartz
Allison Handy
Laurie Friedman
Coming up in January 2019...

Mobile Technology: The Future is Now

Mobile Technology continues to advance at a relentless pace and the hotel industry continues to adapt. Hotel guests have shown a strong preference for mobile self-service - from checking-in/out at a hotel kiosk, to ordering room service, making dinner reservations, booking spa treatments, and managing laundry/dry cleaning services. And they also enjoy the convenience of paying for these services with smart phone mobile payments. In addition, some hotels have adopted a “concierge in your pocket” concept. Through a proprietary hotel app, guests can access useful information such as local entertainment venues, tourist attractions, event calendars, and medical facilities and services. In-room entertainment continues to be a key factor, as guests insist on the capacity to plug in their own mobile devices to customize their entertainment choices. Mobile technology also allows for greater marketing opportunities. For example, many hotels have adopted the use of “push notifications” - sending promotions, discounts and special event messages to guests based on their property location, purchase history, profiles, etc. Near field communication (NFC) technology is also being utilized to support applications such as opening room doors, earning loyalty points, renting a bike, accessing a rental car, and more. Finally, some hotels have adopted more futuristic technology. Robots are in use that have the ability to move between floors to deliver room service requests for all kinds of items - food, beverages, towels, toothbrushes, chargers and snacks. And infrared scanners are being used by housekeeping staff that can detect body heat within a room, alerting staff that the room is occupied and they should come back at a later time. The January Hotel Business Review will report on what some hotels are doing to maximize their opportunities in this exciting mobile technology space.