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?
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