New findings from Hotels.com reveal that Chinese travellers dedicate more than half of travel budgets to shopping, but only 17% of visitors choose a 5-star hotel when travelling abroad.
Chinese travellers are now spending more than £647 (6,707 RMB) per day when travelling abroad, excluding accommodation, according to Hotels.com, despite one in five (21%) Chinese travellers’ household income amounting to less than £9,640 (100,000 RMB) per year.
While China’s international travellers are still amongst the wealthier of China’s citizens, with an average annual household income of £23,688 (245,729 RMB), compared with the Chinese population average of £4,812 (49,920 RMB) in 2013, it is the growing middle classes who are helping to raise total spending figures, according to new findings published in the third edition of the Hotels.com Chinese International Travel Monitor (CITM).
China is now the world’s biggest outbound travel market in terms of spending, with the country’s expenditure abroad rising by 26 per cent in 2013 to US$129 billion, according to the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO). Figures from Hotels.com show that Chinese tourists were the highest spenders on hotel accommodation in Australia, Japan, the Netherlands and New Zealand last year, and the seventh highest spending nationality on hotel rooms globally in 2013.
The rapid growth in middle class Chinese travellers venturing overseas has driven up demand for 3 and 4-star accommodation, with more than half of all Chinese travellers (57%) selecting to stay in accommodation of this standard. Despite this growth, the luxury market is continuing to rise, with almost one in five (17%) travellers choosing to stay in 5-star accommodation, and two per cent of Chinese travellers spending more than £4,820 (50,000 RMB) per day when travelling abroad, excluding accommodation.
As hoteliers worldwide adapt to the increasing numbers and spend of Chinese travellers, the Hotels.com CITM reveals that 36% of hoteliers believe that Chinese tourists will have one of the biggest impacts on their business in the next 12-24 months.
For nearly a quarter of Chinese travellers (23%), the quality of shops available is one of the main considerations when choosing their next international destination. Shopping is the third most popular activity for Chinese travellers when travelling abroad, with 56 per cent of the Chinese travellers surveyed by Hotels.com saying that they enjoy doing this and one in two (52%) saying that it is the activity on which they spend the most money.
While men typically spend £533 (5,524 RMB) per day when travelling abroad, women generally spend more, with an average spend of £762 (7,902 RMB) daily. This is reflected in figures from Hotels.com, which show that shopping is a favourite activity for 60 per cent of women versus 51 per cent of men.
Matt Walls of the Hotels.com brand commented: “Top-spending Chinese tourists don’t just want to see the sights when they travel abroad, they are looking to bag a bargain too. With shopping a top attraction for many Chinese travellers, appealing to this audience is now a top priority for retailers in many of the world’s leading shopping destinations, like London, Paris, and New York. While the UK government has taken its time to streamline the visa application process for Chinese travellers, the UK’s retailers have been ‘streets ahead’ with many stores already accepting payments using Chinese credit cards.
“While hoteliers targeting the high end market have been among the first to offer services tailored for affluent Chinese shoppers, the growing number of high-spending middle class travellers is opening up new opportunities for the wider market. To capitalise on this growth, hoteliers must consider carefully the experience that they offer to Chinese guests and how this can be made more accommodating.”