How can TMCs adapt their services for the Chinese market?

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China has become a strategically pivotal market for businesses across the world in the last few years, and Travel Management Companies (TMCs) are no exception to this.

However, firms that wish to maximise their potential in this powerful emerging economy will need to tailor their service offering according to local trends, a new report from EyeforTravel has demonstrated.

The analyst firm's Chinese Travel Consumer Report for 2017-18 has highlighted a number of key developments that are shaping habits among Chinese international travellers, at a time when the number of bookings they are making is experiencing a significant rebound from a relatively slow 2016.

For example, it was noted that online travel agencies now account for more than 70 per cent of digital bookings in China, thanks to the popularity of apps such as Qunar and Ctrip. This trend is gathering such pace that the Chinese government is taking steps to place pressure on major airlines to capture more direct bookings.

The report also showed that the Chinese market is unusually mobile-led, standing in contrast to Western travellers, who still prefer to use desktop and laptop computers. Of the consumer sample analysed by EyeforTravel, 60.3 per cent used a smartphone as their primary research device, rising to 65.5 per cent of 18 to 35-year-olds.

Smartphones were also shown to be more popular than desktops and laptops for those making bookings, with apps the number one channel - thanks, in large part, to the persistent popularity of the WeChat social platform.

Alex Hadwick, head of research at EyeforTravel, said: "For travel brands looking to attract the international Chinese consumer, they need to move with this digital ecosystem, creating localised apps, tapping into Chinese social media, and building payment methods that can work with Alipay and WeChat Pay.

"It is a unique market, reversing many of the norms and changing our entire industry."

For information on how your TMC can automate its mid and back-office systems and improve its flexibility, contact ProCon Solution now and learn more about ProTAS.

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