Air France promises to offer tailored services to Chinese travelers

Air-France-A380-Shanghai Travelers' ClubCrews trained in Chinese culture, Mandarin or Cantonese-speaking reception teams, mobile services in Chinese, etc. Air France has created services specifically tailored to accommodate its Chinese passengers. The company has established an outreach program on Chinese culture for its 15,000 flight attendants. This program reflects Air France’s constant search for excellence, hospitality and service as do the languages spoken aboard flights: announcements are broadcast in Mandarin on the flights from and to Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou and in Cantonese for Hong Kong flights. In addition, for more than 10 years, Chinese interpreters have been on board all Air France flights from and to China.


To welcome and provide assistance to passengers who do not speak English or French, Air France has a team of multilingual agents at Paris-Charles de Gaulle, speaking Mandarin, Cantonese, Korean, Tamil, Hindi, Spanish, Portuguese and Arabic. The team welcomes daily passengers, assisting them with checking-in and facilitates their connections between flights. Knowledge of the travelers’ languages and cultures makes its easier to exchange and establish immediate and natural contact.


Air France customers benefit from an exclusive, free service, requiring no registration or subscription, informing them of changes or any disruptions in their journey. The “Air France Connect” service has been available for several weeks in Chinese. With a mobile phone number and e-mail address indicated by the customer when purchasing their ticket, Air France can provide information up to 14 days prior to departure, by telephone, SMS or e-mail, regarding flight cancellations or delays, gate changes or delays in delivery of luggage following the flight. Air France and KLM are the first airlines providing such large-scale proactive information services to all passengers throughout their network. To be notified personally in case of emergency on a flight, customers only need to ensure that they have provided the company with the maximum contact information for the communications modes (telephone, mobile or e-mail) the customer will use during the trip.


Air France places particular emphasis on openness to other cultures, taking into account the tastes of its passengers. While providing a French dining experience, Air France pays attention to adapting its menus to the culture or dietary needs of its customers. For Chinese customers, the chefs of Air France subsidiary, Servair, the on-board foodservices specialist, develop a range of fine Chinese dishes served in Business Class, Premium Economy and Economy. In addition, jasmine tea is offered in all cabins.For its Chinese passengers, Air France offers a frequently renewed selection of international films subtitled in Chinese. A Chinese film also is routinely offered.


A Chinese version of the Air France flight magazine is available to passengers and a regular selection of Chinese newspapers and magazines is also available on each flight.


How Can Chinese Social Media Elevate Airports?

Auckland Airport - China Elite FocusAirports around the world are currently engaging in all forms of social media marketing, from prompting passengers to upload photos from the airport to Facebook to blogging about the many features and amenities that each terminal has to offer. Many airports, and their marketing teams, are building massive fan bases and using social media to promote many facets of the airports services, including retail outlets, duty free stores and public transport infrastructure. Social media has also proved valuable in offering real time customer service via announcements about flight delays, highway/transit closings and special flight pricing.

The most social media savvy airports have taken their social media games to the next level by offering promotional material and even running viral campaigns via Twitter and Facebook.  Some of the most creative and effective campaigns have been run by Singapore’s Changi Airport. They currently have over 298,000 fans on Facebook, over 12,000 Twitter followers, and over 120,000 fans on Sina Weibo, the primary Chinese social media platform. Other airports notable for their use of social media and the quality of their social content include Melbourne International Airport, London Gatwick Airport and Kuala Lumpur Airport. To find out more about how airports are using well-known social media platforms to increase passenger engagement and increase their “brand’ awareness, please refer to the slides below:

What are airport marketers to do though, when these familiar social media platforms are not widely used by passengers, or not accessible in the passengers’ home country, as is the case with travelers from China?  As China’s middle and upper classes continue to expand, more and more travelers will set out from China for locales the world over.  In 2012, Chinese tourists notched over 80 million international trips and spent over $100 billion dollars abroad, indicating that they are a market segment worth catering to.  These travelers by-and-large do not use Facebook or Twitter and thus won’t be affected or engaged by content and campaigns hosted therein.

5c018a8b6d091dbd192fc820b23ff29bTo capitalize on this growing group of passengers, airports must add Chinese social media platforms into their marketing mix.  Given the levels of internet penetration in China, prevalence of social media among many classes and the rapid adoption of smartphones by mobile users across the country, Chinese travelers are no strangers to social media marketing.  The Beijing Airport has over 460,000 followers on Sina Weibo and the Hangzhou Airport has over 620,000 followers on the same platform. Every day, Chinese travelers interact and receive information about travel from these airports.  These travelers, and their peers who venture abroad tend to travel with their smartphones and tablets and use their devices to share news, photos and all-important peer-generated feedback with friends and contacts all over the world.

Auckland Airport worked with China Elite Focus to create a marketing campaign in China from 2011 to 2013 to promote the airport to affluent Chinese travelers coming to New Zealand: They launched a Chinese website and a successful social media campaign on China’s Weibo, DianDian, Youku… and all major Chinese social media networks.

In order to connect with these travelers, airports and marketers must speak their language and speak where—and on which platforms—these travelers are likely to spend their social media time.  Creating a social media marketing plan that includes Sina Weibo and Tencent’s WeChat, among other platforms, and using digital marketing to reach this massive market will be critical for airports looking to make strides in attracting Chinese passengers. Airports that become “China Friendly” can expect to see an increase in traffic from mainland China and in turn see increased revenue from these connected Chinese travelers.

There are four social media marketing strategies that can help airports become “China Friendly”. The first one is Advocacy. Advocacy by those who have experienced a product or service has always been the biggest driving forc08baca768248962929c7692268d161c4e behind gaining new customers. Showing others who have traveled through the airport is an important step in building trust. The next step is Social Care; today’s connected travelers are keen to get information on the go and are not shy to vent their frustration in an instant. Giving travelers an online space to discuss issues and receive advice will allow you to better manage your brand. Step three Story Telling; socially caring airports build memorable, long-lasting bonds with the community using storytelling. Letting travelers know your brand story will allow them to identify with your value proposition. Step four Crowdsourcing; online platforms offer unprecedented opportunities for inviting customer participation and tapping into great ideas for product innovation. These four tips will help create a better traveling experience for the connected Chinese travelers.

The implications are clear; the airports that wish to keep up with the rapidly changing hospitality and travel industries must follow them onto the Chinese social media platforms.  Today, airports (just like other companies) need a strong presence on the Chinese internet and specifically on Chinese social media platforms. Airports that embrace this trend first will benefit the most. There is a golden opportunity for airports to capture the hearts and minds of Chinese travelers, which will return for years to come.

Source:  Article by Matthew McDougall

Antalya (Turkey): A destination popular among Chinese tourists

antalya_1Chinese tourists are heading in increasing numbers to Turkey’s southern province of Antalya after Istanbul and İzmir for ecological, cultural, historical and archaeology tours. Approximately 195,000 Chinese tourists have taken part in recent years in 12-day Anatolian tours to see the traces of various civilizations. The tours start in the ancient city of Ephesus and end in Antalya’s ancient city of Selge.

After Ephesus, the second most popular ancient city among Chinese tourists is Side, according to tourism officials. The tour also includes Antalya’s Myra, Seleukeia, Selge, Termessos, Kekova (Sunken City), Tlos, Patara Meclisi, Side, Perge, the ancient theater of Side, Alanya Castle, the Lycia Rock Tombs, Xanthos, Letoon, the ancient theater of Aspendos, Belkıs Bridge, Athena and Apollon.

Chinese tourist guide and cultural tourism expert Yarkın Teslina said that unlike Europeans, Russians and Scandinavians, Chinese tourists were not interested in sea, sand and sun tourism, noting that 98 percent of visitors from China wanted to know about cultural heritage artifacts.
Twelve-day Anatolian tours

“We bring foreign guests from Beijing to Istanbul and send them on nine- or 12-day Anatolia tours. In recent years, Antalya follows İzmir for Chinese tourists in culture and archaeology tours. The fact that Antalya is home to many ancient cities is an advantage for them. Because they want to learn about culture and history during their holiday, they like to listen to stories of past civilizations a lot. We take Chinese tourists to 24 ancient sites in Antalya. Last year, we received 54,000 Chinese tourists. Our goal is to increase it to 80,000. They have special interest in Xanthos which is under UNESCO protection.”

Chinese archaeologist Dr. Lee Yun said they took tourists to the ancient city of Ephesus in İzmir first and then Antalya. After Italy, Yun said, Turkey is the second country for Chinese archaeology tourists. “Antalya is very important to Chinese tourists. It is like an open-air museum for them. The 12-day tour starts in Istanbul and ends in Side. Antalya will become more [popular] for Chinese tourists in the next years,” Yun said.
China-Turkey Friendship Group Chair Jasmine Le said the promotion of Anatolian civilization by the Turkish Culture and Tourism Ministry had been instrumental in drawing Chinese tourists to Turkey. Le said Deputy Culture and Tourism Minister Abdurrahman Arıcı had expended great efforts to promote ancient sites in Antalya. “Our goal is to draw 100,000 Chinese tourists to Turkey by the end of 2015. I believe that we will easily reach it thanks to promotions.”

China’s wealthiest are fleeing China

Rolls Royce car in China - China Elite FocusDo the wealthy Chinese know something we don’t?

A new report shows that 64 percent of Chinese millionaires have either emigrated or plan to emigrate—taking their spending and fortunes with them. The United States is their favorite destination. One-third of China’s super rich—or those worth $16 million or more—have already emigrated.

The data offer the latest snapshot of China’s worrying wealth flight, with massive numbers of rich Chinese taking their families and fortunes overseas. The main reasons rich Chinese are leaving is to pursue better educations for their kids, and to escape the pollution and overcrowding in urban China.

But analysts say there is another reason the Chinese rich are fleeing: to protect their fortunes. With the Chinese government cracking down on corruption, many of the Chinese rich—who made their money through some connection or favors from government—want to stash their money in assets or countries that are hard for the Chinese government to reach.

According to WealthInsight, the Chinese wealthy now have about $658 billion stashed in offshore assets. Boston Consulting Group puts the number lower, at around $450 billion, but says offshore investments are expected to double in the next three years.

A study from Bain Consulting found that half of China’s ultrawealthy—those with $16 million or more in wealth—now have investments overseas.

Advertisement Tower - Gervois Hotel Rating May 2017 featuring Pierre GervoisThe Shanghai Travelers’ Club, a China Elite Focus luxury lifestyle publication for China’s wealthiest, reported that 62% of their readers will consider to buy a property overseas in 2014, and 76% of them had overseas investments.

The mass millionaire migration out of China is also hitting luxury companies hard.  China’s luxury sales last year fell 15 percent—the biggest drop in over a half a decade. Spending on gifts, which made up a sizable portion of luxury sales, fell 25 percent.

Bentley Motors last week said that its sales in China slowed last year in part because of “the migration of high net worth individuals from China.”

In other words, it isn’t that wealthy buyers in China are spending less—they’re just disappearing.

 The United States was their top destination, which any real estate agent in San Francisco, Seattle or New York can confirm. Europe is their second favorite destination, followed by Canada, Australia, Singapore and Hong Kong.

Source: CNBC

Chinese billionaires snap up superyachts

yacht-shanghai-travelers-clubSuch is the growing demand in China for superyachts that yacht makers are now starting to install special features that appear to the wealthy Chinese market.
Superyachts have long been a staple for the world’s rich and famous and now, it is China which is snapping up the multi-million pound boats.
In 2013, the British yacht-building company Sunseeker was bought by China’s richest man Wang Jianlin for nearly $500 million.
Since then demand has risen, with more than half of the company’s customers now coming from outside Europe. You’d be forgiven for mistaking this yacht as a designer penthouse. Every gadget and parts in this decadent home, which sleeps 12, are made to the highest luxurious standard.
This is the world of the superyachts – a world the Chinese market is tapping into.
Stewart McIntyre, managing director at Sunseeker, said: “The way the Chinese economy works, they’ve clear got a lot of very, very wealthy people and they’ve got into boat fairly quickly along with other luxury assets like cars, helicopters and private jets.”
At the London Boat Show, there are plenty of high-net worth individuals ready to snap up luxury on the water.
And just like property in London, so many of these superyachts are being sold to customers outside of Britain.
More than a third of Sunseeker’s orders now come from customers outside of the EU and according to a report, yacht sales in China are set to grow 13 per cent from 2012 to 2017.

Such is the growing demand in China for superyachts that yacht makers are now starting to install special features that appear to the wealthy Chinese market.wealthy Chinese - Yacht - China elite focus
Whether it’s a custom made karaoke room or a mahjong table being installed on the upper deck, yacht makers are going the extra mile for the Chinese customer who is spending in excess of $16 million. ” Last year, a reader of the Shanghai Travelers’ Club contacted us discretely because he needed an introduction with a yacht broker to buy a $35 Million yacht. The deal was made less than three days after we gave him the contact. He was in a rush to buy a yacht, but he never explained why. Of course, we never asked.” said Pierre Gervois, CEO of China Elite Focus and Publisher of the Shanghai Travelers’ Club magazine, a luxury travel publication for High Net Worth Chinese

The culture of boating in China is also different, these yachts are not being used to sail the high seas – but instead being used for business and entertaining.
“Apart from boardrooms, karaoke rooms and mahjong rooms on their boats, they like luxury and the like things that are new. They like the latest products, latest materials and latest fabric according to their specifications and their lifestyle,” explained McIntyre.
Despite the growing success in China for British yacht builders, gaining an even stronger foothold will not be easy.
European yacht exporters have to pay a 43 per cent import tax on vessels sold to the mainland. But if the success continues, this slice of British luxury looks set to fill up Hong Kong harbour for some time to come.

Chinese tourists influenced by TV shows & movies

Where are Chinese tourists going to next? Pop culture may hold some clues, from blockbuster rom-com “Finding Mr. Right” to U.S. sitcom “The Big Bang Theory.”
China is the source of most of the world’s tourists as well as its biggest-spending travelers. In 2012 alone, 83 million Chinese went abroad and spent a whopping $102 billion, according to the most recent figures from the United Nations World Tourism Organization.
Now more than ever, popular culture is driving their decision making. Below are a few examples of how TV shows and hit movies are influencing Chinese tourists’ travel choices.

Over the past two years, Seattle – that rainy city in the Pacific Northwest of the U.S. – has seen a 90% rise in visitor numbers from China, local officials say.
The reason: the huge popularity of the Chinese romantic comedy “Finding Mr. Right,” in which a woman from mainland China travels to Seattle to give birth. Directed by Xue Xiaolu and starring Tang Wei, the film has grossed more than $85 million in China since its release last year. (The movie’s Chinese title translates literally to “Beijing meets Seattle.”)
The city has attracted so many Chinese tourists that CCTV, China’s state broadcaster, sent a journalist to cover the city’s New Year’s Eve celebrations and a series of stories about the Pacific Northwest region.

Los Angeles has long been a favorite destination for Chinese tourists visiting the U.S. but lately, they’ve been asking for detours to nearby Pasadena to pay homage to their favorite sitcom, “The Big Bang Theory.” Fans are requesting visits to places including the campus of California Institute of Technology as well as to a particular Cheesecake Factory outlet, which both figure prominently in the CBS sitcom that Chinese fans stream online.
“I’ve heard of tour guides being demanded by tourists that they go to those places,” said Sage Brennan, a Los Angeles-based retail consultant at China Luxury Advisors.
“The show has really taken off with the Chinese, and it has all these crazy repercussions. Brands can capitalize on this,” he added.
Officials said 708,000 travellers from mainland China visited the state in 2012, up from 517,000 the year before.


In the first 11 months of 2013, more than 4 million Chinese tourists visited South Korea, a 53% spike from the previous year due to the country easing visa restrictions to allow for freer travel from China.
But Wolfgang Arlt, of Germany’s China Outbound Tourism Research Institute, says the popularity of Korean television series and movies have also influenced travelers. Popular series in China include “The Heirs,” which featured South Korean heartthrob Lee Minho and last year became a huge hit on Youku, the Chinese equivalent of YouTube.

Thailand became a major destination for the Chinese in 2013, thanks in large part to the 2012 box-office hit “Lost in Thailand,” a buddy-comedy that smashed box office records. The tiny island country of Mauritius hopes it can similar buzz when the movie “Five Minutes to Tomorrow” is released later this year. A China-Japan co-production, the movie is about identical twin sisters who fall in love with the same man. In the first 10 months of 2013, more than 34,000 Chinese visited the country, an increase of 99% from the previous year. Mauritian tourist authorities hope the movie can spur 100,000 Chinese visitors “in the foreseeable future.”

The U.S., U.K., France and Germany remain the most frequented destinations for Chinese who travel to the West, but the sights they flock to within those countries often are unique to Chinese culture. For instance, Karl Marx’s birthplace in Trier, Germany, has long been a pilgrimage spot, while a willow tree in Cambridge, England, is a must-visit for bus tourists because of a well-known poem by Xu Zhimo, who studied at the city’s famed university in the 1920s.
“It’s like a parallel universe,” said Mr. Brennan in Los Angeles. “Pop culture comes up again and again when we do our research. But the Chinese interpretation is always different.”

Poland attracts Chinese tourists with EU-funded campaign

The sixty-second promotional film, which will be screened on both Chinese television channels and on the internet, is part of a three-pronged campaign aimed at tapping into the key Asian markets of China, Japan and India.
The clip, which is strongly weighted towards picturesque historical sites, shows an affluent-looking Chinese woman enjoying a holiday in the company of Polish men.
Krakow and Warsaw are given special emphasis, as are the UNESCO-listed salt mines at Wieliczka. Amber jewellery in Gdansk is also given in a plug, while the bison of the Bialowieza Forest in north east Poland offer a glimpse of the country’s great outdoors.
The promo is rounded off with the music of composer Fryderyk Chopin.
The Asian campaign, entitled Lubie Polske (I like Poland), has 50 million zloty (12 million euros) from EU funds at its disposal.
Some 80 percent of this will be spent on China.
With a middle class emerging in China in recent years as a result of economic liberalisation, some 97 million Chinese travelled abroad in 2013, a national record that is ten times greater than the level in 2000.
Although Asian countries such as Thailand are among their most popular holiday destinations, some 4 million Chinese went to Europe in 2014.
With just 35,000 Chinese visiting Poland in 2012 (according to data compiled by the Polish Tourist Chamber) efforts are now being made to increase the number of visitors.