China’s new elite travellers

The Chinese Luxury Traveler Report reveals how China’s Gen Y approach travel – from what they seek in agents to their top hotels and destinations

Average young luxury traveller


Personalised luxury, digital innovation and added value throughout the entire hospitality ecosystem are what young well-heeled travellers in China are now seeking, according to the inaugural Chinese Luxury Traveler 2016 study by Marriott International and Hurun Research Institute.

The survey focuses on 525 high-net-worth Chinese travellers between 18 to 36 years old, with an average personal wealth of RMB38.8 million (US$5.9 million) and an average of RMB420,000 in travel spending per household per year.

They are experienced travellers, having gone abroad 3.3 times in 2015 for an average of 25 days, of which leisure travel accounted for 69%.

The survey also revealed choice destinations among China’s young and wealthy. France (40%)was the most popular international destination, while Japan (39%) and Australia (38%) ranked second and third respectively. Japan was also the most visited destination over Chinese New Year 2016.

In addition, respondents have been on cruises an average of 2.4 times, and only 15% have never been on a cruise ship.

They are also seeking more diverse travel experiences, with global travel, adventure travel, polar exploration and road trips set to rise by 25%,52%, 38% and 75% respectively over the next three years.

Young luxury travellers exercise flexibility to travel whenever it fits their schedule in the next year (55%), followed by National Day Golden Week as the second most popular period (36%). Family travel, meanwhile, peaked during Chinese New Year, with 56% going abroad last year over this period. Some 90% travelled with family or friends, in a party of four people on average, and stayed abroad for 8.5 days.

In their experience with travel agencies, young luxury travellers listed personalised travel services (70%), expertise (57%) and itinerary planning (54%) as the three most important factors. They also strongly prefer personalised travel services, with 73% saying they have tried personalised travel services offered by a travel agency.

And when it comes to choosing hotels, the most important factor influencing their decision is the condition of the room, followed by friendliness of hotel staff (37%), the hotel’s location (26%), high-tech facilities (22%), and the hotel’s design and style (21%), the study showed.

The survey further found that Air China is the most subscribed (51%) frequent flyer programme, followed by China Southern Airlines and China Eastern Airlines. For international travel, Lufthansa is the top choice (19%) due to a diverse selection of European routes and convenient transit. In contrast, awareness of hotel loyalty programmes is low among young luxury travellers, with Shangri-La’s being the most popular.

Reasons for favouring travel agencies


Most popular international travel destinations



This article was first published in TTG Asia, July 8, 2016 issue, on page 8. To read more, please view our digital edition or click here to subscribe

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