Edgy Chinese millennials push boundaries of international travel: Hotels.com

Chinese travellers choosing 'authentic local experiences' over luxury, visiting places they have never been

Chinese millennials born after 1990 are especially pushing the boundaries of international travel, increasing their travel expenditure by a staggering 80% in the past year to fund social media-influenced trips “full of edgy experiences, high-tech accommodation, exotic delicacies and taboo ticket-items”, according to recent research by Hotels.com.

The study, part of the Chinese International Travel Monitor, found that Chinese travellers overall spent 40% more in the past 12 months, compared to the previous year, with the majority (60%) planning to spend even more the next year.

Chinese travellers choosing ‘authentic local experiences’ over luxury, visiting places they have never been

One highlight of the research was that travel brag moments and selfies had a massive influence on the Chinese traveller experience in 2017, with almost two thirds of respondents (60%) posting three to five times a day.

The study also found that the Chinese are travelling farther afield, staying away longer and spending more money, with Europe, North America, Latin America and Australia sought after over the past 12 months. This year also saw travellers extending their trips by an average of one to two extra days compared with the previous year.

Next year, Europe, Africa and the Middle East are the top new destinations for more than half of travellers. North America will continue to be a hot favourite, and Latin America is also emerging as a popular choice, with 26% and 13% of travellers planning a first-time visit to these destinations in the next year respectively. Over a third of travellers plan to visit Oceania next year, with Australia topping the list for future visits.

Chinese travellers are also keen to travel further to new destinations. More than half of Chinese travellers (60%) intend to travel to a country they have not visited.

More than one third (37%) still intend to visit countries they’ve been to before but will go to different cities. Key locations in Asia are top of the list for these travellers. Japan is a standout, with 46% planning to revisit but travelling to different cities there. South Korea, Taiwan and Thailand are also high on the list.

Staying in atypical accommodation was important to over half of travellers, who opted for out-of-the-box and independent hotels with local flavour (55%) over star ratings. Another 33% booked boutique hotels, 23% eco-friendly hotels and 21% hotels with cutting-edge technology.

Chinese travellers are putting their money where their mouth is when it comes to getting down with authentic experiences – tasting exotic local delicacies (69%) and scouring the streets for authentic local items (43%) over shopping for luxury items (38%).

Connectivity and efficiency are key for Chinese on-the-go youngsters, with co-working spaces (39%), voice-activated technology (38%), virtual reality booking (38%), robotic customer service (32%), mobile phone operated room access (31%) and social media live lounges (26%) all desired additions to their accommodation.

The ability to QR code scan via WeChat and acceptance of mobile phone payment were particular points for development for Chinese travellers, according to Hotels.com. Booking and reservation methods were not up-to-scratch for a third of travellers, while local transport arrangements along with Mandarin-speaking guides and hotel staff were also areas for improvement.

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